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A visual spectacle that does exactly what it sets out to do
I only saw the first film from 2010 recently and decided to go see the second. While the first film was decent but dragged a bit in the latter half, the second installment has improved on nearly everything. As a family-friendly adventure film, Through the Looking Glass accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. The story has substance from the get- go, while I felt the first one took a while to build up momentum since so many characters and places needed to be introduced.
The acting is stellar, and apart from Mia Wasikowska I was particularly impressed by Sacha Baron Cohen who brings a new both nuanced and fun character to life. One of my major complaints is that, while the Hatter is certainly a main character and the March Hare and Dormouse also get a decent amount of screen time, other familiar faces are somewhat underused. I would've loved to see more of Absolem, Bayard, the Cheshire Cat and the White Rabbit. This is very much the Hatter's story, and it also explores the Red and White Queen's background more.
Regardless of script or characterisation, this film is absolutely gorgeous to look at, balancing between the possible and the insane. Costume and set designers and the special effects department have done a wonderful job and must've had a lot of fun doing it.
All in all, Through the Looking Glass is a great way of spending 2 hours if you're a fan of the actors involved and/or looking for a visual spectacle. This is a solid 7/10 from me.