We finally get a Prince with a name! And some agency in the story! And some willingness to actually rescue the Princess! It’s a nice shift.
I like Phillip. For the first time we get a Prince who is determined to win his love no matter what. At the beginning of the film, he is willing to defy his father and his country in order to be with the woman he loves. When the stakes go up, he goes toe to toe with a dragon to get to her. Honestly, the kiss is the easy part. Unlike our last two princes he doesn’t wait around and let others do the work. Once he meets his true love he moves heaven and earth to be with her. This is what we expect from our Disney Princes.
More than the big grand gestures though, Phillip is prepared to follow through with the smaller, but equally important things. The first thing he agrees to do is come over and meet Aurora’s family. That in itself is a rare and unusual thing on this list. Add to that the fact that when the going gets tough, he doesn’t rely on his own strength. He takes help and advice from the fairies and uses their power to defeat Maleficent. We get a rare combination of qualities that gives us a Prince who both respects and listens to women, is willing to upend his entire life to be with his Princess, and who knows that even heroes need help. Plus he’s got great hair. What’s not to love?
While Aurora bears much in common with her two Princess predecessors, Prince Phillip is much more what a modern audience expects from a hero. He could easily hold his own in a contemporary film. In many ways he was ahead of his time in terms of men’s roles in film and he is a welcome addition to the Disney Princes.