There’s been a bit of a dichotomy in opinion when it comes to Disney’s Maleficent. Angelina Jolie’s eagerly anticipated film was released last week, and despite taking $70 million on its opening weekend, has received mixed reviews from critics. Jolie, who plays the titular character, has been highly praised for her performance, although it’s often noted that her acting is the redeeming feature of the live-action film.

angelina jolie maleficentAngelina Jolie has been widely praised for her performance as Maleficent

Vulture’s Bilge Ebiri sums up: “Jolie’s commitment to the part is admirable: She gives this Maleficent a real emotional urgency. But the rest of the movie lets her down.” Perhaps the most scathing review comes from Jonathan Romney at The Guardian, who gives the film just one star.  Romney describes Maleficent as an “icky affair,” dubbing the movie a “messy live-action retelling of Sleeping Beauty” and criticising Jolie, who he claims is “equipped with a range of variable English accents.”

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However, most interesting about Romney’s review is the wave of cinemagoers who have responded to his critique. One commenter wrote, “Think this review is way off the mark. Took my daughter to see this over the weekend, and must admit I wasn’t expecting much. However, by the end, I had to admit the film had won me over. It was fun, dramatic, offered something a little different to the done to death formula of ‘young princess and handsome prince’…Also, my daughter was enthralled.”

Another cinemagoer disagreed with Romney’s assertion that the film is aimed at “the preteen market,”: I can’t help but disagree with this review. I just went to see Maleficent with some friends (none of us are “tweens”) and we all thought it was a brilliant piece of well-constructed entertainment. It did not pander too much to the younger audience with overly-romantic Disney mush and it didn’t forget to add a small, deeper piece of introspection for its adult audience. It also looks fantastic.”

One commenter simply stated, “I would suggest that Romney is too narrow-minded a critic to allow himself to embrace what the film is…My advice to anyone reading Romney’s review is not to pay it much heed.”

angelina jolie maleficentAngelina Jolie and Elle Fanning star as Maleficent and Aurora respectively

While the critics haven’t been unanimously wowed by the film, Romney in particular, it seems that barely anyone who has seen it has anything but praise for Maleficent. It’s cinemagoers that the film was made for, not the critics, so really their reviews are the greatest indicator of how enjoyable the film really is, from a purely entertainment-perspective. Oh, and the fact it took $70 million in one weekend. That’s says a lot, too.

Maleficent may have topped the box office in its opening weekend, but does it have the staying power to fight off Tom Cruise's Edge of Tomorrow and Shailene Woodley's new film The Fault in our Stars, both coming out this week?

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Click here to watch the full-length trailer for Maleficent