The Huntsman: Winter’s War Review By: Sean Harrison

HuntsmansAs a sequel to the awful “Snow White and the Huntsman,” there’s wasn’t much chance it wasn’t going to be better than the original.  In that, the movie succeeded.  As a movie, it was directed by first time director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan who had previously work on the crew of both the first movie and “Maleficent.”  In addition Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron return as the Huntsman and the Evil Queen, being joined by newcomers Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain as the Snow Queen and the Huntswoman.  Overall, the movie benefited from having a different director and a much better cast.

Once again, the movie is told as if it was a fairytale (being narrated by the great Liam Neeson. Anyway, the movie begins years before the previous one and explains how the Evil Queen betrayed her own sister by hypnotizing the sister’s fiancé to murder their child.  That sister became the Snow Queen, and grew to rule a loveless kingdom in the north.  While doing so she also spared the children of those she conquered, raising them to take part in her army.  This ultimately led to the supposed death of the Huntsman’s own fiancé (which would, in turn, become lead into his story in the previous movie).  Seven years later, however, someone steals the evil mirror and the Huntsman gets tasked with tracking it down.  In the process, he gets joined by four dwarves (one of them returning from the other movie).  Also, he finds out his lover is still alive; though she believes that he abandoned her instead, showing how the Snow Queen had shown them both what she wanted them to see.  Over time, it is also revealed that the Evil Queen is still alive having separated her spirit from her body.  Doing so, she hid herself inside the mirror before being freed by her sister.  This ultimately leads to a rescue mission of not only the mirror, but also the huntswoman and two of the dwarfs.

Overall, the movie wasn’t the best movie but it was still a vast improvement over the previous one.  Most obviously, the acting is much better.  Both Jessica Chastain and Emily Blunt are among the better actresses in Hollywood, so the movie definitely benefits from their presence.  As for Charlize Theron, her performance is as great as before but it’s not as easy for her to outclass her co-stars.  Additionally, the pacing is a lot better.  The movie didn’t drag in places like the first one did, something which made the movie immensely more watchable.  However, on the flipside, the movie was paced a little too fast in some places (notably at the end of the Goblin fight).  Also, the movie does have really good special effects.
However, the one thing that does bring the movie down is the writing.  The story doesn’t have much in the way of depth, and the previously mentioned Goblin fight ends with a rather aggravating plot hole.  This doesn’t ruin the movie completely, but at best the film can be viewed as an entertaining but otherwise not very good bubblegum movie.

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