Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 17% (Critics) / 50% (Audience)
Directed By: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Written By: Craig Mazin and Evan Spiliotopoulos
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron
Studio: Universal Pictures
Synopsis: As a war between rival queen sisters Ravenna and Freya escalates, Eric and fellow warrior Sara, members of the Huntsmen army raised to protect Freya, try to conceal their forbidden love as they combat Ravenna’s wicked intentions. – (Source)
Charlize Theron still delightfully chews scenery like a rabid beaver in her role as the Evil Queen and Hemsford has perfected playing the charming lunkhead hero. And while my criticism of using movie magic to make normal height actors into dwarves still stands, I do have to admit to finding the actors who played the dwarves in this film (Nick Frost, Rob Brydon, Sheridan Smith and Alexandra Roach) to be delightful comic relief.
And the absence of Kristen Stewart can only be seen as a plus.
The decision to make this film into some bizarre combination of prequel and sequel ultimately ended up making what was already a pretty weak story just completely fall apart. I think there was a pretty nifty story to tell about the fractured relationship between magical sisters Ravenna and Freya, showing in much more detail how they went from loving sisters to mortal enemies. Also Freya’s twisted recruitment of child soldiers and banishment of all love in her kingdom was intriguing. Shifting to a continuation of the first film took much of the potential wind out of this film’s sails and boiled the two Queens interaction down to multiple costume changes into snazzy Bob Mackie gowns.
And shunting Charlize Theron off to the side for the majority of the film didn’t do much to help matters either. As much as I like Emily Blunt as an actress her performance here was a total miss. She totally neglected to play into the campiness of her character which was a shame.
How two pretty people like Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain could manage to generate so little romantic heat is more astounding than any of the CGI generated wonders this film delivered. The romance between these two never seemed convincing to me.
Final Verdict: A perfectly serviceable effects heavy action-adventure that plays like an extended episode of one of those syndicated fantasy shows from the 1990s/2000s (LEGENDS OF THE SEEKER with an massive Hollywood budget) but never really rises above the level of mildly entertaining. But at least there was no Kristen Stewart anywhere in sight.