“Damsel” was a refreshing film that I enjoyed despite its faults. The film has the strongest of some of Millie Bobby Brown’s acting, however, it ended up having predictable writing that diminished its suspense and, for me, its rewatchability. 

“Damsel” is a dark fantasy film written by Dan Mazeua and directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. The movie is reminiscent of popular action films like “Taken” and “Die Hard” — attempting to play on popular action tropes, evident from the title as a play on words about the damsel in distress cliche — but it fails to keep the audience entertained.

Elodie (Millie Bobby Brown) is a free-spirited princess with a passion for traveling the world. However, her dreams of traveling end when she receives a proposal from the queen of Aurea, Queen Isabelle (Robin Wright), to marry her son, Prince Henry (Nick Robinson). Princess Elodie reluctantly accepts the proposal after her father and stepmother, Lord Bayford (Ray Winstone) and Lady Bayford (Angela Bassett), convince her to do so to save the struggling people of their kingdom. Elodie quickly learns that Aurea has deadly secrets, including a generational sacrifice in which the kingdom is kept safe if three princesses are given to the dragon.

The premise was a surprisingly unique take in an oversaturated genre and typical story concept (the hostage situation), which was able to go beyond cliche takes with a fantasy and feminist twist. The fantasy elements allowed for a new, unfamiliar setting and a high-stakes antagonist with phenomenal fight scenes.

“Damsel” is a welcome inclusion in a male-dominated genre, introducing Princess Elodie as a three-dimensional character who is both capable and vulnerable. However, the film adds nothing new to tired action movie tropes, which often makes the film predictable. This caused the suspenseful and emotional moments of the film to feel overshadowed and the pacing to occasionally feel off. 

The faults in the writing were balanced by the acting, with Brown having to act alone for most of the film while pushing the story forward. It relied on her expressions and ability to quietly convey emotions — which she executes perfectly. “Damsel” allows Brown to show and expand her range beyond “Stranger Things” and “Enola Holmes.” 

This film was a fun time and I thought it was a refreshing take, but I wish it had been executed better. I think it could have benefited from playing on the action movie tropes it ended up relying on to subvert the audience’s attention. Regardless, if you’re looking for a new (non-Disney) princess to root for, Elodie is the icon you have been waiting for.

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