Since the announcement of a sequel to 2014 fantasy film Maleficent I was beyond excited. I couldn’t wait to see Angelina Jolie don those iconic black horns and flaunt her cheekbones once more. But as excited as I was, I was also nervous. Would a sequel to the film mean that the franchise would fail?
We’ve seen many times before when films are given sequels that just aren’t as good as the first film and it ruins it. It’s true that sometimes, the originals are always the best and they don’t need a sequel to still be good.
However, I can confirm that Maleficent: Mistress of Evil has restored my faith in sequels. A sheer pleasure to watch from start to finish and a relatively smooth continuation of the plot from the first film.
Jolie once again delivered a memorable performance enforcing the reality that there is no other actress more perfect for the title role of Maleficent; the villain that we all hate to love. The plot revolves around the issues that arise when Aurora becomes engaged to Prince Phillip and is introduced to his parents.
Throughout the film, we see the bond between Elle Fanning’s Aurora and Maleficent deepen as Aurora introduces Maleficent to Prince Phillip’s family as her mother. Maleficent’s overprotective nature is one that evokes sympathy from viewers, we all know she means well and really is trying her best to make Aurora happy.
As well as Jolie’s flawless portrayal, Michelle Pfeiffer was a fabulous addition to the cast. She made her mark as Phillip’s power-hungry evil mother Queen Ingrith. Pfeiffer’s character is one you begin to hate more and more as the film goes on and was the ultimate fairy tale villain, stopping at nothing to get what she wanted. This type of portrayal, I imagine was very much intended. My one criticism was that Queen Ingrith did not get the end that her character deserved but, it is a children’s film after all.
I found the plot started off very far-fetched, it seemed rushed and the writers were in a hurry to make the franchise work. The dialogue that opened the film was very passive and didn’t seem to make much sense. After all that happened in the first film, the fact that Maleficent saved Aurora in a way that nobody else could, why would the people still hate her? The narration that opens the film was overall a bit confusing however this is easily forgotten.
A number of questions were raised in my mind during the film, what happened to Aurora’s kingdom? Did she just forget King Stefan’s people or did they move to neighbouring kingdom Ulstead? Aurora explains that King Stefan’s castle was given to the people however this seems a messy way to tie up that loose end.
Despite these few points, the cast all delivered a brilliant performance, the effects and scenery of the Moors was as enchanting as the first film. The three fairies and Sam Riley’s Diaval provided the same comedic elements with their laughable and lovable characters. If anything, they deserved more screen time. Their few scenes were among the highlights of the film as they provided the light-hearted humour that toned down some of the darker scenes.
A special acknowledgement should go to Riley and Jolie’s on screen chemistry. Their partnership and friendship as Maleficent and Diaval is a unique one in the franchise and their character development as a duo is one of the best in the films. It has blossomed into a true friendship that is nice to see. It makes a refreshing change from the predictable storyarc of Diaval and Maleficent becoming a couple, they definitely work better as friends and I’m pleased that the writers have kept it that way.
In general, I was impressed with the sequel to Maleficent despite my doubts, and among a few criticisms I would definitely recommend it. As an adult, seeing my favourite fairytale bought to life as a live action film was a dream come true and I only wish I was a little girl again so that I could view these films with the belief that it’s all real.