updated 06/01/2012 AT 12:35 PM ET
•originally published 06/01/2012 AT 3:55 PM ET
It hardly seems like a fair fight.
The evil queen is a calculating sorceress. Snow White is … pretty, yet she always wins. Good for Snow White And The Huntsman for being solidly entertaining while raising the old debate over whether a woman’s looks are her power. I just wish the film knew what it thought about that.
On one hand, Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) couldn’t be more beautiful or powerful, beguiling the king and taking his throne. Theron’s queen is a mad diva in fierce costumes, giving her scenes gleeful bombast befitting the film’s dark, Game of Thrones style.
Her opponent (Kristen Stewart), though, is still little more than winsome. That’s not Stewart’s fault – the actress shows more pluck than ever as Snow, bent on defeating Ravenna with the help of the drunken Hunts man (Chris Hems worth) and her childhood friend Wil liam (Sam Claflin).
While magic seems to flow around the princess – in some of the lush film’s best effects – she never wields it. She doesn’t really learn to fight or lead; those skills just somehow manifest themselves.
At more than two hours, Huntsman has time to show Snow becoming a warrior (and to give the fabulous dwarves more air as comic relief), but it doesn’t. Pity. The film gives her a sword, but in the end, her biggest weapon is still her pretty face.