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The resplendent cheese factor of The Huntsman & why you’ll love it

To date, most reviews I’ve seen on The Huntsman: Winter’s War have been written for more mainstream sites and they’ve been pretty “meh”. However, considering I flailed when I heard about the sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, I wasn’t discouraged and went to a screening and Q & A with Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, and Jessica Chastain this weekend.
My take? If you’re a fantasy-loving moviegoer who’s a fan of ladies being badass both physically and mentally and liked Snow White and the Huntsman, you’re going to likeThe Huntsman: Winter’s War because The Huntsman takes all of the elements you loved about the first film and serves them up in super-sized portions.

Loved Charlize Theron being a maniacally beautiful, scenery chewing evil queen with amazing clothes? Now you get Emily Blunt as an equally maniacally beautiful, scenery chewing evil queen with some sibling rivalry and emotional depth thrown in.

Loved Snow White fighting her own battles but maybe weren’t as thrilled by Kristen Stewart’s performance? Jessica Chastain brings both the fighting and acting chops to the game. If you had any doubts, you’ll love her in the role, be genuinely impressed, and hope she gets another action role (which Chastain would also like as she mentioned in the Q & A).

Loved Chris Hemsworth as the titular hero who managed to both avoid Hero tropes and be likable? He’s back bringing the humor, beefcake, and badassery –– and gets action in more ways than one.

Nick Frost is back and palling around with Rob Brydon. Rounding out the Dwarven quotient are Sheridan Smith as the hilarious Mrs. Bromwyn and Alexandra Roach as Doreena. The four of them are seriously perfection and I want a road trip buddy film with their characters, like, yesterday.

The real star of this movie, however, is the costuming of Oscar winner Colleen Atwood. Atwood’s costumes are a character unto themselves and there wasn’t a time either Ravenna or Freya appeared that I wasn’t immediately transfixed by whatever they were wearing. Blunt’s costumes, in particular, are extraordinary in both the look and sound of them. Atwood may be more recently known for the costumes for DCTV’s ArrowThe Flash, and Supergirl, but she’s at her best when she can dive in and explore the grandeur of her creations. As Theron joked during the Q & A, Atwood will happily dismiss any actor’s complaints about wearing the damn things with the fact that she’s won “7000 Oscars” and no one argued.

All of that said, there are some issues with the film. The pacing needs work. The 1 hour, 54-minute running time could have lost about 20 minutes easily. The tendency to reference certain story elements two, three, even four times –– “PAY ATTENTION TO THIS IT’S IMPORTANT” –– wasn’t necessary.

Hemsworth’s accent slipped enough times that I missed an entire line due to mush mouth and both he and Chastain came dangerously close to that Scottish/Irish mix that isn’t a real thing but happens all the time in acting class. I cannae tell ye how frustratin’ tha’ can be, Luv.

Still, whatever flaws this film has, it knows what it is and embraces it wholeheartedly. Emily Blunt is a true standout in the film and I’m as jealous as Charlize was that she got to ride one of the coolest bears ever. Blunt is masterful at embodying all of the things ice can be – cold, unyielding, beautiful, even fragile and always subject to change depending on the forces brought to bear against it.

Bottom line, The Huntsman: Winter’s War is a fairy tale for little girls who’ve grown up to be self-rescuing princesses and the boys who know what being a true hero means.