The Huntsman: Winter's War takes movie goers back to events that took place prior to Snow White and the Huntsman as we see where both the Huntsman and the evil Ravenna first came to prominence. The movie sees the return of Chris Hemsworth in the title role along with Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain, Nick Frost, Rob Brydon, Sheridan Smith, Alexandra Roach, and Sam Claflin.
I wasn't overly fond of the first movie in this series so the prospect of a sequel was really not that exciting to me. Adding Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain to the mix definitely raised the bar although I was still struggling to let this film gain any momentum on my "I need to see this" meter. Yes, I do have an "I need to see this" meter, it's hanging on my wall and, no you can't see it. Anyway, I did end up seeing the film, because that's what I do, and it actually turned out to be pretty entertaining even though the first act was a struggle to get through. Basically, they take you back in time to when Ravenna (Theron) and her sister Freya (Blunt) initially have a falling out that causes turmoil and war all over the place. Freya kidnaps children and forces them into an army she calls The Huntsmen of which Eric (Hemsworth) and Sara (Chastain) become the clear leaders and the most bad ass of fighters.
During that first act, I was able to create what could be a fun drinking game where you drink when the story basically copies another Disney movie. Everything from Frozen to Brave is fair game and you would be pretty sauced up well before you would ever intend to be. After spending too much time dwelling on the money making opportunities a game like this could help me rake in, I chose to let it go and got back to writing my review. As the first act thankfully came to an end, the story returned to what I guess you could say is the current timeline or, shortly after the first film left off.
This is where things began to pick up and the real adventure began. The chemistry between Hemsworth and Chastain was great and the way they spin these character's relationship around was actually really smart. I would elaborate, but it would be very spoilery. The dwarves played by Nick Frost, Rob Brydon, Sheridan Smith, and Alexandra Roach are primarily there for comic relief and they each handle this task admirably well. Even Hemsworth gets in on the fun and everyone seems to be having a great time making this film and thankfully not taking it too seriously. The only downside at this point is that Emily Blunt for some reason just isn't very good in this role although it might be because she gets upstaged by pretty much everyone else in the film and especially by Charlize Theron who, once again, absolutely owns this role.
The Huntsman: Winter's War is a good warm up act for the summer movie season that won't completely leave you out in the cold. A decent story that starts slow and finishes strong is just enough to make for a watchable film and will probably justify adding another installment to the series.