A Bitter Disappointment | Review of ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’

By Cynthia Ayala

The Huntsman: Winter’s War starring Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain
Universal PictureS
Image Credit: IMDB

As a war between rival queen sisters Ravenna and Freya escalates, Eric and fellow warrior Sara, members of the Huntsmen army raised to protect Freya, try to conceal their forbidden love as they combat Ravenna’s wicked intentions.


This movie had so much potential, but all of it went down the drain. At first look, it seems like a great move for Universal to distance itself from Stewart and the director Rupert Sanders of the previous film because some bad press is bad press. That scandal hurt sales, everyone knows it, and it did not receive many great reviews, probably the biggest fault in the previous was the story which wasn’t praised. This film, while written by different people, suffers that same problem.

It is such a thin story. It exists, there is something tangible that holds this film together, but as a whole, it’s rather sloppy and the Queen’s themselves, Theron and Blunt, they don’t get enough screen time as they should have to bring this film to life in a cohesive manner. Winter’s War
recaps the Huntsman past and gives the origins of the Ice Queen, Freya, (Emily Blunt), that itself leads to some discrepancies regarding the Huntsman’s role in the previous film, but the biggest problem here is it takes too long. The film moves at a snail’s pace. It takes about an hour and more to get to the damnable evil mirror before it finally speeds up, and brings back the evil queen, Ravenna (Charlize Theron) who gave an incredible performance. Theron and Blunt have a powerful dynamic in this film, and as evil queens, they are very different, giving their characters different strengths and weaknesses. However, they were hardly in the movie. All of Theron’s screen time is in the various trailers, adding up to about 20 to 25 minutes of the film. There should have been more of her; there should have been more of the Queen’s, in general, to give the story an actual storyline that doesn’t fall apart at the seams. Yes, the movie is about the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and yeah, he was funny, he gave an excellent performance alongside Jessica Chastain, who was also great to watch, but their story, their forbidden love story, it was neither unique nor powerful.

This movie feels empty, insubstantial in its story making. It almost feels as if the writers just wanted to capitalize on the Frozen popularity while it is still high. Once Upon a Time did that, but they were successful because they wrote a story not just around Elsa but also the original Snow Queen. Given all the material out there on the Snow Queen, the writers at least got her character right, but that’s it, even a great performance by Blunt cannot save the character from an empty storyline. She wants to control; she wants power, and she wants to dominate? Her motivation doesn’t reflect her pain or explain her actions, stealing kids does, but waging war doesn’t. Moreover, her reasoning for wanting the mirror is unclear. Does she want it for its power? Does she want it because it once belonged to her sister? Clear motivation is lacking in this story, and with two evil queens, it should have been action packed, it should have been captivating and enthralling, but the story is a mess. The only thing that moves throughout the film is the fact that Hemsworth needs to get the mirror away from the Queen and destroy it.

With so much potential and renowned actors, this movie could have been something great instead of the bitter disappointment that it was. (★☆☆☆ | D)

—Film Credits—

Directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan

Screenplay by Evan Spiliotopoulos & Craig Mazin

Based on Characters by Evan Daugherty; The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen; Snow White by The Brothers Grimm

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, Nick Frost, Rob Brydon, Sheridan Smith, Alexandra Roach, Sope Dirisu, Sam Hazeldine, Sam Claflin & Sophie Cookson

Narrated by Liam Neeson

Genre | Length | Rating: ActionAdventureDramaFantasy | 1 hr 54 min | PG-13

Distributed by Universal Pictures

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