Not only do the fairies defeat Maleficent, it appears as though they always had the ability to do so. They just weren’t actualized enough to realize it. Earlier we learned that Merriweather wasn’t “able” to turn Maleficent into a hop toad, but that doesn’t comport with what we just saw, which was a magical stabbing. Murder definitely seems less kind than life as an amphibian to me. They had to go through this tremendous journey of self discovery and empowerment before they realized that there wasn’t any physical limit on their power. Those limitations were placed on them by society. Maleficent was the symbol of the pre-liberated woman whose curse was to inflict that status on other women, and killing her is the ultimate act of female actualization.
Pocahontas is great, but nobody holds a candle to Mulan. She's the only one to overtly challenge the gender roles of her society — and inch by inch, she carves out a place for herself. Mulan rescues pretty much everybody, repeatedly, including several men — her father, the emperor, and the toughest guy in the army. She's also got two positive female role models — shocking in a franchise where most of the mother figures are either evil or dead. The movie's feminist bent is seen best in its most famous song, "I'll Make A Man Out Of You" — a clever line, because of course, Mulan is not ever going to be a man. But she still makes it. Message: you can be a woman, and still be as swift as a coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon. Sweet.
Even though Maleficent doesn’t look to be a huge critical success, it appears that it will be much more financially successful. Box office predictors have it taking the weekend box office over X-Men: Days of Future Past in its second week and other new release of the week, Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West . Box office predictors are not yet sure just how much money Maleficent will bring in. Numbers have ranged from $55 million ( Box office Mojo ) to $63-70 million ( Deadline ) to above $70 million ( Variety ).