The Huntsman: The Winter’s War is a sequel/prequel to a movie I barely remember. There were two Snow White movies in close proximity to each other, and I preferred the other one (Mirror Mirror) because despite the lower budget, the characters and events were more entertaining. I’m not doing spoilers, but this movie has a lot of back story so let’s go.
So Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) from the first movie had a sister all along, whose name is Freya (Emily Blunt). The Queen doesn’t believe in love and Freya wants to prove her wrong by falling in love. So she falls in love, but the guy burns part of the castle and kills the queen, but the killing part isn’t made clear until later on in the movie. Maybe it was clear to other people, and maybe they said that and I wasn’t paying attention, but all I saw was that the guy burnt part of the castle and I was like “huh?” They could have told that part better.
Anyway Freya runs off to the North and makes her own kingdom and turns it into a land of ice, because she has ice powers somehow. Maybe she should have been called Froyo. She puts in a law that makes it illegal to fall in love. She kidnaps children and raises them to become her army. They grow up and two of them fall in love. One of them being the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and the other is Sara (Jessica Chastain) who gets killed early on because Freya finds out via one of her owl spies and creates an ice wall between them. The Huntsman (Who is called Eric during informal events) has no choice but to watch one of Freya’s soldiers kill Sara.
Finally we get to the bit after the first movie. The Magic Mirror that Snow White now has has been stolen, and she sends the Huntsman to get it back. She sends a couple of Dwarves with him. Maybe she should have kidnapped children and raised them to become her army. I know it’s not heroic, but it’s still better than sending out a couple of dwarves. They also meet a couple more dwarves, but these ones are women.
Chris Hemsworth is good as The Huntsman, the dwarves are entertaining even if they just serve as characters for the Huntsman to talk to. There’s a line about female dwarves being ugly that doesn’t have anything to do with the rest of the movie. It could have been used as character development, but it isn’t. Freya just looks glum throughout.
Kristen Stewart does not appear as Snow White in this movie. She’s referred to several times, and she’s the one who sends the Huntsman on his quest. I think we even see the back of Snow White at one point. But Snow White is not in this movie, and it really needed her. If they were going to have somebody play her back half, then they should have had someone play her front half as well. Preferably the same person both sides. It feels weird to have people talk about her and then have her not show up.
The mirror is supposed to be important. We know that the mirror can tell you things, but we are aware that it can do something else because we see the effect it can cause. We don’t find out what that something else is until later, but it’s not presented to us in an interesting way. The creatures that guard the mirror, they are foreshadowed in an earlier line but we don’t know anything about them other than what we initially see, then they disappear for the rest of the movie. It should be an important scene but we aren’t given a reason to care or feel excited and so I felt bored.
The twist near the end, while silly, does mean that there is some reason to feel invested at the end. This movie is ok, the characters are entertaining, but most of the plot isn’t. I’ll give it a 5/10 because while there is nothing I can hate about it, it should have been better.