Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was one of the best movies of 2019. An absolutely worthy sequel to its fantastical magical 2014 predecessor, worth it alone for Angelina Jolie & Elle Fanning’s stellar performances. Especially all the special Maleficent/Aurora bonding moments.
On the off-chance you still haven’t seen the first Maleficent movie, I’d advise you to watch that first. Otherwise you may be wondering why Mallie is no longer casting curses on Aurora.
Sequels are always risky, especially when some movies work so well as stand-alones. Take the first Maleficent movie: it was a perfect reimagining of the dark fairy’s tale resolving everything beautifully, culminating with a well-deserved happily-ever-after pay off leaving almost no loose ends. A sequel may not even be necessary.
In this case, Maleficent 2 manages to successfully explore new story lines full of intrigue, sometimes going to darker places, whilst expanding upon the established status quo from the first film to make this sequel relevant. And it beautifully shows how far Maleficent’s character has come, beyond the dark vengeful villain she was originally portrayed as.
One of the movie’s greatest strengths was the way it tested the strength of Maleficent’s character, in the way she overcomes the adverse predicament that gets thrown her way. All the while tethering on the edge of a tipping point of giving in to her more ruthless side: the one that puts “evil” in “mistress of evil” and sets curses ignited by hatred and revenge.
Is Mistress of Evil a return to form to her evil Disney villain archetype? Let’s just say the true villain of this movie is revealed quite swiftly, although it sure is epical & intense seeing what a more confident, powerful, unrestrained Maleficent is like, when the situation calls for her to go all out with her dark fairy magic. This definitely made watching the brilliantly choreographed and masterpiece of a battle sequence of the third act every bit enjoyable and thrilling.
Maleficent 2 may not have been able to replicate the same tear-evoking feels of the first film, given in this sequel she’s not personally paying the price of her actions this time. Though the moment Aurora saved her Fairy Godmother after she sacrificed herself to save her was a nice parallel to the sentimental true love kiss scene of the first film, making it the emotive high point of this movie.
This precious bond that’s developed between Aurora and Maleficent since the first movie is what made a moment like this powerful, as it’s one that would once upon a time seem unlikely. But it works so well and it beautifully signifies that two different kinds of people can be united. Furthermore, the unity of Maleficent and Aurora’s relationship is a strong central theme that is echoed throughout this amazing movie and helps to bind all the conflicting story lines together perfectly.
On the whole, Maleficent 2 is a well thought-out movie that clearly knows where it’s going, it balanced all the dark, light and warm moments together perfectly, and keeping most of the character focus on Maleficent, Aurora and Prince Phillip was a formula that worked in its favour as all the best moments came from those characters.
Surprisingly, Prince Phillip was a wildcard that unexpectedly impressed, especially during the parts where he stepped up to diffuse conflict, declaring and commanding peace between humans, the dark fae, and creatures of the moors. It evoked some unexpected warm feels, giving his character the perfect chance to shine without overshadowing any of the other characters. And the allegory reflected to fight for peace and against Queen Ingrith’s intolerance with her quest to destroy magical creatures, was something else that gave the film even more added weight.
The only thing missing from the Blu-ray of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is the inclusion of more deleted scenes, or cast insights about the movie as the extras seem a little lightweight. However, this is the age of Disney+ and streaming, so it’s understandable added incentives may have fallen on the wayside.
The Maleficent movies have undeniably been a big success for Disney, which means there is a chance a third movie may happen. Hopefully if it does, the third time will be another charm. And with that, I’d give Maleficent: Mistress of Evil 9/10, since the movie itself was fantastically magical.
– Ryan Marshall