I Actually Liked Frozen II

Major spoilers for Frozen II ahead!

I waited to watch Frozen II until I could borrow a copy from the library. So, for months, all I heard were cryptic statements from moviegoers that this film was, “Not what people were expecting” and “Very different from the first movie.” No one would say what was apparently off about Frozen II, but, eventually, I started to wonder if anyone had actually enjoyed it. Nevertheless, I put it on hold when it first appeared in the library catalog. And, to my surprise, I found I liked it even more than I had liked Frozen.

In some respects, I can see why some audience members might have had reservations about Frozen II. It is undoubtedly very different the general Disney princess movie. And it is a lot darker than its predecessor. Anna may have turned to ice in Frozen, but that lasted a few seconds, and we all knew she would make it, anyway. In Frozen II, Elsa dies, Olaf melts, and Anna is left all alone to sing a despairing song that suggests she is ready to give up and die herself, rather than face the life ahead of her. Her song is a key part of what makes the film so dark. She gives audiences a taste of what it means to feel real, deep-down grief. She doesn’t quite let them get away with their outsider knowledge that no Disney movie can end so unhappily, right? Surely Olaf and Elsa will come back…right? Even if they can and will, for one moment, Anna makes audiences consider what it would mean if they did not.

Frozen II’s difference from its predecessor is, however, what makes me love it so much. I don’t really need another standard Disney princess film at this point. It was fun to watch Frozen play with Disney princess tropes by revealing how falling in love at first sight can backfire, giving Anna an iceman who likes to “tinkle in the woods” instead of a charming prince, and reminding viewers about the importance of consent in romantic relationships. But, in giving so many knowing nods to past Disney princess tropes, Frozen still feels connected to them. It’s a response to other Disney films, not so much an independent, original film. Plus, it still buys into other Disney princess tropes such as the cute animal sidekick and the happily-ever-after kiss (for Anna, if not for Elsa).

Frozen II breaks away completely from previous princess films, perhaps because it has to. In theory, I suppose it could have given Elsa her own love interest and so remained a typical Disney princess movie. However, that would seem a little repetitive for a sequel. Instead, Frozen II decides to branch out, giving Anna and Elsa an epic adventure–together. (I hated that Frozen is billed as a “sister film” even though they’re not really talking for most of it.) Disney has provided audiences with epic adventures before in films such as Treasure Planet and Atlantis, among others–films that were usually lead by a male character and not part of the princess line. But it feels exciting to have that kind of movie lead by two female protagonists who are breaking out of their traditional Disney princess roles.

I recognize that Frozen II is not a perfect film. Some have pointed out to me that the plotline does not make sense. (Did Frozen’s, though? Really?) I disliked how Anne treated Kristoff, running off without him and seemingly forgetting her existence when she considers there is nothing left to live for with Elsa gone. I questioned why they were talking about marriage when they cannot even communicate with each other on a basic level. However, ultimately, there are a few moments of Frozen II that make it really special, despite its flaws.

Whereas some audience goers seemed uncertain about how dark and how sad the film got, I appreciated the level of emotional depth this gives the film. Anna is overlooked in favor of Elsa and her big numbers, but she is truly the star of Frozen II, demonstrating that one must always do the right thing, even if doing so seems like it could hurt them. Anna decides to work through her seemingly-debilitating grief in order to right a past wrong. And she does so knowing that she will lose everything by doing so. She is truly inspirational and demonstrates a moral courage not many film characters are asked to do.

I also appreciated Elsa’s characterization, however. Even though Elsa is extremely powerful, we see that she continues to struggle with self-doubt. She does not know who she is and she seems unable to accept herself. My favorite part of the film is when, upon searching for someone to give her all the answers, Elsa realizes she is the answer. She already knows who she is and what she can do. All she needs is to is to find the courage to trust in herself, instead of relying on others to giver her confidence. When she accepted herself for the first time, I got chills.

Frozen II has its flaws, perhaps like any story. However, it strengths for me far outweigh its weaknesses. I appreciate the character growth we see in both Anna and Elsa, with Anna choosing to do the right thing no matter the cost, and Elsa discovering her own inner strength. Those are great messages that I can support. And it does not hurt that they are both presented in phenomenal songs.

What did you think of Frozen II?

29 thoughts on “I Actually Liked Frozen II

    • Krysta says:

      I think there were quite a few parents who brought their small children to the theatre and maybe weren’t expecting to have a conversation about loss and grief? They thought it would be another straight hero-saves-the-day film without too much drama?

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  1. Jonathan Scott Griffin says:

    Thanks for the well-thought out review. I need to see Frozen II. That said, you mention it got dark. Did it get as dark as Pinocchio? I feel like Disney animated movies have gotten a lot less dark as the years have gone on. In Pinocchio, children were turned into donkeys, kidnapped, and forced into child trafficking for labor. Does Frozen II measure up in darkness as the old Disney animated films?

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    • Krysta says:

      I believe people’s sense (and certainly mine) of darkness comes primarily from Frozen II’s emotional darkness rather than its engagement with topics like human trafficking. Two people briefly die and it leads to Anna having such great despair you could read her as near-suicidal. People are comparing that with Frozen itself, rather than any movies from the 1940s, I think. At least, I imagine that the parents who were concerned about showing their kids Frozen II aren’t going to go out of their way to show something like Pinnochio, which I remember finding deeply disturbing as a child. I think the films are both dark, just in different ways.

