Five years after Maleficent’s (Angelina Jolie) act of true love saves Aurora (Elle Fanning), the world is still convinced that her evil nature prevails due to a twisted tale. When Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson) proposes to Aurora, Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) sets her evil plan in motion to divide the humans and fairies.
In “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” Maleficent and Aurora find themselves torn apart between their own people and the ones they love; relationships are questioned, lives are at risk, and the peace of the land lies in their hands.
While colorful woodland creatures and high-flying, intense action sequences carry the film along, the story is messy and predictable. Although interesting enough to captivate young audience members, the movie falls short in creating a realistic story, even in a fairytale land.
Maleficent’s stereotypical, expected storyline detracts from the audience’s vision of her as the strong, main character. The power and intimidation usually associated with Maleficent shines through in a less-than-ideal amount of scenes.
The first film was based around looking at the story of Sleeping Beauty from a different perspective and seeing Maleficent struggle with her morals. This sequel’s pitfalls lay in its lack of unique perspective and interesting internal scuffle. Some scenes were shocking for a PG rating, with countless onscreen deaths as adorable woodland creatures are massacred by a magic red dust.
The final battle and climax of the film, while spectacular in soaring action and special effects, falls short in a resolution that seemed lazy and unrealistic in the war’s deescalation. However compared to the first film, the story’s pacing, effects, and cast grows a little bit stronger. Other actors like Pfeiffer and Fanning are allowed more room to showcase their talent. Pfeiffer’s role as another evil queen was truly maleficent, and Fanning’s portrayal of a girl torn between two sides of her life shines through.
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” follows the common trope of a character discovering a family exactly like them, and realizing that their true family lies in-between both worlds. The same goes in “Madagascar 2,” “How to Train Your Dragon 2 and 3,” and “Kung Fu Panda 3.”
Of course, this film has its own places to shine in both cast and special effects. Angelina Jolie as a threatening, yet awkward mother trying to reconcile with the soon-to-be in-laws gives us humor in-between tension.
The film doesn’t drag on, even with its two hour runtime. With upbeat pacing and excitement in almost every scene, the movie is well-tied together. “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is one of the first live-action remakes that no longer has to follow an animated original. We can only hope that Disney uses this further to their advantage by creating a more complex story if this series is continued.