It’s rarely wise to watch a sequel without having first seen the original film. But I did it in any case when I decided to see Maleficent 2: Mistress of Evil.
It was an easy decision to make since Angelina Jolie is a favourite of mine. She never lets me down with her ever-edgy choices of films either to be in or to make herself.
The original Maleficent came out in 2014, but I wasn’t into seeing what was billed as a ‘dark fantasy’ at the time. But since then, I acquired a taste for Marvel comic fantasies, so I’m more inclined to watching fanciful action films like ‘Maleficent 2’. At the outset, Jolie’s horned and winged witch looks like she is going to be seriously wicked throughout the film, malevolent in fact. What’s more, she’s autocratic in the way she treats her adopted child, the sweet and innocent Aurora (Elle Fanning) whom she clearly adored.
Aurora has fallen for a fellow human being, Prince Philip who is keen to wed the lovely ‘Queen of the Moors’ as Aurora has been named by her ‘mum’. Aurora is just as enthusiastic about Phil, so she agrees to essentially defy Maleficent and go meet his mother, Queen Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) at their Disney-like castle.
Aurora doesn’t really want to disobey her mum so she persuades Maleficent to come with her to the castle and meet Ingrid. But that’s when the scene gets dark and dicey as these two women are both intent on going to war and defeating one another.
At this point, I had to pause the film and decide if I could stand watching two wicked women at war, even if it was ‘just a film’! It took me a moment to suspend my disbelief in the fantasy and realise I was watching three generations of great women actors performing all together. This made Maleficent 2 a film I could not afford to turn off.
True, Michelle and Angelina both play villains. But then, Queen Ingrid looks like her evil is more potent than Maleficent’s. She manages to wound this not-so-wicked witch whose vulnerability now elicits our sympathy.
Ingrid’s long- and short-term goal is nothing short of power and she is ruthless about getting it. She’s gotten rid of her husband, the King, and plans to do the same to Aurora’s friends, the fairies who live harmoniously with her in the moors.
Ingrid has even commissioned a pixie to create a toxic gas that can literally decimate all the fairies.
Fortunately, Maleficent is humbled and nursed back to health by a renegade band of winged-and horned warriors who want to help Maleficent defeat the evil queen. By the time the final battle begins, Aurora and Philip have discovered just how sinister Ingrid is. The special effects are fabulous although Ingrid nearly succeeds in gassing all the fairies including Maleficent.
Let me not be the spoiler who gives away the grand finale. Just go see this fantasy-drama yourself.