Maleficent: Mistress of Evil – A well intentioned but underwhelming sequel

Posted on 1 November 2019
By Roisin Gordon
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When Maleficent burst onto our screens back in 2014, we were treated to an interesting twist on the Sleeping Beauty story and its iconic villain. Which was particularly heightened by its fantastic visuals and performance from lead actress Angelina Jolie.

Despite the success of the first film, it’s hard to imagine many people were desperate for a sequel. Whilst Maleficent: Mistress of Evil does have its moments and some admirable performances from the cast, overall the film doesn’t leave you feeling satisfied.

This story sees the bond between Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and Aurora (Elle Fanning) being tested, after Aurora becomes engaged to Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson).

Maleficent makes it no secret that she disapproves of the news and fails to get along with Aurora’s future in-laws, particularly with Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfieffer), who still sees Maleficent as a villainous figure despite her redemption at the end of the first film.

When Maleficent meets a group of other fairies like herself who need her help to end their oppression from the humans, she becomes torn between wanting to go to war and maintaining the peace she has created.

Seeing as the first film ended on a positive note, showing how Maleficent and Aurora’s love for each other helped to overcome the curse and bought peace in their kingdom, it was interesting to see what the sequel had in store.

There was some interesting ideas amongst the story for this film, but the problem is that the film tried to stuff in many different plot points into a two hour runtime, and as a result they feel a little rushed and unfulfilled.

The plot involving Maleficent meeting fairies of her own kind was one of the more interesting aspects of the story, especially when you learn about their past conflicts with humans.

Unfortunately it didn’t feel like it got as much attention as the other plot points in the film, which was a shame because it helped to set up the climactic battle and has you invested in Maleficent’s inner conflict with other humans, and what the outcome would be.

The plot involving Queen Ingrith and the missing fairies was a mixed bag of results, as it played out predictably and you become uninterested watching Aurora attempting to work out who is behind it all, despite it being obvious to the audience.

In spite of this, Queen Ingrith did prove to be a much more entertaining villain than King Stefan in the first film. As she manipulates the people surrounding her, whilst also maintaining the facade that she cares for her new daughter-in-law and kingdom.

The visual effects once again are decent, particularly how they change the tone of The Moors depending on Maleficent’s mood, whether it be colourful and vibrant, as well as dark and steeped in mood.

Although there wasn’t anything particularly magical about it that set it apart from other CG based blockbusters, they manage to do their job in making the film look pretty.

Despite the overstuffed plot, it did build up to a fun and action-packed climax that made it the films highlight. You become invested in seeing who will win this battle once and for all, especially when you see that some of the beloved characters’ lives are put at risk.

Angelina Jolie once again shines playing Maleficent, being at her best when playing the devilish side to the anti-hero, as she commands each scene with her presence. Yet Jolie also does a fantastic job at showing the conflicted and softer side to her character.

Despite the softening of her character in the first film, you can’t help but root for the mother- daughter relationship between her and Aurora.

Michelle Pfieffer delights in the role of Queen Ingrith, making a great foil to Maleficent and it’s always so much fun to see her play a villainous role. She plays the role with such charm and grace that despite the character’s wicked and manipulative ways that it makes her enjoyable to watch.

Elle Fanning does a great job of portraying Aurora, providing the film with its sweeter moments and her cheery and kindhearted personality brilliantly offsets Maleficent’s own dark nature.

Fanning’s portrayal stays true to the animated character, but also manages to make her feel more fleshed out. Showing that despite her characters good nature, she isn’t afraid to get a little more involved with the action in this film and has some great scenes with Maleficent and Queen Ingrith to work with.

Chiwetel Ejiofor is also on good form as Conall, showing to be more wise and peaceful in contrast to Ed Skrein’s dark and warlike Borra.

Despite being the key in providing Maleficent with the most important decision for the future of their kind, Ejiofor is sadly underused in the film, but his role does leave an impact on the story.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil doesn’t fully live up to the potential of its story, however the entertaining performances from the cast and decent visual effects are enough to make it watchable.

Purple Revolver Rating: 3.5/5 – Lacking Disney Magic