In short, is ‘Mistress of Evil’ perfect? No where close. Is it, however, a gloriously-evil festival for fans of its 2014 predecessor? YES.
‘Maleficent’ was released in the summer of 2014 to mediocre critical reactions. It currently holds an average 53% on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie, however, collected over $750 million and still holds a strong fanbase to this day.
‘Mistress of Evil’ flies five years after the events of its predecessor. Aurora has settled into her position as Queen of the Moors. She lives a happy life and an even happier one when Prince Phillip, who she has fallen deeply in love with, proposes to her. Things go south, however, when the parents of the two love-birds are forced to get along. One of those parents being Maleficent, of course.
‘Mistress of Evil’ is the PERFECT movie for fans of the first Maleficent. It takes many of the best qualities about that film, and amplifies them.
For starters, the gorgeous visuals and world building.
The first movie introduced us to the beautiful world of the Moors, where its titular character grew up. This movie not only takes us deeper into that world, but adds a new one about halfway through. Without spoiling anything, this new world is rich with lore, and laden with eye-catching colors. I had an uncountable number of eyegasms watching this film.
While the first ‘Maleficent’ had a primarily dark color scheme, this movie flaunts the exact opposite. And there’re enough colorful VFX, rich set designs, and gorgeously-made costumes here to keep anyone’s eyes entertained.
Another element which made the first ‘Maleficent’ so special, was Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of the titular role. And I’m happy to report she’s just as good in this film, if not better.
One of the riskier moves of the first movie was turning Maleficent into a sympathetic character. And while many still aren’t a fan of that choice, I personally appreciate it. In short, 2014 Maleficent is a totally different character than 1959 Maleficent, and I like that about her.
‘Mistress of Evil’ embraced 2014 Maleficent and wasn’t afraid to move her even further away from her original counterpart. This being said, the film never loses sight of Maleficent’s devious centrality.
This movie deepened Maleficent’s character. It made her backstory more interesting and her emotions more complex. She continued to be an enticing central character. And Angelina, once again, did a fantastic job diving headfirst into the role.
On top of this, Michelle Pfeiffer was great as the mysterious Queen Ingrith. And Harris Dickinson (Prince Phillip) and Elle Fanning (Princess Aurora), did a solid job defining their characters as well.
All that being said, however, the movie was still significantly flawed. In fact, I might not even suggest it to someone unless they were a fan of the first film. Because, though the movie is a strong sequel, it struggles in many other important ways.
My main issues with ‘Mistress of Evil’ are in regard to character motivations and writing.
I’m not saying all motivations in this movie are half baked, as only a few are. Those motivations, though, carry key bases of the movie and should’ve been further explained or even changed.
This movie, rather than presenting a compelling narrative, is more of a character piece. It is focused on developing the characters of Maleficent and Aurora. There is no key goal presented. Instead, everything kind of happens until there’s a climactic final battle.
This isn’t to say there’s no emotion or tension here, or that nothing of importance happened during ‘Mistress of Evil.’ The movie, however, failed to present the audience with a clear narrative, and I thought I’d mention it.
Lastly I thought I’d talk about the movie’s inconsistencies. While I, once more, can’t mention specifics, I will say this film has a few small plot holes. Those of which only seem to exist for conveniently moving the script forward.
One of these plot holes exists during the last fifteen minutes of the movie, when something major is resolved. While this resolve does nothing to hurt ‘Mistress of Evil,’ its existence does put into question a key point in the previous movie. As a fan of that movie, this bugged me a little.
Speaking of the last fifteen minutes of the movie, though, I’d like to end on a positive note.
The last fifteen minutes of ‘Mistress of Evil’ are sincere and full of enough magic to make any Disney fan happy. There’s even a GREAT Sleeping Beauty reference which made me feel pure joy.
What did you think of ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil?’ Tell us all your thoughts on Twitter (@appkernel) and Instagram (@appkernel)!