* * C
The sequel to “Snow White and the Huntsman”, the Huntsman: Winter’s War is a bit of a mixed bag. The film begins with the origin story of the huntsman (Chris “Thor” Hemsworth) which is the weak act of the film, particularly suffering from over narration (by Liam Neeson, no less). In it, we are introduced to the evil queen Ravenna’s younger sister Freya (Emily “Rita” Blunt) and Sara (Jessica Chastain).
After the film jumps forward in time to follow the events of the previous film, it picks up. Snow White (not appearing in this film) has lost the magic mirror, and calls on the huntsman to retrieve it lest its evil fall into the wrong hands. The huntsman, accompanied by dwarves Nion (Nick Frost) and Gryff (Rob Brydon), sets off after men who had been carrying the mirror to safety. Joined by Sara and two more dwarves, he secures the mirror.
In the third act, Freya seizes the mirror, along with Nion, Doreena (Alexandra Roach), and Sara, and the huntsman, accompanied by and Gryff and Mrs. Bromwyn (Sheridan Smith) sets off to rescue them. In the climatic conclusion, the huntsman must contend with Freya and her minions and the evil power of the magic mirror.
This sequel is inferior to the first film. I found the character of Sara to be somewhat poorly written. Hemsworth was likable as the huntsman, and the dwarvish comic relief really picked up with the introduction of Mrs. Bromwyn. The story also introduced some interesting creatures, including goblins. Aside from the painful first act, it was fairly entertaining.