Alice Through the Looking Glass is a solid adventure, beautiful to look at and fun to watch as Alice travels through time into Underland’s past. The movie can be taken as fluff or something a little deeper, depending on how much you want to think about it.
1—Headstrong and Heartstrong
The whole movie is driven by Alice, by her decisions and desires. She wants to save her friend, enough to risk her life and all of Underland—though it’s debatable how much damage she realizes is done by her theft of the Chronosphere, at least at the beginning. But even once she does know, Alice is determined to finish her mission and save her friend the Hatter, who’s gone madder than usual. Though Alice doesn’t save the Mad Hatter’s family, she does learn their fate—as Time suggested, she learns from the past, even though she cannot change it.
I liked Time, a sort of combination keeper-of-history and grim reaper. He’s ruthless but sympathetic to his charges and their lives. My sympathy for him is not because of a tragic backstory ™ but because he has a function to perform, necessary but misunderstood—everyone gets their allotment of time and no more. This duality of Time is well represented by the two light schemes in the two rooms, warm and golden for that of the living, and cold and blue for that of the dead.
Though spending the movie in an antagonistic role to Alice and her goal, Time isn’t a villain, he’s just doing his job. If anything, Alice comes closer to being villainous—in her single-minded pursuit of her goal, she’s blind to the damage she’s causing. Which may be part of the point, as in her own world Alice has been a bit blind to her mother’s needs.
3—Not a Romance
*insert cackling here* I am so happy this movie isn’t about what guy Alice ends up with, or not ending up with as the case was in the first movie. Not even as a subplot. There aren’t enough movies with a female lead that aren’t in any way about a romantic relationship. Hell, I thought for a moment they were going to pair Alice with that one clerk who wasn’t a jerk just because he’s the only non-douchebag male in Alice’s side of the world—the trope is that all pervasive. Fortunately, he just goes to work for her, that’s what that bit of characterization was leading to. This movie is about Alice, her relationships to her friends, family, and self.
There’s some good thematic layering going on here, and the special effects are beautiful. I also loved the ending with Alice and her mother. Alice Through the Looking Glass may not be my favorite movie but it’s good and I’d recommend it if you’re in the mood for some adventure, especially adventure sans romance—seriously, I want more of those.