Review: The Huntsman: Winter’s War (Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, 2016)

The world of Hollywood sequels can be a curious place, specifically when it comes to a type I call a “Wait, what?” sequel. You know the kind: when a big budget sequel pops up a few years after a predecessor that was financially successful but either left little to no actual footprint in pop culture, steadily became reviled, or just inspired little to no passionate devotion; a film that made a decent amount of money on its opening weekend, and maybe a little bit after that, just because it was something to see that was in saturation release while little else on offer appealed. So Hollywood makes a sequel because the first film made money, despite the fact that there doesn’t really seem to be an actual fanbase out there. Examples of wait-what sequels in the last few years include Wrath of the Titans and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, while this summer’s Alice Through the Looking Glass is the next notable one to come.

Arguably the biggest wait-what sequel of 2016 — aside from the already been and gone London Has Fallen — is The Huntsman: Winter’s War, a sequel and semi-prequel to 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman. Making nearly $400 million worldwide but inspiring little critical love, the only real footprint the first film left on pop culture was in the gossip columns, regarding an affair Kristen Stewart apparently had with director Rupert Sanders. And so Stewart has, rather suspiciously, been dropped from the follow-up, as has the actual character of Snow White, beyond occasional references to her being ill or how she’s off doing something as queen of her new kingdom and can’t answer the phone right now so please leave a message. There’s even a baffling, short moment where we see Snow White for the only time in the film, except it’s in a way so that whoever is actually playing her is completely obscured, and all she does is scream at a magic mirror. The sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman effectively turns Snow White into Keyser Söze. And that’s weird, right? That’s so weird…

Full review for Vague Visages

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