Maleficent

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

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Critic Reviews

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Reviewed by: Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
    May 29, 2014
    58
    More well-intentioned than accomplished.
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 50
    Impressive. And violent. Just not a lot of fun.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    May 29, 2014
    40
    This icon of witchcraft can't save a production that's suffocatingly elaborate yet insufficiently bewitching.
  21. 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.
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 576 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 88 out of 154
  2. Negative: 24 out of 154
  1. 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.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 »
  2. 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 lowYou 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 »
  3. May 30, 2014
    3
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Jolie is fantastic as Maleficent but this movie doesn't know what it's doing with itself. The plot is all over the place. Stick to an idea and go for it. The "Sleeping Beauty" is asleep for all of 5mins in this movie. Ellie Fanning who plays Aurora is terrible in this too. A noble attempt to come at a classic from a different angle but it ultimately falls flat on its face. Full Review »