Well, well beasties get ready for a grand and enchanting trip back to the magical moors because Angelina Jolie returns as the devilishly dark fairy Maleficent in Maleficent 2: Mistress of Evil….and there’s so much to delight in here.
Five years after the first film, Maleficent’s peaceful life as the protector of the Moors takes an unexpected turn when Prince Phillip proposes to Aurora and she accepts. Unbeknownst to all, Phillip’s mother, Queen Ingrith, plans to use the wedding to divide humans and fairies forever. With Maleficent and Aurora finding themselves on opposite sides of an impending war, the two question whether they can truly be a family.
Produced as a follow up to Maleficent, Maleficent 2: Mistress of Evil takes audiences back to a thoroughly enchanting fairy tale landscape and those who love magic and wonder will not be disappointed by what director Joachim Rønning has conjured up here. Further developing the strands of the first film in relation to the relationship between Maleficent and her god-daughter Aurora, we see the trials and tribulations of time and the notion of love coming into play here. This is most relevant when related to the impending nuptials that awaits between Aurora and her lover Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson). This, of course, creates all kinds of commotion for Maleficent and the scene is then set for an amazing showdown between good and evil with some amazing fairy tale moments. As a director, Rønning really grounds his audience within the fairy tale genre and crafts a film that is visually astonishing and pulls the audience right into the narrative.
When it comes to Hollywood’s top female performers they don’t get much bigger than Angelina Jolie, and here she once again assumes the guise of the mistress of evil once more. And it’s pretty clear that Jolie is once again having an absolute blast. As the most powerful witch to ever walk the land, Jolie’s Maleficent sits above everyone else and this gives the actress plenty of direction to play in and there’s a lot of fiendish fun to be had here. While she’s good at playing this devilishly wicked anti-hero what’s fun about a second chapter in relation to Maleficent’s character arc is that we get to see more of Maleficent’s character explored in relation to her origins as a dark fay and the history that guides her. This additional narrative leads to a more fully rounded character and it’s fun to see her evolve here.
Taking on a greater part in the sequel and stretching out as a performer is Elle Fanning as Aurora, who is now Queen of the Moors and who is coming into her own as both Queen and actress. There’s a real maturity to Fanning’s performance as Aurora in Maleficent 2: Mistress of Evil, and as a Queen she is now faced with greater responsibilities that guide her choices and test her commitment to her charges. Fanning holds her own beside both Jolie and newcomer Michelle Pfeiffer, and it’s fun to see her challenge both actress with her performance, and Fanning makes the most of the fairy tale world of which she exists in here.
Facing off against Maleficent is Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith, and this royal is extremely wicked to the core. While Maleficent might be known as the mistress of evil, she’s got nothing on Pfeiffer’s Queen Ingrith who is venomous in her rule and whom leads by both fear and a deep burning fury. Pfeiffer’s Queen Ingrith also possesses a seething hatred for all things magical and she is determined to bring Maleficent to her knees once and for all with her devilish plan here. Pfeiffer is always a grand performer and it’s great to see her turn to the dark side in a fairy tale setting and she creates a villain that Walt Disney himself would be truly proud of.
In expanding the world of the dark fae in Maleficent 2: Mistress of Evil, Rønning also introduces us to a selection of new characters including Chiwetel Ejiofor as Conall and Ed Skrein as Borra. Ejiofor’s turn as Conall is shaped by a real sage-like persona. He’s a cross between a politician and a wise man and bears a likening to a Dr Martin Luther King Jr. of the fae world who is desperate to see the union between both the magical and the humans of this fairy tale land. Standing as both ally and opposition to Conall is Ed Skrein’s Bael, who is best described as a commanding and authoritative figure who is quick to anger and desires to protect his species by any means necessary. Skrein steps it up here with his performance and he does a terrific job in bringing to life this powerful character.
I can’t stress enough how magical and beautiful this film is to look at, and there has been an amazing level of detail that has gone into bringing to life the fairy tale magic of Maleficent 2: Mistress of Evil. This film sparkles at every corner with magic and acclaimed production designer and visual artist Patrick Tatopoulos and costume designer Ellen Mirojnick are responsible for bringing this fairy tale to life. Together Tatopoulos and Mirojnick work to build a truly immersive fairy tale world and it’s easy to find yourself lost in the amazing visuals that are present up on the big screen here. The addition of some amazing CGI creatures completes the fairytale and audiences are sure to have a grand time.
Maleficent 2: Mistress of Evil really stretches out into its own world, and its expanding narrative and beautifully realised fairy tale kingdom is certain to draw its audience into the film’s many wonders. If you’re seeking a sprinkling of fairy tale magic then you’re sure to find it here and you’ll find yourself swept up in wonder.
Image: Walt Disney Pictures