First, the pluses.
- Visuals. It is absolutely STUNNING. Everything about the way it looks takes your breath away. There will be tech nominations come Oscar time, for sure.
- Angelina Jolie. Easily the strongest performance in the whole movie. By miles and miles. She nailed the regal, eerie stillness to the role that was in the cartoon. Because of that, all of her emoting is done in her eyes, and it's fantastic.
The reasons I didn't love it.
- Sharlto Copley. He plays Stefan, for those haven't seen the movie yet. HATED his performance. From almost the moment he was introduced. And it's not that I hated his character. I never believed his character, so hating it was impossible. But I never bought for a second that this weasely twerp could be either the young lover or the formidable king. Every time he came onscreen, I would find myself wondering why they cast him, who they could've cast differently, internally whining about how awful he was. And don't get me started on how Maleficent could ever fall for him in the first place (yes, yes, I've already had to listen to my family's arguments about how sheltered she was, how much she needed his attention, etc. I still don't buy it.)
- All the logic holes. I know it's a Disney movie. I know it's a fairy tale. But because I wasn't emotionally engaged half the time (every time Stefan was onscreen), my mind would go straight to holes in the plot. Like how in hell Stefan remained king for so long when it was clear he hadn't neutralized Maleficent at all and in fact made her stronger because of her anger. Or the back and forth nature of Maleficent's powers.
- Imelda Staunton. I love the actress, but honestly, you really can't put her in pink anymore. Or have her character defined by the color pink. Alicia hated the fairies straight away because of her. In her words, "When she's in pink, she's Umbridge, and that's the only character everyone agrees on that they hate from Harry Potter."
- The lack of power in the ending. It's far too obvious, and I couldn't help rolling my eyes when I realized what they were going for. Yes, it's nice to redefine true love, but so close on the heels of Frozen, it lost its impact for me.
Still, for the visuals and Jolie alone, people should see it. It's important that movies that female leads have strong box offices, too, so that we can continue to break down some of the walls in Hollywood. And odds are, you'll like it more than I did. Literally every person I've talked to since seeing it has liked it more. Some of these bugaboos could be completely on me.