It’s rare for me to watch a sequel and to come out thinking it was better than the first film. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was packed full of action whilst adding equal measures of emotion and mythology.
I find the whole Maleficent thing intriguing and it always reminds me of the musical, Wicked. It makes you wonder if these villains we grew up fearing really were bad or if there was method to their madness. This film portrays the character trying to change and put aside her dastardly ways to appease Aurora (Elle Fanning) who is preparing to marry her Prince Charming, Phillip (Harris Dickinson). We meet his parents, King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) and from her first appearance it’s evident the Queen is not as innocent as she’d have you believe.
Michelle Pfieffer plays a great villain. She’s sly and cunning and is always one step ahead of everyone else. Desirable qualities needed for the job. They say behind every great man there’s a great woman – well King John needed eyes in the back of his head because this great woman had a great plan. Think Cersei Lannister! By her side is Jenn Murray as Greda who is equally menacing. She was fantastic! Elle Fanning returns as Princess Aurora and I can’t decide if I find the character annoying or the actress but she’s necessary for Maleficent’s character growth. Her marriage to Phillip (who has been recast possibly due to Brenton Thwaites currently being busy fighting off Deathstroke) is due to bring together the human world and the mythical. This is a huge deal and the reason for Queen Ingrith’s scheming. Also returning is Sam Riley as Diaval who is completely entertaining as Maleficent’s right hand crow. He gets a moment he’s been wishing for towards the end of the film and it’s very well deserved. I love the relationship between the two of them.
Maleficent unwillingly finds herself on a journey of discovery in this film, which links her with her roots. I really enjoyed this part of the film and it was almost grounding for her, re-establishing her belief system in the battle she’s fighting for. It added the element of mythology to the story which really pulled me in and brought in new characters including Tundra (Jess Liaudin) and Conall (Chiwetel Ejifor). Both were fabulous as Fey, drawing out different elements of Maleficent’s character.
Angelina Jolie was once again incredible as Maleficent. She’s so charismatic and has the ability to tell a thousand words with one simple raise of the eyebrow. She’s always been a great actress but as Maleficent she’s perfection. She’s majestic but always has that edge of ‘don’t mess with me’ and the explosion from the rage suppressed inside her is only ever a snap away. There’s a scene with her arriving at King John’s castle and the reception she receives from the public had me belly laughing. I just can’t imagine anyone else pulling off such an iconic character as well as Angelina does.
There’s a strong message, but it’s a Disney film – there’s always a message. The film has something to offer everyone. Romance, fun and a huge battle scene towards the end with enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s a huge triumph and makes me wish Disney would concentrate on new stories like this which give an alternative view on well loved classics rather than recreating stories from our childhoods in live action.