This sort of sequel/prequel stars Emily Blunt as Queen Freya who builds her own kingdom following the framing of her lover (Colin Morgan) who Freya killed as she believed that he killed her baby. After this massive betrayal, Freya flees to build her own kingdom and turns the Northern Lands into a frozen wasteland, in this frozen wasteland a heartbroken Freya bans all her subjects from falling in love. However, Huntsmen Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain) do exactly this and when they are caught in the act they are sentenced to death. The pair try to escape, but whilst Eric is escape Sara is killed.
Seven years later, Snow White (played by Kristen Stewart in archival footage only) falls ill after hearing black magic come from Ravenna’s (Charlize Theron) mirror. Due to the mirror’s power, Snow White orders it to taken to safety, but her men protecting the mirror from reaching the wrong hands are ambushed and killed. Who ambushed these men and stole the mirror? Queen Freya is the major suspect.
Despite the forgettable nature of the film its worth giving credit where credit is due that the film actually has three (perhaps even four) women in prominent roles (it’s borderline depressing that this is something worth noting). Writing roles for women is a better than just swapping the genders of the characters (for example the recent Ghostbusters film) because it only superficially solves the issue of a lack of roles written for women.
Most of the cast do a decent job, Jessica Chastain, taking a break from her usually more intense roles, has a good chemistry with Chris Hemsworth. Whilst Emily Blunt is perfectly fine in her role, though Charlize Theron is a weak link as her slow, hushed drawl doesn’t exactly fill one with dread. Sheridan Smith though is the star of the supporting cast, her comic timing and chemistry with fellow comedians Rob Brydon and Nick Frost works wonders.
Outside of some pretty good performances, mostly from the supporting cast, the film has numerous issues. The story plods along a predictable route, and leaves some aspects of the story unanswered (whose story was true, Sara or Eric’s?). The film was produced on a cheaper budget, and it shows as some of the special effects are best described as ‘ropey’ and ‘cheap looking’. While first time director Cedric Nicolas Troyan does a decent job, he has a poor handle on the action sequences which seem rather devoid of imagination.