There are tons of big names in the The Huntsman: Winter’s War, and the production has a huge marketing budget as well as a fan following garnered from the release of 2012’s dark action fairy tale The Huntsman and Snow White.

But is it any good?

Well, we had a chance to hang out with independent film critic and blogger Ulkar Alakbarova (check out her amazing site by clicking on her name) at an advance screening, and here’s what we took away,

As I explain in the review, it’s a beautiful film, but I think it would have been more interesting as a stand alone and there would have been less pressure on the writers to weave the characters and story-lines together from the first movie. (Really, there was no need for Charlize Theron’s character. At all. Although the production design and the wardrobe made me glad that she was in it.)

If you are on the fence try watching it as an anthology film as opposed to the prequel (um or is it sequel? Spin off?) that it’s been positioned as.

And there are definitely lots of good points— lots of potential— with amazing action sequences, super kick ass female lead and supporting characters, and mind-boggling hair, makeup, wardrobe and sets.

As you’ll see in my review, there were a few other pros and cons but one that I didn’t get into much was the rating. It’s PG-13, and I think that’s a good call.

I know, I saw Goonies and Star Wars when I was super young, but the dark elements in this film are I mean…they’re really dark (and so you know I grew up with the old, European versions of all the fairy tales and I still think this is dark).

Parents who have had issues with infant loss may want to be prepared for a trigger near the beginning— similarly there are some scenes with violence against children. There is some sex, some mature themes, and I feel like there was a swear but I can’t remember.

Now if I was a tween or young teen, I would freaking love this movie. I wouldn’t care about things like plot holes or questionable special effects and as far as the story goes, it’s a classic tale of adventure and quest to save the world. I would probably think it’s cool and regardless of if I was a boy or a girl I’d seriously dig the partner fighting moves of Hemsworth and Chastain. Planning a girls night out, or a kid movie party? Sure. Go for it. But maybe trade in the date night excursion for when it comes out on Netflix.

Enjoy! And make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel so you can see our next review and all our fun episodes of Hustle on the Street.