The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016)1:48 AM
The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway
This review contains Spoilers
The Huntsman: Winter's War is the feature length directorial debut from Cedric Nicolas-Troyan. The film stars Emily Blunt (Sicario, Into the Woods), Chris Hemsworth (Thor, In the Heart of the Sea), Jessica Chastain (The Martian, Zero Dark Thirty) and Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road, Prometheus). "As two evil sisters prepare to conquer the land; two renegades - Eric the Huntsman - who previously aided Snow White in defeating Ravenna, and his forbidden lover, Sara set out to stop them". This is a sequel nobody really expected we would get, is it worthwhile or a waste of time?
So I do have mixed feelings towards this film but my overall view is generally positive. If you had asked me what I was thinking before the third act, I would have said that I was thoroughly enjoying it and that I was extremely satisfied with this sequel. However, my positive feelings are somewhat being clouded by an underwhelming finale that didn't live up to the energy set by the trailers at all. Don't get me wrong, I didn't not like this film but the ending didn't impress me too much so that has had an impact on how I feel about the rest of the film.
I'm going to start by once again dedicating a whole part of this review to my favourite character and performance. I really liked Emily Blunt as Freya, The Ice Queen. Not only is she basically a live action Elsa, I thought Blunt once again showcased her acting ability - she now has 'evil character' ticked off. What I liked about Blunt is that she was quite subtle with how evil she acted - it wasn't all done through screaming like Ravenna in the first film, she was straight to the point and her actions were pretty evil. I actually wanted to see Freya kick butt in this film so I was actually saddened by the ending - she died, Elsa died! I also thought her death didn't even give her justice - she hugged Ravenna and was stabbed by her - this had to be one of the most underwhelming parts of the film. The trailer built up a big battle between these two sisters and we only really got 3-5 minutes of fighting and most of it, we had already seen. This seems to be a similar problem that Batman V Superman had - that actual fight wasn't as big as everyone wanted it to be. Apart from the final fight, I really liked Freya as a character and thought her rule about 'No Love' was powerful and the way she spied on her 'children' was really cool. I thought Freya's ice powers were actually done pretty well and that moment where she manipulates what Sara and William can see through the ice is wickedly evil. Overall, Emily Blunt is fantastic and outshines Theron - Mirror Mirror On the Wall, Who is the best Evil Queen of them All? The Ice Queen.
The acting in this film is very strong across the board and I was impressed by all the leads. I thoroughly enjoyed Jessica Chastain's performance and I was not expecting her accent. Blunt is Elsa and Chastain is Merida! Chastain's accent was quite strong and she didn't have many noticeable slip ups. I also thought it was nice to see Chastain's character did have a point in the film as from the trailers, she looked pretty pointless. The whole forbidden lovers concept was a nice touch. Outside of the Avengers movies, this is the only role where I believe Chris Hemsworth has truly shined. He plays the same character every time but I think he is a solid Huntsman, even though his accent is still as wobbly as ever. I was disappointed by Charlize Theron - not by her acting but by how much she was actually in the film - she is only at the beginning and the end. This means that Theron wasn't really given a chance to shine and her character never got to scream as much as in the first film (even though that did become annoying). The dwarfs were also played very well - they were there for comic relief and they definitely did provide comic relief! Some of the dialogue between them was very funny. A shout out must go to Liam Neeson who was the narrator of the film - if on-screen acting does stop working for him, at least he has something to fall back on as he was pretty good.
The story for the film was very complex which I do think was a flaw. I really liked the first two acts of the film - the story was set up nice. However, so many weird twists started to happen that just didn't really make sense - for example, when you find out Sara is alive - once it is explained and you have a think about it, you can make sense of it in your head but it is a little far fetched - and then when Theron is resurrected - I think this could be why my feelings during the final fight were a little 'meh' as the twist was a little too far fetched. I did like the idea of the forbidden lovers and it was nice to mix them in with the Snow White story, Brave story and Frozen story (I just can't help myself). It was never really explained why the mirror was so important so I can't tell you why they spent the whole time trying to get it. However, the story did have pacing issues but it was still packed with action that were executed well. Just don't expect too much from the ending as it is kind of anti-climatic.
The visual effects were pretty solid. They weren't the best I've seen but they were certainly not the worst. Like I previously said, Freya's ice powers were fantastically done but the same can't be said for the goblins in the forest - they weren't awful but the weird creatures were once again far fetched and hard to believe. The evil powers that Ravenna develops with her tentacles were done well also. Overall, I would say that the visual effects are solid and definitely don't lessen the quality of the film.
The Huntsman: Winter's War is mostly a satisfying second entry that we ultimately didn't really need (even though I loved Snow White & The Huntsman and wanted a sequel myself). The film is acted very well - Emily Blunt is fantastic as she plays a fantastic character who I wish didn't see the fate that she did. Theron is underused and Hemsworth's accent is as wobbly as before. However, the same can't be said for Chastain who plays a fantastic
Merida I mean Sara. The visual effects are solid and the plot is a little too complex. Overall, The Huntsman: Winter's War is a solid sequel but melts with an underwhelming final battle.
What did you think of THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER'S WAR? Do you think they successfully pull off live action versions of Frozen & Brave? - COMMENT BELOW
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