I just barely got home from seeing Alice Through the Looking Glass, so while it's fresh in my mind, let me give a review.
First off, I try not to read reviews, but the one I did read mentioned how the story was kind of thin, a lot of style and not a lot of substance. I really take issue with this because I'm tired of movies being judged by only one measuring stick. This review calls to mind the bad reviews for Muppets Most Wanted (same director, James Bobin), where at least one reviewer called the plot merely a device to string Muppet jokes and gags together. The answer to that being, "Yes, and...?" Some movies are about other things than plot (as a screenwriter, that can be a difficult fact but here we are). Also....it's Alice in Wonderland, the less sense it makes, the more true to the original material it is, so clam up, reviewers!!
The story, not to reveal any spoilers, focuses a little more on the real world than the original, as Alice is pulled back to Underland to help an ailing Mad Hatter, while at home, her family's future is in its own turmoil. In order to help Hatter, she must go ask a favor of Time, played by Sasha Baron Conan, who was a tolerable addition to what I consider a cast of favorites. I almost don't want to comment on Johnny Depp's performance, because he is always fantastic. I will say his performance here does anchor the emotional underpinning of the story, properly motivating Alice's journey.
And, frankly, I've always liked Anne Hathaway as the White Queen because it seems like she's channeling Stevie Nicks. Helena Bonham Carter's Red Queen was undercut slightly, but all for a good cause in the end. One of those "bigger picture" issues.
It's hard to know what I really can say, in total. Again, if you're going for a particular story being paramount to the whole, you might be in the wrong theater. I admit, I wondered why a sequel was necessary in Disney's eyes. What I can surmise is the need to rejoin these characters, and director James Bobin did a great job of letting you have that. This particular Burton interpretation (and while he didn't direct, he did produce) is much more character based, in my opinion. The sequel was made to reunite an audience with good characters.
On the basis of good characters, one place I think the movie really hits it out of the park is with Alice herself. In the three years interim in the story, Alice has grown and changed in her own right, much to her mother's chagrin, as well as society's. This interpretation of Alice as a strong woman of her own will in the 1870s really doesn't get enough credit for the necessity it is even in our modern world. My goddaughter loves both versions of Disney's Alice, and I can't wait to take her to see this one just so she gets an added reminder that she really can do the impossible.
PLEASE, go see this movie and just enjoy yourself.
See you in Wonderland/Underland/Fantasyland!