Angelina Jolie’s latest turn as Maleficent is basically here as showings are already underway in some parts of America. However, the sequel to Maleficent is having a bit of a rough time on Rotten Tomatoes to start out. A staggering 43% freshness rating from critics is a lot to comprehend. But, in fairness, a lot of people were really surprised when the original film did as well as it did. Then, word of the sequel was an eyebrow-raiser for some as they wondered where the story had left to go following the first film’s conclusion. But, Jolie is back to steal the show and put in some more action work before next year’s Marvel Studios feature, The Eternals.
Now, when the starting score for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was actually leaning in this direction from the jump. In the beginning, there were about 24 total reviews available. Nine of them were positive and balanced against 15 negative takes on the sequel. That right there is good for a 38% on the old Tomatometer. A strange through-line of consensus emerged in those early takes on the film. Jolie is absolutely crushing it as the title character, but the plot could have probably used some work. This has been a bit of a common concern for reviewers lately and has pushed them into disconnect with their audiences as the differences in tastes really come to the forefront.
Narrative issues came into sharp focus when looking at the available reviews and the overviews on Rotten Tomatoes echo that sentiment now. Reviewers feel like the cast is carrying this story and people were kind of just tired of the entire exercise. Remember, earlier this year, The Lion King harbored some of the same criticisms en route to absolutely dominating at the box office. Will this time be similar? The odds are against that as Lion King was a remake of a beloved film that released during the Disney Renaissance that crested in the 90s. Audience score told the other side of the story for that live-action film, and that isn’t available for Maleficent just yet.
Audiences couldn’t get enough of that remake as an 88% hung on the aggregation site for all to see. For example, the original Maleficent hovered around 53% in critics score while audiences had it all the way up around 70%. The sequel will probably continue that trend as people look for something a little whimsical around Halloween at the theater. Read our full review of the film for our take on the sequel.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is being directed by Joachim Rønning from a story by Linda Woolverton and a screenplay by Linda Woolverton and Micah Fitzerman-Blue & Noah Harpster, the film is produced by Joe Roth, Angelina Jolie and Duncan Henderson with Matt Smith, Jeff Kirschenbaum and Michael Vieira serving as executive producers.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil flies into theaters on October 18th.