Ryan Conde’s review published on Letterboxd:
Finally got around to seeing this film and just like what most people are saying it is one of the best Disney remakes that we have gotten so far. It's not perfect but I had a really good time with this film. I actually have quite a lot to say about this film so prepare yourself because this is going to be a long review. Let me just get the positives by the way because I have a lot of them. The story for the most part is actually interesting, the cinematography is great, the musical score and soundtrack are awesome and really keep your energy up, the direction is amazing, the editing is solid, the characters are likable and really entertaining, the production design and costume design are gorgeous and beautiful to look at, the humor can get some decent laughs, the pacing moves along pretty well and very few times was I ever bored despite this film being long, the visuals are stunning and with a very cool style, the tone doesn't feel like a traditional Disney remake and feels very different which was refreshing, the emotional moments are surprisingly effective and done very well, and the performances are stellar from everyone and they all do an amazing job. The main standouts are both Emma Stone as Cruella de Vil and Emma Thompson as the Baroness. They both are just having so much fun in the roles and I really enjoyed watching them both on screen. Stone while not quite as good as Glenn Close still perfectly captures the spirit of the original Cruella de Vil character and just like Close she steals every scene she is in. Thompson also does an amazing job here and just like Emma Stone she owns every moment she is on screen and is delightfully wicked. So with all of this, you would expect this to be an amazing movie and it would be if it wasn't for one thing. Despite how ambitious the film is, the dark and wicked tone, the PG-13 rating, and the fact that it doesn't feel like a traditional Disney remake it still has to follow many of the same Disney cliches that we've come to know and be sick of and that big issue lead to some issues with the film. The story for as interesting as it is does have some very typical and boring cliches, there are some things that don't make sense at all especially the mid-credits scene, the twists while surprising are done so unexpectedly that it's kind of jarring and feel like they are there just to surprise the audience, and the biggest issue with the film is how it tries to connect to 101 Dalmatians. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing to have some references to the animated film but you could tell Disney just put that in there because of "reasons" and it's a shame because this movie for the most part feels like its own thing and not a standard Disney film but because it has the Disney label on it and because this is a remake they felt the need to put those cliches and things in just to remind people that this is a Disney remake. Think about how much better this film would've been if it either didn't have the references to the animated film or was and I know I'm going to sound crazy by saying this but an R-rated film. I know I sound crazy but this film could've been amazing if it went just full dark and crazy and didn't have to have those Disney cliches. I'm not saying that the film needed to have an R-rating for it to work but Disney really needed to let the director of this film who is Craig Gillespie to just do his movie and not have those obvious checkmarks there but still keep it family-friendly enough to where you can still give it the PG-13 rating. I don't know but my point is that this film could've been amazing if it wasn't just for a couple of things but overall I still had a very fun time with this movie. All of the great things I said about the film really do elevate it to become good and while those Disney cliches do keep me from loving this it still doesn't hurt any of the efforts put by the cast, director, costume designers, and many more. In terms of this is worth the $30 Premium Access Price on Disney+ it really is hard for me to say. Unless you feel like you're going to love this film no matter what then I wouldn't really pay that much but if you get the chance to see it cheaper in a theater or can wait until this becomes free in a few months I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Again it is one of the best Disney remakes that we've gotten and it is actually worth your time but it's really going to depend on how much those cliches bother you. Here's hoping that the recently announced sequel to this film can improve on this film and maybe Disney won't put so many tiresome cliches but knowing the company I wouldn't be surprised if they did.