It’s been five years since Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) crowned Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) queen of the Moors. Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson) has proposed to Aurora, much to Maleficent’s displeasure. The princess and Maleficent are invited to a dinner with Philip and his parents, Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) and King John (Robert Lindsay) but it all goes horribly wrong and Maleficent loses her temper. Little does everyone know that Maleficent is right to be suspicious, for Queen Ingrith is hatching an evil plan. Meanwhile our titular anti-hero meets her own kind, the dark fae.
While the 2014 ‘Maleficent’ movie offered a fresh and surprisingly heart-warming retelling of Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’, no one expected it to have a sequel. For their efforts, the House of Mouse have hired Joachim Rønning, who previously directed ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’, for the job and as with that movie, this one doesn't do much to warrant its need to exist.
Characterisation wise, there’s little of appeal, with Aurora having become this self-entitled brat while Pfeiffer is a good addition but essentially gives a half-arsed version of what we already saw in ‘Stardust’. Maleficent is more inconsistent to her name than ever, and while you’re aware that the whole idea is she has changed her ways following the events of the first ‘Maleficent’ film, she maintains a stony, stubborn attitude that, as with Aurora, comes across as immature and grouchy. Why give the subtitle ‘Mistress of Evil’ unless she’s actually going to be evil?
There are some enjoyable aspects to the film such as the fantastical, magical design of the forest and its creatures, which are more expansive than the first film. The world of the dark fae also has an attractive design while the big epic battle that concludes proceedings provides some highlights. However, the film is too long at two hours in running time and there are a lot of plot points that make no sense, including how the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ spinning needle is used for several convenient developments. While fans will find it a pleasant return to the world and characters of ‘Maleficent’, there's little on offer for audiences who aren’t fans. Above all, and it calls for repetition, it’s an entirely unnecessary movie.