The Three Musketeers: Milady review – Eva Green seduces in swashbuckling second instalment

<span>Photograph: Ben King</span>
Photograph: Ben King

There was much to admire, earlier this year, in the first rollicking film in Martin Bourboulon’s two-picture adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’s classic: the swaggering fight choreography, the ostentatious insults parried along with the swordplay, the combined charisma of the musketeers (Vincent Cassel, Romain Duris and Pio Marmaï) and D’Artagnan (François Civil), which was only slightly obscured by a period-appropriate layer of sweat and grime. But the main attraction was an irresistible Eva Green, mercurial and merciless as the treacherous Milady, a spy and general agent of mischief in the French court. If anything, this follow-up is even more enjoyable, its appeal boosted by Milady slinking on to centre stage, her weaponised sexuality backed up by her private collection of daggers and swords.

The Three Musketeers: Milady picks up where the first film left off, the atmosphere at court thick with treasonous plotting, after a foiled attempt on the life of the king (Louis Garrel, stealing every scene with his air of bewigged ennui). D’Artagnan, abducted and facing torture at the hands of the granite-faced henchman of the Comte de Chalais (Patrick Mille), forms a temporary alliance with Milady. Meanwhile, war has been declared and the musketeers head to the front at the port of La Rochelle, where a bracingly vigorous action sequence follows a daring assault on a fort.

The film fairly gallops through big chunks of plot, pausing only for Milady’s repeated corset-clad seduction attempts on a befuddled D’Artagnan; a bonding moment between Athos (Cassel) and his son; family strife for Aramis (Duris); and toilet breaks for the permanently wine-sodden Porthos (Marmaï). There’s a hint at the end about the possibility of further movies in the series: here’s hoping.