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  2. Anjana says:

    I really enjoyed the depth of the darkness as well, lesser haha moments so a niece is mine (7 yrs) did not like it as much…I watched a couple of interviews of the cast and there was the fact that unlike previous men in these movies Kristoff did not stalk off annoyed 😄 he understands Anna’s obsession with seeing this through.. Which was pretty cool

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    • Krysta says:

      I do think the film was aimed at an older audience. Olaf does actually stare into the “camera” at one point and says, “You all look a little bit older.” I imagine the emotions depicted could resonate a little more with audiences who have more experience with loss and grief.

      I appreciated Kristoff’s character, but he comes off as far more likable than Anna. Anna repeatedly leaves him and forgets about him. It’s nice he’s still always there for her, but at some point I started to wonder why. She seems more connected to Elsa and Olaf than she does to the man who wants to marry her.

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  3. Jas @ XIV blog says:

    Great review! I agree that it is darker than usual, but I also think that was good. I really enjoyed Frozen II, except I do think that the songs in the first movie are better. Although Kristoff’s song was really adorable haha! 🙂

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  4. Enobong says:

    This review makes me see the movie from a different angle and almost wish I liked it but the plot was just too convoluted for me and there wasn’t a memorable stand out song. Really, the only music I remember is the five-part musical phrase they drilled into our heads. I just thought they tried to put too much into this one

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    • Krysta says:

      There was definitely a lot going on in the plot! And it reminded me a little too much of Avatar: The Last Airbender. But, even though I think the songs weren’t as catchy or sing-alongable (that’s a word now, yes…), I thought they were very beautiful! Though I like “Show Yourself” more than “Into the Unknown.” And I just don’t think “Into the Unknown” is going to be the new “Let It Go,” even though they really tried.

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  5. Geraldine @ Corralling Books says:

    I haven’t seen Frozen II, but I am surprised to hear that not many people liked it – my sisters both watched it, and they really enjoyed it, more so than the first movie.
    Your review is extremely well thought-out – I love how detailed you are ❤

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    • Krysta says:

      I know some parents of toddlers who were not thrilled. I think older viewers such as myself might have fewer concerns about the darkness, though.

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  6. Sammie @ The Bookwyrm's Den says:

    My opinion was very much like yours. I liked Frozen, but I LOVED Frozen 2. Even the music speaks to me more. Okay, sure, I enjoyed Let It Go as much as everyone else (although, actually, I preferred Demi Lovato’s version), but the music in this one just was easily to relate to and felt much deeper to me.

    I loved the emotional depth that was added to this movie. As you point out, it’s darker and doesn’t gloss over everything. The characters in this felt more rounded (especially for a Disney movie), because there was an admission that everyone wasn’t perfect and decisions are hard. Elsa’s death made the stakes feel REAL, even if you know, deep down, it’ll have a happy ending.

    My favorite part of this movie was Anna’s growth! I actually really didn’t like Anna in the first movie. It really irked me that she was so stupidly naive and seemed to have no personality other than doormat. She gets a whole other side here, though, where she has to learn how to save not only herself but the people around her, and it was great to see her go from being the naive, ditsy character to finding that she has strengths, too.

    Also, can we appreciate just how much Brendon Urie kills “Into the Unknown”?

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    • Krysta says:

      I really like the music in Frozen II! I know it isn’t quite as catchy and it’s harder to sing along, but it is very beautiful!

      That’s a great point about Anna! In the first film, she’s sort of…um…I want to say like a caricature of a Disney princess? Like she’s naive and lonely and so she agrees to marry a man she doesn’t know, and then the plot hinges around how stupid that is. It’s basically a knowing wink at the older Disney princess films. But, in Frozen II, she gets to be more confident and make more positive choices.

      Haha, yes!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jenna @ Falling Letters says:

    Sooo, I haven’t seen either Frozen movie but I have heard from friends that they liked Frozen 2 a lot more than the first. I am more curious about it now. I didn’t really know anything about Anna and Elsa’s relationship in the movie. (I do really like that song, Into the Unknown, though, haha.)

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    • Krysta says:

      I think maybe your reaction could change based on your expectations? I know some parents of toddlers thought Frozen II would maybe be more like Frozen. But if you brought your kids who had seen the original Frozen and are now older, maybe you’d be less worried about the darkness. Or if you’re older and just watched it for yourself. 😀

      I like “Into the Unknown,” as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Michael J. Miller says:

    I never understood why so many people were frustrated and/or disappointed by ‘Frozen II.’ When I saw it I really enjoyed it and it felt like a worthy successor. It was clear they waited until they had an actual new story to tell instead of just rushing out to make money with a sloppy sequel. So I really appreciate this piece for making me feel like I’m not alone in enjoying this film :D. But you raised some points I hadn’t thought of before and now I like it even more! I may need to rewatch this soon now.

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    • Krysta says:

      Yes! I love that they put some real thought into making a movie that was different from the standard Disney fare. And much better than just about every other Disney sequel. (Remember Cinderalla II and III? Mulan II? Okay, Pocahontas II was decent, but was anything else?)

      I loved the character growth we saw. I loved the animation. The songs. It was really well-done all around and I’m glad they didn’t rush it to cash it on the popularity of the first film.

      Liked by 1 person

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