The Three Musketeers – Part II: Milady (2023)

Rating: C+

Dir: Martin Bourboulon
Star: François Civil, Eva Green, Vincent Cassel, Pio Marmaï

It has been three months since “previously on The Three Musketeers“, and even with an extended recap, I’ll admit to being a tad confused. Not so much about the overall story – political and religious intrigue in 17th-century France, with a large side-order of sword-play. But I was rather vague on the details of who was who, especially the further we get from the core players. The musketeers are the good guys, right? And Milady de Winter (Green) is manipulative and deceitful. Everyone else… Well, I’ll figure it out as we go along, and if I can’t, then I’ll simply enjoy the sweeping historical vistas, and the performance of grizzled veteran Cassel as Athos.

Last time, Constance, the lover of D’Artagnan (Civil) had just been abducted in the wake of an attempt on the life of King Louis XIII. He rides off to find and rescue her, while the king prepares to lay siege to the Protestant stronghold of La Rochelle. In the process, D’Artagnan discovers Milady being held captive, as she tries to find out who was the organizer of the assassination. After rescuing her, she attempts to use her womanly wiles, but he remains faithful to Constance. [Would I be able to resist the burning-hot ferocity of a full-force Eva Green? Not sure] Milady is sent to England to kill Protestant supporter the Duke of Buckingham… which, somehow, is where Constance ended up too. I’m not sure that makes total sense.

I guess it’s not quite as simple as Catholic vs. Protestant? Oh, well: here’s another drone shot of soldiers marching toward a really big castle. This does live up to my hopes, in that Milady plays a bigger part. Green is still the best thing about this, and a greater quantity of her is naturally an improvement. She’s considerably more action oriented than most versions of the character. In particular, there’s a damn good swordfight between her and D’Artagnan in a burning building (top), which is the action highlight of the movie. The rest may have scenes which are bigger in scale, such as a raid on La Rochelle. But this is the only one which feels like the combatants have something personal at stake. 

The structure of the plot feels a little off, especially at the end. It finishes in a rush, with all the loose ends suddenly tied up, and the conspirators revealed. There’s then a coda, the second film ending in an abduction, not dissimilar to the first. Is this intended to become a franchise? I guess there are still other Alexandre Dumas novels to be filmed. Though by most accounts, these are about as close to the books, as the Bond movies are to Ian Fleming’s source works. I’m never going to say no to further Eva Green, though maybe we can get Bourboulon to rein back his obvious diversity casting, because 2023. All told, an entertaining enough, if not particularly memorable, slice of period cheese