The School For Good And Evil is a fantasy film filled with heroes and villains with an overarching concept about keeping the balance between good and evil. When Sophie and Agatha are stripped from their home and brought to a magical world, things quickly turn for the worst when they are separated. Sophie, to her surprise, is dropped at the school for evil while Agatha is sent to the school for good.
The concept following is pretty simple. Agatha wants to get Sophie and go home, while Sophie is determined to reach the school for good, as she is determined that her life holds greater meaning and adventure than the small village they came from.
However, it does not take long to become clear that the movie lacks a severe amount of world-building, character development, and follow-through.
Other than acknowledging that one school is good and the other is evil, the most the film does to explain the world to the audience is that every fairytale Sophie and Agatha ever read is true. This school is where everyone learns how to be heroes and villains. Otherwise, little is known about the overarching world as the movie never goes anywhere outside the School For Good and Evil and Agatha and Sophie’s village.
Regarding character development, Agatha is connected to her friendship with Sophie and questions the true definition of good at her school. Agatha places her love for Sophie above everything else, desperate for the duo to return home. She remains true to herself throughout the movie, the biggest change-ups being when she digs her heels in to protect Sophie.
Agatha brings up plenty of interesting points about what truly makes a person or actions good, especially after discovering that those who fail the good school are punished in some form. But, unfortunately, The School For Good And Evil never develop those ideas.
Agatha’s claims against the good school are left in the wind as no one other than her bothers to point them out. Is good truly good? What does it truly mean to be good? The film does not bother to tell the viewers.
In contrast to Agatha’s character remaining true to herself, Sophie’s desperation to feel unique leads to a far-too-quickly-done set of events that leads Sophie to dive into her bad side. Although Sophie claimed she should have ended up at the school for good and a mistake was made, it does not take much for Sophie to be manipulated by Rafal into going dark.
Sophie’s development into going dark has no natural build-up, and thus when she appears to have completely transformed and then continues her dark spiral, it seems way too convenient for the sake of the plot. Even if Sophie was not the best person before being taken from her home, she was never portrayed to be as easily swayed as the movie presents her or as quick to go down a dangerous rabbit hole.
One of the most exciting concepts in the film finally happens when Rafal gives his villain monologue. He explains his desires and how he manipulated events for years to make good appear vain rather than substantial.
As a villain, Rafal’s desire seems to boil down to wanting evil to win over good. However, his reasoning appears to be that good wins most of the time. Although Rafal explains he has been slowly destroying what it means to be good for years, that is never shown on-screen.
Are Rafal’s actions slowly turning good into being vain the thing Agatha caught as feeling so wrong at the school for good? Or were the schools underdeveloped without the follow-through required to discuss the truths behind good versus evil?
As a magical world, it does not develop a clear understanding of how the world works, and the conclusion seems pretty rushed. The School For Good And Evil is two and a half hours long. The movie had the time to flesh out characters and concepts rather than feeling rushed to show as much as possible.
The School For The Good And Evil also makes the eventual animosity between the students more confusing. If they all attended school together, were they assigned an arch-enemy? Did it occur naturally?
Although the movie’s final minutes open the door for a sequel, it may be better left alone, with Agatha and Sophie’s friendship prevailing.