It's typical of sequels to come out about 2 or 3 years after the first film. Sometimes, sequels come out the year after the first one. However, Frozen 2 has come out 6 years after the first film. That's something it has in common with Alice Through the Looking Glass, which came out 6 years after the first film. Of course, the big the question is if the wait was worth it. In this review, I will discuss how the two films compare to each other, as well as give my feelings on the premise and cast of characters.
Frozen 2 brings back the cast of the first film (excluding Prince Hans and the Duke of Weselton). Queen Elsa travels to a land she's never been to, in order to find out how to save Arendelle and to learn secrets involving her family's past. Princess Anna doesn't want Elsa to go on her own, so she joins her sister. Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf also come along. They meet a bunch of people, who were around during the childhood of Anna and Elsa's parents. Elsa is determined to take care of things on her own, but Anna and Olaf will not accept that. Meanwhile, Kristoff plans on proposing to Anna.
Frozen 2 is a step-up from the first film, when it comes to the plot. The first film was supposed to be a family drama about two sisters. However, the film got distracted due to having two romantic subplots and various types of comedy relief. Plus, it was hard to get too invested in Anna and Elsa's sibling relationship considering they barely have any screentime together after the first act. Frozen 2 benefits from adding a lot of the history of Arendelle, as well as Anna and Elsa's family. It also benefits from not shying away from being a dark film. When I say dark, I don't meant it's an intense and depressing film. However, it has a more serious tone, than the previous film, which improves the drama between the characters and the conflicts that they encounter.
Although the first Frozen film is considered to be a film about two sisters, Anna was basically the star of the first film. Most of the film was through her point of view. Elsa basically did nothing in the second act of the first film. Frozen 2 has both sisters serve as protagonists and manages to give them both plenty to do.
Like in the first film, Anna is the more innocent and humorous of the siblings. However, in both films, she shows she can be mature and a true hero. Frozen 2 continues having Anna be a supportive sister. I found it interesting how Anna is the more protective of the sisters, despite being younger and less mature than Elsa.
Frozen 2 is best when it focuses on Elsa. In the first film, Elsa spent most of her time being afraid and not getting to show her true potential. I had long hoped that the sequel would explore her character development and let her be a braver and cooler character. That's exactly what Frozen 2 did. Elsa's character arc and conflicts are consistently fascinating. Elsa's unlike any other Disney princess or queen and this film shows that off even better than the first film did. Elsa takes her job very seriously, but the film makes it clear that she is destined for better things in life than ruling a kingdom. Ruling a kingdom might sound hard to top, but Elsa finds a way.
A lot of people have considered Kristoff's role in this film to not be very important. However, I'd argue he was barely important in the first film. Kristoff was important in the first film's second act, when he helped Anna find Elsa's castle. However, in the third act, he wasn't much more than a decoy for Anna's act of true love. In Frozen 2, Kristoff is important in the first act, where he helps Elsa and Anna find the mysterious land. He doesn't serve much importance after that, but he does provide a lot of the film's funniest moments. Also, Kristoff is used more sparingly in this film, than in the first film, which allowed Elsa to have the screentime she needed to grow as a character.
I was not a fan of Olaf in the first film, because he was obnoxious and served little, if any, importance to the plot. He's still not a useful or charming character in Frozen 2, but his immaturity is toned down, which is a relief. Sven doesn't do much, but the few jokes he gets are funny enough.
Oddly enough, Anna and Elsa's parents get to shine better in this film, than in the first film, despite dying in the first film. Although King Agnarr and Queen Iduna didn't do that great of a job at protecting their daughters in the first film, I got the sense that they were caring, good people. Frozen 2 proves that and their flashbacks in Frozen 2 make them more likable and interesting characters than they were in the first film.
In the first film, Grand Pabbie made Anna forget that Elsa had powers. He thought that'd be for the best, but it wasn't. Keeping the two sisters apart made sense, in order to keep Elsa from accidentally freezing Anna, for the second time. However, by erasing Anna's memories of Elsa having powers, it made Anna think Elsa was ignoring her, because she didn't care about her anymore, which added years of painful drama for the two young girls. In other words, Grand Pabbie really messed up in the first film. Thankfully, he's much more useful in Frozen 2. He gives the sisters the info they need and handles the important task of keeping Arendelle safe, while the main heroes are away.
As for the new characters, none of them have that prominent of a role, but that's not a bad thing. After all, if the film added a bunch of new main characters, things would get too messy and complicated.
Lieutenant Mattias is a likeable and noble knight of Arendelle. He's a mostly serious character, but he has a few funny moments. Ryder has nice chemistry with Kristoff, for the couple of scenes where they hangout. Honeymaren serves as a new friend and advice giver to Elsa. The Nokk serves as a waterhorse for Elsa and joins Elsa in some of the film's coolest scenes.
The first Frozen film does have Frozen 2 beat when it comes to the villain category. Prince Hans and the Duke of Weselton were both enjoyable and memorable villains and their absence effects Frozen 2. Well, they sort of have a cameo, which was cool, but it wasn't enough. Although Frozen Fever explained what Prince Hans had been doing since the first film, I wanted to know more about what he's been up to and if he's still evil. I'm also curious about the Duke of Weselton. Does he still think of Elsa as a monster? I also wonder if Elsa is still mad at the Duke. She seemed upset at seeing a figure of Hans, but didn't seem to mind seeing a figure of the Duke.
Some people have mocked Frozen 2 for having a weak villain. However, the villain was just meant to show Arendelle's rough past. All of his scenes are flashbacks. He wasn't meant to be a well-developed or interesting character. Also, the villain has about 5 minutes of screentime, maybe even less than that, so he doesn't really effect the film.
Although I prefer traditional animation, the first Frozen film had some really stylish and appealing CGI. Frozen 2 has even better animation. Things look sharper and even more eye-catching than the first film. Special credit should go to Anna and Elsa's outfits. They have much cooler and prettier outfits to wear in this film.
The film's songs were good. Elsa's "Into the Unknown" song is the highlight and I'd argue it gives "Let it Go" competition for the best Elsa song. All of the other songs, excluding Olaf's song, were catchy and charming. The music was very pleasant and lovely.
Like the first film, the voice acting is really good. Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, and Jonathan Groff continue to do strong voiceover work. Alan Tudyk gets to return, which is always a treat. I do question why they got Alfred Molina to voice King Agnarr. Alfred Molina is a very talented actor, but Agnarr has a limited amount of lines, so I don't get why they got a celebrity to voice him. As far as I know, Alfred Molina wasn't part of the advertising, so it seemed like a jarring choice. He does a nice job, but I still question that casting choice. Special mention goes to Ciaran Hinds, an amazing and underrated actor, who voices Grand Pabbie.
Frozen 2 lacks the interesting villains of the first film, but it outdoes the first film, by having a more captivating plot and for letting Elsa be the queen of coolness that she was always destined to be.