Film Review: The Huntsman: Winter’s War (M) (US, 2016)

Mirror, mirror on the wall, what’s the best fairytale retelling of them all? The Huntsman: Winter’s War might not be – but at least it’s an improvement on Snow White & the Huntsman.

Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as Eric/The Huntsman who’s given more depth and yes, a sad story in which most of his life has been entangled with his nemesis the Evil Queen’s (Charlize Theron) ice-wielding sister Freya (Emily Blunt), the Ice Queen. She raised (well, kidnapped) him along with several others to be her trained warriors and “children” to fill the void that was created by betrayal and love.

Her one rule is: never fall in love. But Eric and fellow warrior Sara (Jessica Chastain) do. Freya manipulates them, turning their love into betrayal and on top of that, she craves for more power and sets them to find the haunting mirror owned by her sister, leading to consequences.

The film has a stronger and solid plot than its prequel. Characters, especially the returning Huntsman and even the Evil Queen, are properly fleshed-out and not a single moment is wasted. Almost every scene has a reveal or turning point, raising the stakes higher.

Some of the dialogue needed work with characters occasionally sounding out of place. The comedic lines were funny but soon became an annoyance as they took the focus away from the drama.

Emily Blunt as the Ice Queen was surprisingly spectacular. She was able to bring a high level of complexity to the character, showing her hurt, longing and coldness the war has brought out in her.

While the ending did feel like a typical fairytale with the characters living “happily ever after”, this was slightly at odds with the rest of the film – which was often quite dark and serious. Overall, The Huntsman: Winter’s War is an enjoyable ride of a film.

Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

The Huntsman: Winter’s War releases in cinemas on the 7th of April.