The Huntsman: Winter’s War, directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, is a prequel-sequel to 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman. The film sees the return of Chris Hemsworth (Thor, In The Heart of the Sea) and Charlize Theron (Monster, Mad Max: Fury Road) as Eric and Ravenna, while introducing new characters like Sara (Jessica Chastain) and Ravana’s sister, Freya (Emily Blunt).
The story continues the fantasy world set in the 2012 film while attempting to draw distance from it, partially due to the infamous scandal between the film’s main star, Kristen Stewart, and the director, Rupert Sanders. Helmed by a new director and an almost-new cast, Winter’s War details the time before Ravenna’s rise to power to focus on the backstory to the Huntsman, who takes center stage this time round, and the new-old threat, Freya the Ice Queen. With added elements of comedy in the mix, the story is much more entertaining than its predecessor.
While the plot of the film offers nothing new to the table, the new cast do offer much more for the audience to enjoy. Seeing three notable femme fatales from the sci-fi genre is appalling. Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow, Sicario) as another ruthless queen is one of the best introduction to the franchise. As most people would agree: “a film is only as good as its villain”. Drawing inspiration from the classic Snow Queen folklore while attempting to distance from the goody-two-shoes Disney version, Blunt’s Freya stands tall with the villainy set by Theron’s character from the previous film. Theron, on the other hand, continues to show how great her talents could be. Elegant yet all dark inside, Theron delivers yet another marvellous portrayal of Ravenna, giving reason to why the director chose to bring her back in another installment of the franchise.
Jessica Chastain (Interstellar, The Martian), the newcomer of the franchise, does not disappoint too much for the viewers. Although, one might find her Scottish accent to be a little too distracting to her otherwise-enjoyable performance.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War is the studio’s efforts to cover its tracks back to the predecessor’s scandal, and with the help of the returning cast and new, this is proving effective. With an enjoyable story and magnificent cast, viewers might just forget this is a sequel to a previous film.