It’s been five years since we were blessed with Disney’s movie Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning (which happens to be one of my favorite casting duos given the overall bleakness and darker creative direction Robert Stromberg took with the film) and we have been waiting for something else ever since.
When the sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was announced back in May, I fell out of my chair due to pure excitement and that fact that Angelina Jolie was wearing sickening battle armor with her hair down and her eyes glowing green.
I was a really big fan of the first film for a couple of reasons. The film itself was beautifully done, really well produced and well casted. I also really appreciated its metaphor and commentary on rape culture, digging into a whole other topic that needed to be talked about and used the normalization of a Disney film to do it.
The best way to describe this film is to compare the single released for it with the one released accompanying the first film. In 2014, Lana Del Rey released a now very iconic, dark, slow, and sultry cover of the original film’s main song, Once Upon a Dream. Now, in 2019, director Robert Stromberg collaborated with pop artist, Bebe Rhexha on an honest to god slap titled, You Can’t Stop the Girl.
While the first film was darker, and shrouded in mystery, the second presents a rich and robust plot right off the back. This film picks up slightly after the first one ends, with Aurora’s becoming queen of the Moors and leaving her birthright kingdom and castle to her former citizens.
All is well until Aurora’s boyfriend, Prince Phillip proposes to her which leads to Maleficent flipping out saying that there will be no wedding, followed by Maleficent being forced to leave her home after a dinner with Phillip’s parents goes terribly wrong.
The film then goes on to explore the origin of Maleficent’s identity as a dark fae (winged fairies with magical abilities that date back to phoenixes), and the race war between magical creatures of the Moors and the humans of Phillip’s kingdom, all while Aurora is essentially being held captive by Phillip’s mother.
In my opinion this was a really well done sequel to an already phenomenal franchise. The Maleficent movies are famous for tying in real world applicable situations and issues into beautifully made films about love, loss, and identity.
I applaud this film in particular for going so far into who Maleficent is as further force to paint her as the misunderstood protagonist we saw in the first films. The scoring was amazing, it was visually stunning, and the casting still has me shook a week later. It also paints a really well done picture of powerful women in a fairy tale which I really loved. Overall I’d give the movie a 9/10 on the sole purpose being that in my opinion no sequel will live up to its predecessor especially one like Maleficent, but standing alone easily a 10/10 experience.