Maleficent was not a great movie. It was basically crafted as a starring vehicle Angelina Jolie in some pitch perfect casting while riding high on the Disney live action trend. While it chose to ‘subvert expectations’ in the end it wasn’t much to write home about. So here we are five years later with a sequel to a story that had already wrapped itself up. And again, I cannot blame Disney for pushing Maleficent: Mistress of Evil into cinemas. The first film made close to $800 million so it had to work again.
“There are many who prey on the innocent. I’m sure your kind would agree.”
Five years have passed since the end of the previous story. Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) is Queen of the Moors and everything seems to be fine and dandy. That it until Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson) asks for her hand in marriage. This puts a strain on both characters familial relationships. In the meantime Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is once again painted as the enemy in spite of her redemption at the end of the previous film. There must be a lot of short term memory issues in this kingdom. So once again, humans fear magical creatures and prepare for war while Maleficent meets her remaining Dark Fae brethren. Sides must be chosen in this all out war!
This is the huge problem. A lot of the story for this follow-up is contrived thanks to the original film’s ending. The flimsy excuse given for the kingdom to still fear Maleficent was completely stupid. And why the hell has it taken so long for the rest of the Dark Faes to enter the fray? Okay, they were chased out of their homelands, but again it’s pointless.
“Trust me, let us prove you wrong.”
I do have to give Jolie credit. She still seems to relish playing the title character. I wish I could say the same for the rest of the returning cast and newcomers. Fanning is serviceable, but she’s not really given the strongest material to work with. It is nice to see Michelle Pfeiffer is having fun in a villainous turn it feels more like a pale imitation of her performance in Stardust. Then of course there’s a lot of great talent in the supporting cast (It’s always great seeing Sam Riley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Ed Skrein get work) getting little to nothing to do.
I do have to give the director, art department, costume designers, and production design team credit for making the film look visually impressive. Armed with a $185 million budget the sets, creatures, and props all look unique and beautiful. And in spite of a few rough moments most of the CGI looks pretty good.
All of this adds up to nothing more than an unnecessary extension of a story that had already concluded at the end of the first film. When Maleficent: Mistress of Evil hits Disney+ in maybe check it out if you have any interest. But, I would be interested in seeing a spin-off based around the porcupine looking creature and sentient mushroom’s relationship. Make it happen Disney!
Overall Score 2.5/5