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Review: Angelina Jolie Makes Her Triumphant Return to the Screen in ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’

October 17, 2019Britany Murphy

As moviegoers saw in 2014's Maleficent, the Mistress of Evil is not a dark fey who ought to be messed with. However, it is clear that lessons weren't entirely learned, as humans and fairies again find themselves in another bind this time around — all thanks to an evil queen.

Picking up five years after the first installment, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opens with a dark and foreboding scene where a trio of men sneak into the Moors to capture some of the fairy folk who live there. Meanwhile, their monarch, Aurora (Elle Fanning), is trying her best to deal with the other matters at hand, unaware that her beau, Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson), has a plan to propose. And with the help of Aurora's aunts, Knotgrass (Imelda Staunton), Thistlewit (Juno Temple) and Flittle (Lesley Manville), the love-struck pair become engaged.

While Aurora is overcome with happiness, however, she begins to dread the idea of telling Maleficent about the union. Clearly unhappy about the upcoming marriage, Maleficent confronts her goddaughter, but while she is worried about Aurora, she also obliges when asked to give Phillip and his family a chance. Grudgingly, Maleficent attends the celebratory feast and meets King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer). However, tensions run high during the dinner, and what was meant to be a civil and joyous occasion quickly escalates into something that could lead to a war between the Kingdom of Ulstead and the Moors.

Directed by Joachim Rønning, the result is very much the Angelina Jolie and Michelle Pfeiffer show. Whether trading barbs or going toe-to-toe, Jolie and Pfeiffer are captivating in every scene they share and are a force to be reckoned with throughout the film's entirety. Both actresses are pitch perfect in their roles, and audiences will be left wanting for more on-screen time with the duo. Newcomers to the franchise, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ed Skrein, are also great as fellow dark feys Conall and Borra, as is Sam Riley, who reprises his role as Diaval.

On top of the superb performances by its cast, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil has many other things going for it, from the cinematography and the music to the visual effects. The only place that the movie falls short lies in the predictability of its storyline and its usage of common genre tropes. Otherwise, this sequel is far better than its predecessor and is definitely worth watching, if only for the exceptional performances by Jolie and Pfeiffer.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil releases October 17th, 2019 from Walt Disney Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG for intense sequences of fantasy action/violence and brief scary images. Its runtime is 1 hr. 58 min.

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