‘Frozen II’: Critics Mostly Enchanted By Disney’s ‘Deeply Strange’ Sequel

While not as good as the 2013 original, reviews admire the film’s music and heart

Frozen 2
"Frozen II" / Disney

“Frozen” has become to Generation Z’s what “The Lion King” was to millennials: a childhood-defining animated epic that has earned untold billions in revenue for Disney. But how does “Frozen II,” directed again by Chris Buck and newly minted Disney Animation head Jennifer Lee, hold up to that standard?

The answer seems to be well enough. The first round of reviews have come in, and with 43 reviews logged so far, the film has an 81% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus seems to be that the film’s story is not as cohesive or powerful as the first “Frozen,” and there doesn’t seem to be a “Let It Go” anywhere in the film’s new array of songs. But, the incredibly stunning visuals and emotional core — the bond between Elsa and Anna — sees the film through.

Frozen II is a deeply strange movie,” Hannah wrote Lodge for The Beat. Firstly, in regards to expectations, it’s got some weighty themes for a Disney film. Secondly, the structure, rhythm and pacing of this film doesn’t follow the traditional ebb and flow you expect as an audience member. At times that’s refreshing, and at other times it’s awkward..”

TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde didn’t feel that a sequel to “Frozen” was necessary, but sees some interesting experiments in animation and theme at play.

“The implications of Arendelle’s past sins coming back to haunt the kingdom could also certainly lead parents to interesting conversations with their children about history, politics and crimes committed by those in power,” he wrote.

“Frozen II” hits theaters on Nov. 22. Read some more of the reviews below:

Phillip de Semiyen, Time Out

“If ‘Frozen’ was about coming to terms with who you are, the sequel is about transformation. Does it offer any further evidence to those who interpreted “Let It Go” as Elsa’s covert coming-out anthem? Sadly no, though she remains an intriguingly elliptical canvas on which to project genuinely groundbreaking ideas about empowerment and identity. Elsa may be an icon, but there’s nothing set in stone about her, and it’s good to have her back.”

Kate Erbland, Indiewire

“‘Frozen’ may have ended with everything in its right place, but Lee and Buck’s long-awaited followup makes the case that a sequel was necessary, not because it was demanded, but because “Frozen” was never the correct end of the story. Loving the characters and themes of “Frozen” and wanting to see more of them can only naturally lead to “Frozen 2,” which does away with so many of the happily-ever-after elements of the first film (and finds new, updated ones). By moving the tension between the traditional and the bold to the forefront, ‘Frozen 2’ is one of the more daring visions of the future of Disney moviemaking, all bolstered by gorgeous animation and a handful of instant-classic new jams.

Mike Ryan, UPROXX

“The first ‘Frozen’ is such lightning in a bottle that it’s impossible to capture that exactly. The phenomena around that first movie is one of those once-in-a-generation type events that can’t just be duplicated, so why even try to do exactly that? What’s smart about ‘Frozen II’ is, instead of trying to just recapture its past glory, it decides to be interesting. And when making a sequel to a cultural phenomenon, “being interesting” seems both pretty rare and the best we can hope for.”

Nicholas Barber, BBC

“Narratively, ‘Frozen II’ is a mess, an avalanche of half-formed ideas which might have been more suited to a spin-off novel or a video game, and which leaves us asking WTF, or What The Frozen? And yet, beyond its thicket of tangled concepts and subplots, there is nothing to it but one small revelation which astute viewers will have predicted after five minutes. Remember how we were all fooled into thinking that dastardly Prince Hans was the hero in ‘Frozen’? The twists in ‘Frozen II’ are fumbled in comparison.”