I thought it was great. Thoroughly enjoyable beginning to end. Jolie nailed Maleficent and her character design was eerily spot on. She looks and sounds amazing. I found it amusing that a story told by Aurora after its relation to her by Maleficent portrayed everyone but Maleficent as a complete jackhole: the King was a powermad lunatic, the queen was a non-entity, the faerie godmothers were useless dunces, and the prince was a useless fop. Humanity in general were a bunch of stumblebums.
I would have been happy had the prince not shown up at the end of the film at all and it was just Maleficent and Aurora palling around in the faerie kingdom with their awesome raven sidekick.
A couple of things that popped up along the way:
-The blonde faerie never got to use her birthday wish. Maybe I'm misremembering Sleeping Beauty
, but didn't the third faerie use her wish to change the curse from death to sleep after Maleficent left? Or maybe that was the intention, but the scene was cut/rewritten so as not to portray Maleficent as a child murderer by having her temper her own curse. Or maybe, since it is from her perspective, she just lied to Aurora about who did what during the cursing.
-Where were all of the horribly mangled bodies of soldiers crushed to death by tree-golems or impaled by 15 ft lances? Or the ones burned and brutalized by the dragon? They literally disappeared from the battlefield the moment the fight ended. I demand the horrors of reality in my faerie tales, Disney!
-Other than a "we need a prince in act 3" checklist requirement, he was pretty meh. I get why he was there and the contrast/message his one prompted action was trying to portray, but he needed at least one more establishing scene, I think. He definitely didn't need to be in at the end, either way.
-And HISHE need to do a bit where Maleficent flies up into the sky triumphant while we see the human kingdom in the background burning in the fires of civil war. The queen is dead. The king was just murdered by a faerie, who took the only blood heir. All those old nobles will be at eachother's throats in the ensuing succession crisis.