No one asked for a follow-up to the mediocre Snow White and The Huntsman, but after earning enough cash to recoup its budget and positive reception for Charlize Theron as Queen Ravenna, producers greenlight a sequel worth 115 million.
True enough, Charlize Theron is perfect for the role. The rest of the stellar cast also do their best to sell this movie. Chris Hemsworth is charming as The Huntsman. Jessica Chastain is decent despite being the token badass female. Emily Blunt turns Freya into a relatable character by adding enough vulnerability to show a grieving mother underneath her cold exterior. Even the actors who play the dwarfs, though solely used for comic relief, didn’t phone it in.
The sequel continues to use its predecessor’s look – a fairy tale with an ornate Gothic flair – and features unique costume design, such as Ravenna’s intimidating yet elegant crowns and Freya’s ornate bodice armor. Anyone who loved the fluid visual effects of Snow White will find that there are a couple of tricks here to admire.
However, beyond these embellishments, the sequel doesn’t have anything compelling to offer to justify its existence.
The movie gives us a glimpse of Ravenna before Snow White ruined her game but provides nothing new about what we already know – she’s an evil broad preying on unsuspecting kings. Instead of trying to make a decent spin-off out of the one memorable character in the franchise, the movie chooses to focus on Eric, using the first half as an overlong backstory for the Huntsman.
The script doesn’t give him anything interesting to do and litters his path with underwritten ideas.
Eric turns from a child to an elite soldier, but the audience isn’t given anything to invest in his transformation. Affected by what they do but powerless to object, he at least has love to get by. Unfortunately, Hemsworth has no chemistry with Chastain.
The movie breezes through this origin story and makes an ungainly leap to capitalize on the best thing in this franchise – Ravenna. She aims to reclaim her domain from Snow White who couldn’t be bothered to care about the trouble in the North.
You’d think that with all the magic in this movie, there’d be at least something to distract you from its cobbled-together plot. Unfortunately, Freya and Ravenna are crippled by unimaginative action. As you may have guessed by now, the movie wraps up neatly with another hint for a third installment.
The Huntsman is indeed like a fairytale – heroes are indestructible, simplistic villains are defeated, and it’s happily ever after. But this so-called gritty revision only offers derivative tricks and Middle Earth visuals.
To be fair, this franchise has potential. It has a distinctive costume design and drama actresses that could breathe life into their characters.
Unfortunately, this studio-spearheaded movie is only a cash grab. It attempts to be a badass female-driven film but doesn’t put its talents to good use. Essentially, it’s an undercooked potboiler with scraps from better fantasy epics.
The Huntsman: Winter's War
The Huntsman: Winter's War is an unnecessary sequel with a jumbled plot, generic action, and negligible characters.