Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Director: Joachim Rønning
Writer: Linda Woolverton, Noah Harpster, Micah Fitzerman-Blue
Based on: Disney’s Sleeping Beauty / the fairy tale
Sequel to: Maleficent
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Harris Dickinson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sam Riley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, Robert Lindsay, David Gyasi, Jenn Murray, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Judith Shekoni, Miyavi, Kae Alexander, Warwick Davis
Seen on: 23.10.2019

Plot:
It’s been five years and Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and Aurora (Elle Fanning) have found a good way of living with each other and ruling their kingdom. But when Aurora accepts Prince Philipp’s (Harris Dickinson) proposal, things change. And the first thing is that both Aurora and Maleficent have to meet Philipp’s parents (Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert Lindsay) and hopefully leave a good impression with them. But something else is afoot, too, that could threaten the entire kingdom.

I really loved the first Maleficent film, so my expectations for this sequel were pretty high, but unfortunately weren’t entirely met. It is an entertaining film, but I was hoping for more.

The film poster showing Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and in her wing several other characters and a castle.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a film that goes a little too big sometimes, a little too dramatic (like the organ playing), which is not the criticism I expected to have about the film and it feels a little weird to say that a fantasy epic lays it on too thick, but here we are. That being said, if you expect nothing else from the film than cute fairies and good special effects, Maleficent Mistress of Evil has got you (including a Sonic the Hedgehog copy). Also, Jolie and Fanning continue to be an absolute dream team.

Unfortunately, after the strong feminist message of the first film, this wasn’t enough for me. Mistress of Evil never really gets into the feminist aspect, though. You can still find some of it, but it’s far from front and center where I would have liked it to be. Where it was in the first film.

Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) with her black wings spread wide, explosions in the sky behind her.

It was also very ambivalent for me to have Pfeiffer as the Big Bad in this one. Not that she wasn’t fantastic in the role, but in the end what they did is make her the sole plotting villain who leads all the good people around her (all men) on. At least she didn’t do it simply for her own personal power play, but the tropey nature of it is still grating.

Regarding its message, I found the most interesting aspect the question who pushes for war and who pushes for peace under which circumstances and for what reason. There was a touch of “war is a result of trauma, peace the result of privilege” which I thought is a really interesting approach (that doesn’t mean that I agree with it). The film doesn’t really pursue this thread, either though.

Well, I guess it wasn’t to be expected from a Disney Princess movie to become a lesson in philosophy. But it would have certainly been nice if they had been a little more revolutionary in their thinking anyway.

Aurora (Elle Fanning) looking up at the sky.

Summarizing: definitely very watchable, but I’ll probably stick with the first one.

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