Frozen II should be in the textbooks on how to make a sequel. This is the perfect sequel. The formula is simple. Give us everything we loved about the first film and do something wild and imaginative to expand the world, the characters, and the story of the original.
Starting with what we loved. Clearly, it’s the characters whom our children dressed as six years ago. Each one has their moments to grow to attain the next level of maturity. In the case of Elsa, she started as this powerful queen with magical power and knows there’s something more significant for her and her kingdom. Anna still finds herself alone as Elsa has a habit of wandering off on her own, and she must find a balanced dependent-independence.
We also loved the song and music, and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez have aptly replaced Howard Ashman and Alan Menken as the go-to composers of hummable songs for Disney features. And to improve on the first, each character has their own song. The neglected Kristoff is given a hilarious 90s boy band number called “Lost in the Woods.” Anna has her “Let It Go” ballad in “The Next Right Thing.” Elsa has another “Let It Go” with “Into the Unknown.” Arguably, the songs may not be as catchy as the first Frozen, but they do serve the plot. The film also ends with covers by Panic! at the Disco, Kacey Musgraves, and Weezer.
“…Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez…the go-to composers of hummable songs for Disney features.”
Let’s talk improvements from the first. Frozen II fills in the gaps of Anna and Elsa’s family stories. We learn about the fate of their parents, the origins of Elsa’s powers, and the world outside Arendelle. There seems to be a maturity in storytelling here, which is suitable for the original fans, who are six years older. Just a note: I will say my daughter was a tremendous fan of the original, and now she’s a preteen, who looks up to Billy Eilish. Her feelings are pretty mixed about Frozen II, and I think it’s because her tastes have grown beyond cartoon characters.
I hesitate to say which film is better because they are different in story and tone. You’re definitely going to laugh. Your kids are going to laugh. You’ll walk away humming a song or two. And the exploration of Elsa’s powers is pretty awesome and spectacularly animated. What you get out of Frozen II over the original is Anna and Elsa’s stronger relationship. They are together throughout most of the film, and their sisterhood is strong, fun to watch, and remains the heart of the film. Frozen II is a worthy sequel, and you’ll be glad Disney got greedy and made it.