While I know I enjoyed Maleficent, Disney’s wild reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, I couldn’t begin to tell you what happened in it. I know Angelina Jolie was in it and that she was the good/bad guy but aside from that it’s all a bit of a blur. This meant that I had little to no expectations for the sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil when I attended a screening.
Offering a quick recap of events in the first film, we find Princess Aurora now Queen Aurora of the Moors with Maleficent diligently protecting the kingdom from above.
However, fairies have been going missing, seemingly poached by humans from the Kingdom of Ulstead who view Maleficent and the residents of the Moors to be evil.
In order to unite the two Kingdoms and marry the one he loves, Prince Phillip proposes to Aurora who quickly accepts. Eager to prove to Maleficent that the humans can be trusted, she convinces her to attend a family dinner, which goes about as well as you could have expected.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Review
With the King plunged into a cursed slumber and Maleficent branded the villain, she flees Ulstead only to be shot with iron by Queen Ingrith’s (Michelle Pfeiffer) servant Gerda. Plunging into the river below, Gerda watches as Maleficent disappears over a waterfall only to be saved at the last minute by a large winged creature.
From here, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil sets itself up as an ‘us versus them’ tale pitting humans against the fairies and Fey. Pfeiffer is powerful in her role as the hateful and villainous Ingrith, stealing every scene she appears in.
She embodies the hatred that Ingrith feels for the Fey which, when revealed, makes you empathise with her for a moment. However, by that time, her actions are so truly evil that you’re just waiting for her to die.
Jolie is also great as Maleficent, bringing great energy and humour to the role. She also imbues the character with pathos and makes the audience feel for her despite being, very nearly, a monster.
As the film marches on, the viewer really feels for Maleficent. You just want to see her happy and back with Aurora even though they both seem incapable of admitting their wrongdoing. As for other characters in the film, they’re undercooked at best.
Most of the supporting cast is there to serve a purpose but nothing more.
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Conall and Ed Skrein as Borra are given the worst treatment with their existence serving only a few brief plot points.
Thankfully, the spectacle and focus on the rift between Ingrith and Maleficent are the real reasons to watch this film. Visually sumptuous, bright, colourful and filled with incredible effects, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a wonder to look at. There are some incredible shots in the film too.
The Fey’s assault on the castle and aeriel shots of the kingdom both lend a sense of scale to the film that is otherwise lacking.
Overall, fans of the original will enjoy the sequel, unnecessary as it is.
Leo Stevenson attended a screening of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil as a guest of Disney.
Movie title: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil