Maleficent: Mistress of Evil review – Michelle Pfeiffer makes fairies go boom

Pfeiffer’s mean queen and a very weird multicultural fairy haven are amongst the passing pleasures of Disney’s generally bombastic Angelina Jolie sequel.


Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrid in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrid in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Whereas Maleficent (2014) was a reimagining of Sleeping Beauty that celebrated the independent, feminine characteristics typically associated with witches, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is mostly a VFX-heavy, world-building explode-a-thon. That isn’t to say there aren’t many pleasures to behold, notably Michelle Pfeiffer’s nasty, bejewelled Queen Ingrith, who – being prejudiced against all magical types – frames dark fairy Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) for cursing the king.

Shot down by the queen’s henchwoman, Maleficent is rescued and taken to recover in a land where other dark fay live hidden from humans. This mysterious haven freely blends African, Central/South American and Asian tribal elements, in a type of multicultural orientalism. Taking in the weirdness of this place is fun in the same way that it is fascinating to really look at the digitally exaggerated features of Jolie’s face.

Some of the dark fay want to kill all humans, and luckily for them, Ingrith is ready for a fight – she’s assembled an arsenal to wipe out anything magical. The epic battle between the people of Maleficent’s moorfolk, the dark fay and humans lasts for the final third of the film, with lots of near misses, screaming and surprise twists. In other words, it’s extremely repetitive.


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