I know some people aren’t really a fan of the Maleficent films that came out, but I really rather enjoyed them. Maleficent was always my favorite villain growing up because who wouldn’t want the ability to shapeshift into a dragon? Plus I loved her little raven companion. Not to mention her commanding air when she walked into a room because you knew every eye was on her.
I think a lot of people think she’s melodramatic or a terrible person for what she did. But even in the original story she was the queen of the faeries, and the royals failed to invite her to a christening which was a public event that all were expected to attend all because the queen only had twelve place settings and not thirteen.
So in not inviting Maleficent, they were scorning her. So she was within her rights to be angry even if we can all agree that cursing children is wrong. No one should be punished for their parent’s sins.
What I love so much about these remakes, though, is that you see Maleficent grow and change. She regrets that her rage and want for revenge against Stephan caused her to curse Aurora and even comes to love her.
Yet after Stephan’s betrayal she isn’t exactly open to the idea of befriending humans. Her prejudice and wariness around them is quite understandable in the second film given that Stephan wanted to kill her despite learning that Aurora had come to care for her.
Even after everything that Stephan had done to her, Maleficent didn’t want to kill him, and only did so because that was the only option he gave her.
I love these films because I never had a close relationship with my father and found family has always resonated with me. Sometimes it’s not blood that cares the most about you. Sometimes it is the bonds that you choose for yourself, are the ones that truly matter.
Stephan completely ignored and showed no affection for Aurora despite loving her, whilst Maleficent chose to become her mother when she wasn’t the most loving and warm of people.
Despite her mistrust of humans which was very well founded considering how Stephan and the other humans treated her she still came to love a human child and just accepted it.
These films gave Maleficent more depth and made her more relatable to me, and she is one of my comfort characters now.
Do I believe that every villain deserves a redemption arc or film? No. I wasn’t quite taken with Cruella. But I do really love the Maleficent films – they’re one thing that Disney did right.
Linda M. Crate’s works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. She is the author of seven poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: the samurai (Yellow Arrow Publishing, October 2020). She has also authored three micro-collections, and four full length poetry collections.