Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 44
  2. Negative: 4 out of 44
  1. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    May 29, 2014
    83
    Yet nothing in their visually stimulating film registers as strongly as Jolie’s enigmatic, ever-changing face.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    May 29, 2014
    80
    Angelina Jolie is so wickedly enchanting in the magical, magnificent Maleficent, you may not notice how transporting this female-driven blockbuster really is.
  3. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    May 28, 2014
    80
    A few bumpy patches notwithstanding, the new feature is an exquisitely designed, emotionally absorbing work of dark enchantment.
  4. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    May 31, 2014
    75
    A moderately enchanting, sometimes thought-provoking corrective to the flaws in the story that inspired it.
  5. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    May 30, 2014
    75
    Jolie's Maleficent is magnificent.
  6. Reviewed by: Kate Taylor
    May 29, 2014
    75
    In truth, you just can’t wait until the wicked Jolie returns to the screen. Whether a malevolent twinkle illuminates her beady eye or a heartbreaking tear rolls down her alabaster cheek, she is the film’s power.
  7. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    May 29, 2014
    75
    Calling Maleficent a "modern-day classic," as some have asserted, is overreaching. The production is engaging and appealing but only the passage of time will determine whether it holds in the memory with the strength of its animated predecessor.
  8. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    May 29, 2014
    75
    The movie is a mess, but it's a rich mess. It has weight. It matters.
  9. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    May 29, 2014
    75
    Maleficent imparts a feeling of enchantment. Here is a world that's strange and beautiful.
  10. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    May 29, 2014
    75
    The result is a rare live-action Disney movie that merits comparison to its beloved feature-length cartoons.
  11. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    May 31, 2014
    70
    Whatever its flaws, Maleficent is a family-friendly Disney adventure that offers a relaunched and thoroughly delightful Angelina Jolie.
  12. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    May 30, 2014
    70
    This is really a movie about the evil spell Jolie casts on us — it’s both a celebration and a demonstration of her formidable movie star might.
  13. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    May 29, 2014
    70
    Though it never plays like a polemic, the film has so much it wants to say the emotional power that might have made it a classic is undercut.
  14. Reviewed by: Louis Black
    Jun 9, 2014
    67
    Imaginatively, it places all the known elements of the story in different contexts, completely recasting this familiar fairy tale into a more poignant and resonant work.
  15. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    May 29, 2014
    67
    Maleficent feels spit-balled into more directions than barely 90 minutes of story time can adequately cover. It's once upon a time, happily ever after and a lot of undeveloped drama in between.
  16. Reviewed by: Keith Staskiewicz
    May 28, 2014
    67
    The characters are boiled down to their essentials, the humor is timelessly broad, and Jolie's at her best when she's curling her claws and elongating her vowels like a black-sabbath Tallulah Bankhead.
  17. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    May 29, 2014
    63
    For all its limitations, Maleficent manages to be improbably entertaining to watch, due solely to its title character. As befits a star of her regal standing and superb self-awareness, Angelina Jolie has managed to bend even the Brothers Grimm to her indomitable will.
  18. Reviewed by: Tom Russo
    May 29, 2014
    63
    While this is Jolie’s show, obviously — and she’s terrifically arch — the surprising dearth of other compelling characters doesn’t offer much distraction when things get off track.
  19. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    May 29, 2014
    63
    This is almost entirely Angelina Jolie's show...this is a performance that goes from point A to point B without seeming rote, or ho-hum.
  20. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    May 30, 2014
    60
    Enchanting enough to cast a spell over fans, of Jolie, of Disney, of "Sleeping Beauty" -- and of pure, cinematic escapism.
  21. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    May 29, 2014
    60
    Consciously or not, coherently or not, Maleficent tells a new kind of story about how we live now, not once upon another time. And it does so by suggesting, among other things, that budding girls and older women are not natural foes, even if that’s what fairy tales, Hollywood and the world like to tell us.
  22. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    May 28, 2014
    60
    If you go into Maleficent expecting Jolie to be the badass of Sleeping Beauty, you’re going to get burned.
  23. Reviewed by: Joe Walsh
    May 28, 2014
    60
    Despite its pitfalls, Maleficent entertains because of Jolie, who holds the wavering threads of Stromberg's spinning wheel together with aplomb.
  24. Reviewed by: Alonso Duralde
    May 28, 2014
    60
    The aggressively unpleasant visuals certainly detract from the overall film, but Maleficent makes for a fascinating entry in an ongoing wave of projects that give “bad” women of literature a chance to present their side of the story.
  25. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    May 27, 2014
    60
    The action sequences are executed with rhythm and punch, and our heroine swoops and swirls around like Iron Man in a sheath dress. Maleficent may be short on true enchantment, but until we find a superhero who can pull off a black silk cocktail gown in battle, she’s very welcome.
  26. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    May 30, 2014
    58
    It’s a dazzling showcase of fantasy-based filmmaking in the 21st century that also manages a feeble attempt at injecting feminist politics into an antiquated narrative. Yet its eventual climax strains from the obviousness of these efforts.
