Disney’s Maleficent became a box office sensation, but the highly-anticipated sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil has come and gone. which is in part because of its negative reviews. Starring Angelina Jolie, the original franchise film was acclaimed for its extravagant central performance, along with the collective production design and visual effects. Maleficient even landed an Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design. But whereas the sequel has received the same type of production acclaim, the story itself hasn’t stunned critics worldwide.
Directed by Joachim Rønning, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil tells a familiar story but one that strays further from the original Sleepy Beauty premise that made the franchise-starter so relatable and accessible. In Maleficent, Disney provides Aurora’s perspective on the infamous character Maleficent, the protector of the Moors who put a curse on the young princess because of a beef with the girl’s father. Maleficent and Aurora ultimately form a strong bond, with the latter coming back to life after being kissed by her beloved Prince Philip. Maleficent 2 picks up five years after the death of Aurora’s father, King Stefan, and chronicles the heavy conflict between the Moors and Prince Philip’s mother Ingrith, the Queen of Ulstead.
Currently, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil has a 40 percent tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes. On top of that, the sequel will most likely barely make a profit for Disney given its relatively disappointing box office return, which is less than $500 million a month into its theatrical release. The good news, however, is that general moviegoers across the world seem to enjoy the cinematic experience. Plus, Maleficent 2 can’t quite be considered a box office bomb, and there’s undeniably plenty of merchandising potential to capitalize upon. Here’s what the reviews are saying about Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
Sadly, such fun is not to be had in "Mistress of Evil," a needless sequel to the 2014 "Sleeping Beauty" riff that fails to fully value the entire of appeal of these films: Jolie's Maleficent."
There's no need for this [sequel]... It's almost not campy enough.
With the overwhelming razzle-dazzle of computer-generated vistas, there's definitely something missing. Fairytales are meant to be whispered, invoking wonder and mystery, even at their darkest. This is shouty and loud.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is likely to have its fans given their admiration for the original but when compared to the aforementioned films, it's sorely lacking.
"Mistress of Evil" has its heart in the right place, but good intentions can't overcome a nagging blockbuster familiarity.
The kind of vacuous, empty-headed spectacle that has absolutely nothing on its mind other than squeezing several hundred millions more out of a property that barely had enough material for a single story, let alone a follow-up.
The overall reviews for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil imply that story structure is what brings the sequel down. In addition, critics have suggested that Rønning and company simply tried too hard, and strayed from the magical storytelling components that made the first movie so effective. However, the collective reviews for Maleficent 2 haven't been entirely negative. Many critics have found immense value in Jolie's central performance, and the overall experience of the Disney production. Here are some of the more positive reviews for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
We get a classic buildup establishing heroes and villains; gorgeous, screen-popping visuals featuring beautiful and mysterious worlds; a bounty of colorful and magical creatures, and a lengthy, CGI-laden, climactic battle sequence…
The bottom line is that Maleficent 2 takes a brilliant character and doesn't completely bugger things up.
As is so often the case, Maleficent didn't exactly cry out for another chapter, but if forced to do one with a sharp spindle pointed at your head (or finger), this is about as good as one could have hoped.
It goes down easy, thanks to a colorful palette and Woolverton's refusal to soft-pedal the nefarious lengths Queen Ingrith will go to carry out her anti-fairy agenda.
For Disney, the positive reaction to Maleficent: Mistress of Evil from general moviegoers is probably what matters most. In addition, the sequel won't be necessarily be a box office failure, thus allowing for a third franchise installment. At this point, Woolverton and Disney can sort through the pros and cons of the first two films, and then form a solid template for Maleficent 3. Jolie has immense star power, along with Elle Fanning, but as critics have pointed, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil seems to be more interested in big moments and big production design, rather than telling an effective story that complements the central performances.