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Movie Review: The Huntsman: Winter's War (Spoiler Free)

Updated on April 26, 2016

Spoiler Free

I'm...gonna guess that you've seen the trailers if you're even remotely interested in this film. That being said, , the trailers pretty strongly spoil the biggest plot points of the film so...there you go. I won't be going out of my way to spoil it further, if at all.

A film poster for the movie
A film poster for the movie | Source

Initial Impressions

Well, I didn't expect much. I read a review on it that describe it being so bad it was good. Instead, I got something that was more...basically just vanilla bad. It misses a lot of comedic beats and focuses on some aspects more than others, but it's never bad enough to be laughable even in its worst parts. You may give a chuckle here or there or be impressed with a non-stinky twist, but you'll leave this theater underwhelmed if you so dare pay for a ticket. Watch it on the Syfy channel whenever it comes out.

But watch the important bits then, because man, the art direction of this film (like the one before it) is undeniable good.

Emily Blunt as Queen Freyya
Emily Blunt as Queen Freyya | Source

The Plot

In a nutshell, this is a prequel and a sequel at the same time. The first 30 minutes takes place in the past before Snow White and the Huntsman. It shows the origin of the 'Huntsmen,' as well as introducing the audience to Jessica Chastain's character (Sera, I think?) and Queen Freyya (who feels shoehorned into the series' history but whatever, Evil Elsa it is). After explaining what happened to cause the two magical sisters (both queens) to split and Erik (Hemsworth) to lose his wife, the rest of the film revolves around obtaining and safely securing the magical mirror that gave Revanna (Theron) so much power in the original flick.

Erik is joined by two dwarves (because more Nick Frost can most certainly be a good thing) and a world of brilliant computer animated fairy tale creatures, with a gorgeously detail costumed set. Honest to goodness, the art direction should always be this series' main selling point.

Also, we see the back of Snow White's head once (maybe twice) so Kristen Stewart makes no appearance, probably for the better.

The Performance

There is so much camp. So much. Theron is brilliant in that regard and chews the scene more so than anyone else would/should dare. You either like it, or can't stand it. There is so much chewing.

As you may guess (since she died in the original film but you see her quite a bit in the trailers), she's not around all the time, but when she is everyone benefits. Blunt's Evil Elsa feels largely uninspired (and complains about the concept of Love with 110% of her dialogue), but doesn't feel alive until then.

Chris Hemsworth should only always be smiling like a big old goofball because you can't help to laugh. At him or for him? I have not the faintest clue. The dwarves are pretty uninspired and the movie loves comparing them to children (which got old the first time they complained the other half of their gender was 'unattractive' or had the cooties). Jessica Chastain did pretty well, but all in all was actually pretty forgettable. Then again, when you have Theron chewing everything in sight, you'd forget Chastain too.

Charlize Theron comes back, and she continues to gobble up every scene she touches
Charlize Theron comes back, and she continues to gobble up every scene she touches | Source

The Choreography/Action

This is a mixed bag. There are some nice pieces here and there (epitomized when Hemsworth slams the horn-headed goblin into the ground), but a lot of the human vs human fighting is done in quick clips, not allowing a proper fight to be viewed, only singular moves. Even with a lot of the Queens' magic, it will be cast in one shot, shown connecting in the next shot, before immediately moving on. There seems little faith in the actual planned movements of fight scenes, resorting to a lot of Hemsworth spinning his hatchets around which doesn't look bad, but there's no way it's remarkable.

PG-13

It's mostly dark in undertone without any real damage being shown. A baby is burned in its crib offscreen (as you can gather from the trailers) and children are turned into an army. There is a fair amount of action, but killshots are few and far between when a lot of non-bleeding bodies are lying about on the floor.

Someone says "Kiss my Ass" and "Bitch-Queen." Then again, if you're worried about those words, you probably shouldn't bring your kids to something with the above mentioned dark material. Also, you probably shouldn't see this in theaters.

So Many Spoilers in their Main Trailers. Dissppoint

Closing Thoughts

As someone who greatly enjoys seeing films in theaters, I often even enjoying seeing a film I don't think I'll like. It will help me enjoy the films that I do like that much more.

However, while I hoped this would be much more of a stinker, one so bad I can enjoy for all the wrong reasons, I was kinda weirdly disappointed. It's more meh than it is laugh-out-loud-bad. Maybe I should've waited for Angry Birds.

Watch it when it comes on your already paid for channels or whenever you can when it's free. Also, don't rush yourself to see it, either.

Tl;dr

  • Spaced around Snow White and the Huntsman time-wise
  • No Kristen Stewart, more scenery chewing
  • Continued gorgeous and inventive visuals
  • Meh everything else
  • Don't pay to watch this (unless you're a big fan of the first one, I guess)

Hemsworth is at his best whenever he grins like an idiot, and he does that quite a bit more in this film
Hemsworth is at his best whenever he grins like an idiot, and he does that quite a bit more in this film | Source

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