Rating: 3.5 of 5
I really, really wanted to love Huntsman: Winter’s War. Really. Like one of my new favorite movies kind of love.
It’s fantasy action adventure which is like my perfect genre. It’s pretty and well made. It has an AMAZING song in the trailer (and I love good trailers). I wanted it to be as good as that song. As exciting. As full of passion and danger and fearlessness. It is full of interesting female characters who drive the story. And it stars Chris Hemsworth!
How is this not one of the best movies ever made?
Because it isn’t. And you have to temper everything I say against everything I wanted it to be because it’s probably not nearly as disappointing as it feels right now. I’ll probably watch it again and enjoy it quite a bit. I’ll probably turn to it when I need a good fantasy action adventure because there aren’t nearly enough of those types of films.
The things that went well are the things you expect. It’s pretty. And there’s lots of action with plenty of good fight scenes of both the magical and hand-to-hand variety.
It’s funny, which I wasn’t expecting. Chris Hemsworth is in it and it’s interesting to see different dimensions to his character. Jessica Chastain is as good as you expect her to be (which is quite good).
Emily Blunt (who has a good performance) has weird headdresses. I get that they were going for the owl look, but they didn’t look good on her. They could have done something so much better.
Charlize Theron (who was one of my favorite parts of the first Huntsman) didn’t really have much to do and so, while she gave a good performance, her character wasn’t as nuanced or interesting.
Mostly though, the thing that was missing was from this film was energy and passion. Better music in key scenes would have helped tremendously. Grounding it even more in the characters would have helped too. It’s the energy in the trailer of attacking these evil queens – the passion of charging in when you know you’re outmatched – the excitement of love that drives you, gives you focus and power – the inevitable battle you face with all you’ve got… That was what was missing, that sense that every piece of this story takes all they’ve got. That’s what I was looking for. And it’s not that there isn’t any, it’s that there wasn’t enough
The fantastic thing about this movie, though, is that it features a lot of interesting, powerful women. That the story is driven by these women – kingdoms rise and fall in their hands. They aren’t outnumbered by the men. They aren’t dismissed or reduced to objects of desire, sidelined just enough to cheer for the hero as he gets things done. Each one moves this story in her own way.
It’s what makes this an interesting movie despite it’s flaws (and most movies have some flaw or other). It’s what makes it exciting and inspirational.
There should be more movies like this. Winter’s War should make so much money that people keep making Huntsman movies; keep making interesting movies about dimensional women. And if they happen to be fairy tale action movies, all the better.