Movie Review: The Huntsman: Winter’s War

The Huntsman: Winter’s War Trailer

The Huntsman: Winter’s War Summary

Evil sorceress Queen Ravenna’s powers allow her to know that her younger sister Freya, whose powers have not yet emerged, is not only involved in an illicit affair with nobleman Andrew, but is also pregnant with his child. Freya gives birth to a baby girl, but later discovers that Andrew has murdered their child. In grief-fueled rage, her broken heart freezes over and she kills him with her sudden emergence of powers – the elemental control of ice.

Freya leaves, building herself a new kingdom in the icy north. Ruling as the much-feared Ice Queen, she orders parents to be killed and their children to be abducted and brought to her castle so they can be trained to be an army of huntsmen to conquer for her, and she teaches them to avoid the pain of love that she suffered. Despite the training, two of her best huntsmen, Eric and Sara, fall in love. Sara claims Eric in “marriage” by giving him her mother’s medallion necklace. They plan to escape to a free life together but are discovered by Freya. Sara is apparently killed while Eric is beaten and thrown into a river.

Seven years later, after Ravenna’s death (in the first film), Queen Snow White falls ill after hearing Ravenna’s Magic Mirror beckon her. Because of its dark magic, she orders it to be taken to Sanctuary, the magical place that sheltered her during the events leading to Ravenna’s defeat, where the Mirror’s magic can be contained. Snow White’s husband, William, informs Eric that the soldiers tasked with carrying the Mirror went missing en route. Knowing its dark magic can make Freya stronger, Eric agrees to try and retrieve the Mirror; Snow White’s dwarf ally Nion and his half-brother Gryff accompany him.

They travel to the last location of the soldiers. Eric discovers they killed one another with their own weapons. The trio are attacked by Freya’s huntsmen and are rescued by Sara, revealed to be alive. Sara explains that she was imprisoned by Freya all this time, and only escaped recently. She has not forgiven Eric, thinking that he abandoned her. They decipher that Eric was shown an illusion of Sara’s death, while she was made to see him running rather than fighting to help. Eric manages to convince her that Freya tricked them.

The next day, the group go to the forest of the goblins who stole the mirror. During the fight, Sara notices that Eric still wears the necklace she gave him. They retrieve the mirror and after a fight in which Eric protects Sara and she saves him, the group makes it out unharmed. That night, Eric and Sara have sex. The next morning, Freya attacks and reveals Sara has been loyal to her all along. Sara shoots an arrow at Eric, who appears to die. Freya departs with the Mirror but is unaware that Sara purposely hit Eric’s medallion necklace, protecting him from dying. At her palace, Freya asks the Mirror who is the “fairest of them all,” resurrecting Ravenna, who became one with the Mirror when Snow White vanquished her.

Eric attempts to assassinate Freya, but is stopped by Ravenna. Ravenna begins to attack the huntsmen, and Freya, who has come to regard the huntsmen as her own children, protects them with an ice wall. As Eric, Sara, and the huntsmen climb over the wall to retrieve the Mirror and help Freya, the sisters argue. Ravenna lets slip that she’s responsible for Freya’s powers. Suspicious, Freya forces Ravenna (who as the mirror’s captive spirit must answer her summoner’s questions truthfully) to reveal that the Mirror had told her Freya’s child would become more beautiful than Ravenna. Ravenna then enchanted Andrew to kill the baby so she could remain “the fairest of them all.” Outraged, Freya turns on her sister but is impaled by her. With her remaining strength, she freezes the Mirror and Eric shatters it, destroying Ravenna. As Freya dies, she smiles, both at Sara and Eric, and at a vision of her younger self holding her baby.

With Freya’s death, those who had been imprisoned by her magic are set free. Eric, Sara and the huntsmen look forward to a new future, with Eric and Sara happy to have a free life together for the first time.

In a post-credits scene, Snow White is seen from behind, as a mysterious golden bird lands on the balcony next to her.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Forgettable but a good twist on the fairytale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. I actually enjoyed this version more than Disney’s. It is on the darker side for kids.

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