Maleficent was a surprise hit in 2014, with Angelina Jolie praised in her portrayal as the legendary villain of Sleeping Beauty, retelling the story with an emphasis on Maleficent’s origin. A unique spin on the studio’s recent trend of remaking classic animated features in live action, the 2014 film followed the misunderstood fairy, scorned by the false love of King Stefan. As revenge against the King, she cast a deadly spell upon Stefan’s daughter Aurora. However, in spite of herself, Maleficent finds herself beginning to care for the young girl, ultimately serving as her surrogate mother and savior from the spell. After the film was released, Jolie continued to show great interest in portraying the character again, and finally, after five years, Maleficent spreads her wings on the big screen with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
Five years have passed since the cruel King Stefan was defeated, and the kingdoms of humans and fairies have once again grown apart due to the tales being spread of Maleficent’s evil. However, a possible truce could be seen as Prince Phillip proposes to Princess Aurora. Maleficent, skeptical of the concept of love and protective of Aurora, opposes the marriage, causing Aurora to leave the enchanted Moors and stay with Phillip and his parents King John and Queen Ingrith. After a contentious meeting between Maleficent and Ingrith escalates to a battle between the dark fairy and the human forces, Maleficent is forced to retreat, but is saved by a tribe of Dark Fae like herself, finally ready to emerge from the shadows. As the human and Dark Fae both prepare for war, Maleficent is forced to choose between her distrust of humans and her motherly love for Princess Aurora, determining her title as the Mistress of Evil.
If you were a fan of the original or just love fantasy films in general, this film will be your cup of tea. I loved that Mistress of Evil dove deeper into Maleficent’s character, and we learn more about who she is on an emotional level as we see her have to grapple with a lot of tough decisions, searching for a balance doing what’s best for her versus best for her daughter. Jolie being a mother herself nails these emotions and difficult choices that come with motherhood perfectly, and keeps you enthralled through the whole movie. Michelle Pfeiffer, who plays Philip’s mother Queen Ingrith is a perfect counterpart to Maleficent on screen. The scenes between Jolie and Pfeiffer are intense and give a feeling of unease, in a gripping dramatic sense. They make an incredible hero versus villain duo. Another standout performance is Chiwetel Ejiofor as Conall, a Dark Fae like Maleficent. He has the task to introduce Maleficent (and audiences) to the world of the Dark Fae, quite a big task! His powerful performance on screen is able to deliver these big storylines seamlessly.
Overall, I enjoyed the sequel more than the first, as I feel the characters faced more challenges and difficult decisions, which brought more depth to their stories. This is a great Disney family film for the Halloween season, but would recommend to take kids maybe ages 6 or 7 and up (I think for my four year old this may be a little too intense with loud noises for her). Maleficent Mistress of Evil is now in theatres, you can find tickets here.