Have you ever got done watching a trailer to a sequel and you said to yourself “is this film really necessary?” That’s how I felt coming into this sequel to Maleficent (2014), Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. To be fair, I saw Maleficent when it was in theaters and I did like it, but if you were to quiz me on the entire plot I would probably fail as barely remember it. Like any film I go to there is a fair chance of forgetfulness on my part, and let’s find out if this is forgettable as the first one.
Set five years after the events in the first one, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil follows Queen Aurora (Elle Fanning) who rules over The Moors, a forest filled with fairies and woodland creatures. One day Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson) proposes to Aurora and without hesitation she says yes which bothers her godmother Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) due to still having trust issues with humans. Despite that however, Maleficent decides to put her differences aside when she gets invited to dinner to meet Prince Philip’s family to celebrate the newly engaged couple. Things go well until Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) stirs conflict with Maleficent, which forces her to leave and starting a war between fairies and humans.
Before I sat down and watched Maleficent: Mistress of Evil I said to myself “let’s get this over with” and to my surprise there were a lot of things in here that I liked that I didn’t see coming. Don’t get me wrong, there are flaws in this film and for a good change of pace I’ll start off negative and end on a positive. Also there may be some mild spoilers.
The one thing that I could name right off the bat that annoyed me was that Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is too predictable. What I mean by that is I was able to predict each characters motives and certain plot points from a mile away. If I hadn’t had some caffeine beforehand I probably would have fallen asleep due to the boring narrative. I will say, though, that it was mostly during the first half. As I mentioned in my review for Hustlers, I’m a sucker for great acting or at least people giving a performance that they’re not used to and while I wasn’t searching for Oscar worthy performance in this one, the very mediocre performances stood out like a sore thumb. Again I knew what kind of film I was going into, but I was expecting much better since there was a lot of talent on the screen.
If you’re wondering how could I have possibly enjoyed Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, well there were two major key elements that made me appreciate this sequel: style and the overall theme. Normally it would be rare for me to choose style over substance whenever I’m watching a film, but when it earns it, it earns it. While this film may not win any Oscars in the acting department, the set design, cinematography, and even the costume designs were pretty incredible. I would not be surprised if this film were at least nominated at the Oscars next year in all three of those categories. Another thing that caught me by surprise that I liked a lot was the message of self-sacrifice. Sacrificial love is a Biblical virtue and there are several characters in this film who laid down their lives for others including Maleficent herself. That’s probably the one point in the movie that I did not see coming, but then something happened that I was able to predict due to not-so-subtle foreshadowing.
If you’re a fan of the first film and want to see the following adventures of Aurora and Maleficent or just want to see a film with a lot of style then I’d recommend Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. If, however, you’re someone who didn’t really care for the first one or want to see something with substance then it’s best that you skip this one. I probably fall somewhere in the middle.