Visual inventiveness and spectacular casting can’t quite salvage a muddled fantasy epic that, if it were a magic mirror, would be held together with gaffer tape.
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All told, ‘Winter’s War’ is not the fairest sequel, but it’s not so terrible that it deserves to be taken out to the forest and finished off.
If judged by fluid effects work, Atwood’s stunning costumes, and the fun of watching Theron and Blunt reach new heights of arch camp, The Huntsman: Winter’s War is a triumph. By any other measure, though, it’s a far more qualified prospect
The sheer abundance of on-screen ornamentation isn’t quite enough to make The Huntsman: Winter’s War a beautiful film.... Still, it’s one that has been exhaustively designed by many hands — which only further shows up its inelegant patchwork in the writing department.
With a wraparound narrative that never really strikes a balance between past and present, all that axe-flinging, ice-casting action makes a modest impact.
In many ways this is an adult Frozen with Gothic sensibilities by way of The Lord Of The Rings, making for a derivative pastiche of the past two decades' cinematic fantasy offerings.
It’s passably entertaining, and like the last one breathtakingly crafted, especially Colleen Atwood’s microscopically detailed costumes.
There’s very little in The Huntsman: Winter's War itself that is actively bad. Compared to some of its blockbuster rivals, it’s reasonably watchable, never offensive, and mostly coherent.
It really is a nuclear war of dullness.