  27. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    May 30, 2014
    58
    Director Robert Stromberg, making his debut as a director after supervising the visual effects for movies like “Alice in Wonderland” and “Avatar,” lacks the transcendent touch.
  28. Reviewed by: Drew McWeeny
    May 29, 2014
    58
    While I can see how there is a version of this film that might be able to successfully grapple with its central metaphor, I'm not sure Stromberg is the guy to make that movie.
  29. Reviewed by: Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
    May 29, 2014
    58
    More well-intentioned than accomplished.
  30. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    May 30, 2014
    50
    Jolie’s commitment to the part is admirable: She gives this Maleficent a real emotional urgency. But the rest of the movie lets her down.
  31. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    May 29, 2014
    50
    It fails to live up to its early promise, mostly because of an uneven tone and murky character development
  32. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    May 29, 2014
    50
    Maleficent is out of balance in all sorts of ways. The effective silent sequences conflict with the frustratingly talky ones. The new material fits poorly with moments that directly quote the classic.
  33. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    May 29, 2014
    50
    Jolie's performance so overshadows the rest of the cast (and the rest of the movie) that you sometimes feel as if the other characters are, like us, just standing around watching her. This is not, however, the fault of the other actors. It's the fault of screenwriter Linda Woolverton, who doesn't give them much to do that's challenging or interesting.
  34. 50
    Impressive. And violent. Just not a lot of fun.
  35. Reviewed by: Matthew Kassel
    May 28, 2014
    50
    Why tell the Sleeping Beauty story anew? With this half-hearted film, Mr. Stromberg, the visual effects wizard behind such big-budget blockbusters as "Oz the Great and Powerful," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Avatar," can’t provide an answer.
  36. Reviewed by: Andrew Barker
    May 28, 2014
    50
    Uncertain of tone, and bearing visible scarring from what one imagines were multiple rewrites, the film fails to probe the psychology of its subject or set up a satisfying alternate history, but it sure is nice to look at for 97 minutes.
  37. Reviewed by: Drew Taylor
    May 28, 2014
    42
    Maleficent desperately tries to create a character whose motivation you will understand and empathize with. But the screenplay and direction are such a tangled, thorny patch of conflicting ideas that it's hard to tell what that motivation is supposed to be.
  38. Reviewed by: Olly Richards
    Jun 2, 2014
    40
    If this tiresome yarn is the ‘true’ story of one of Disney’s most popular villains then, please, give us colourful lies and happy ignorance.
  39. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    May 29, 2014
    40
    This icon of witchcraft can't save a production that's suffocatingly elaborate yet insufficiently bewitching.
  40. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    May 27, 2014
    40
    With more actual grrrl power, Maleficent would be a bold redo. Instead, it's a beautiful snooze, a story that hints at the darkness underneath our fairy tales and tarnishes the idea of true love without quite daring to say what's really on its mind: that even the best of us might not live happily ever after.
  41. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Jun 2, 2014
    38
    Maleficent is an admittedly great-looking, sometimes creepy, often plodding and utterly unconvincing re-imagining of a famous romantic fairy tale as a female empowerment metaphor.
  42. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    May 29, 2014
    38
    Jolie comes to this party ready to bite, but the movie muzzles her. Even at 97 minutes, Maleficent is still one long, laborious slog.
  43. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    May 29, 2014
    38
    We may have all wanted to know the story behind those famed horns, but the mystery was far preferable to having Maleficent de-fanged and de-clawed in the process.
  44. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    May 30, 2014
    30
    Except for Angelina Jolie, exemplary as the fairy badmother who laid a narcotic curse on an infant princess, this pricey live-action drama is a dismaying botch.
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 373 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 77 out of 113
  2. Negative: 19 out of 113
  1. May 31, 2014
    1
    You can tell this film is directed by a visual effects person--the film is high on visual beauty (often to a superfluous degree) and very low on interesting or even logical storytelling. I would describe this film as "hilariously bad," with an emphasis on the hilarious and the bad. The audience I was sitting in at some all just let out a collective laugh (I think it was when she started floating people through the air), and after that it just went downhill, with people openly commenting on the nonsensical plot elements and heckling the characters on screen. Basically it takes elements of more successful movies (Lord of the Rings, Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, etc) and tries to replicate their successful parts in a movie that adds very little to the story of Sleeping Beauty. The beginning of the film is the most successful; I wish they had drawn out the story of Maleficent as a child--the actress who played her was quite hypnotic. Full Review »
  2. May 31, 2014
    10
    LOVE IT! I would definitely see it again. To the Top Critics: This is not American Hustle or The Wolf of Wall Street folks..THIS IS DISNEY. Treat it like a Disney movie. --- I thought they did a wonderful job recreating Maleficent! My whole family loved it. Full Review »
  3. May 30, 2014
    4
    Maleficent could have been a Disney live-action film for the ages; it has some of the right pieces. But with a weak foundation and suspect direction, it’s just another dull kid-flick to slug through, with a story like a cursed spindle, ready to prick its viewers into a deep slumber. Full Review »