Review: Swashbuckling, Palace Intrigue and More in Welcome Sequel The Three Musketeers—Part 2: Milady

An even better follow-up to last year’s The Three Musketeers—Part I: D’Artagnan, this week's Part 2: Milady disposes of the business of introducing all of the characters from the classic novel by Alexandre Dumas and gets down to the business of swashbuckling, betrayal, intrigue, and some of that beautiful French tragedy. With the villains and their plans more in focus, the second part of this story begins with D’Artagnan (François Civil) forced to join forces with the mysterious Milady (Eva Green), who may be the only person who knows where his beloved Constance (Lyna Khoudri) has been taken. Athos (Vincent Cassel) continues to mourn the loss of his wife, forcing him to raise his young son alone and making him contemplate leaving the musketeers for good. While Aramis and Porthos (Romain Duris and Pio Marmaï, respectively) just keep doing whatever they were doing in the last film—partying and waving their swords around (literally and metaphorically).

The film’s big mystery is who tried to have King Louis XIII (Louis Garrel) killed, and many signs point to either his queen, Anne (Vicky Krieps), or Cardinal Richelieu (Eric Ruf). But the truth is even more shocking. The adventures even take us into England, where the handsome Duke of Buckingham (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd) is befriending certain members of French society.

Directed again by Martin Bourboulon, The Three Musketeers—Part 2: Milady offers up a much greater understanding of what motivates its characters while upping the action and wrapping up most of the storylines, some in quite unexpected ways. Wildly enough, it also ends on something of a cliffhanger, even though there are no plans to make a third film (although further musketeer adventures are clearly possible). The film also seems more tied into French wartime history (in particular, the siege of LaRochelle) and culture, while the likely fictional palace intrigue material still works like a great soap opera should. While looping the characters’ lives into real history, the film takes the the impact of religion on the kingdom seriously, while the very real threat of British invasion looms over everything. Make more of these, s'il vous plait.

The film is now having a limited theatrical run.

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Steve Prokopy

Steve Prokopy is chief film critic for the Chicago-based arts outlet Third Coast Review. For nearly 20 years, he was the Chicago editor for Ain’t It Cool News, where he contributed film reviews and filmmaker/actor interviews under the name “Capone.” Currently, he’s a frequent contributor at /Film (SlashFilm.com) and Backstory Magazine. He is also the public relations director for Chicago's independently owned Music Box Theatre, and holds the position of Vice President for the Chicago Film Critics Association. In addition, he is a programmer for the Chicago Critics Film Festival, which has been one of the city's most anticipated festivals since 2013.