Harland Banks’s review published on Letterboxd:
Plot- Ela the Snow Queen has an extraordinary gift -- the power to create ice and snow. But no matter how happy she is to be surrounded by the people of Arendelle, Elsa finds herself strangely unsettled. After hearing a mysterious voice call out to her, Elsa travels to the enchanted forests and dark seas beyond her kingdom -- an adventure that soon turns into a journey of self-discovery.
I wasn't a huge fan of the first Frozen film so I had very little to no expectations going into this second film. So when I left the theatre with a smile on my face and a feeling of enjoyment I was actually very shocked. Compared to the first film, Frozen 2 is actually a well-structured film with a decent story that doesn't need to rely on musical numbers to further the story and the development of its characters. Despite Frozen 2 being a better film than expected the film made a lot of mistakes and I think a lot of people have ignored those mistakes.
Frozen 2 is still a pretty simple and generic film, for the most part, it follows a pretty ordinary blueprint that most Disney animated films do. I know this is a kids movie and a lot of people expect this but I always expect something a little deeper and unique and if your like me and expect more work put into the overall story and plot then you will probably be pretty let down. It's very predictable, every twist and turn aren't really twists or turns because you expect them. I did like that it felt like they tried to make this more of a personal character story but it felt like they were focusing on completing a checklist most of the time that it just wasn't very interesting to watch. With that being said some of the reoccurring main characters mainly in the two sisters felt stronger and more likeable this time around compared to the first film while other characters such as Olaf and Kristoff felt even more pointless, boring or just more annoying in this film compared to the first one. So while Frozen 2 has moments of great writing it feels like the filmmakers had so many ideas while also feeling obligated to stick to a blueprint so the final product was both fun and empowering at certain times while feeling boring and just messy at other times.
Frozen is well known for its original music and powerful musical scenes. Though there are obviously incredible singers and the songs are great from a musical perspective with some great lines the music doesn't actually really fit well into the film at all. Most of the songs stall the film and ruin the flow and pacing of the movie, this is mainly because the songs to really effectively further the plot of the film. Instead, something would happen and then it felt like they would use songs to fill in extra time by having the songs just reiterate what just happened like it was very easy to understand. The best example of this is with the song Lost In The Woods which may the best impressive track in the film from a sound perspective but is completely unnecessary for this film. This happened with quite a bit of the tracks throughout this film, they all just felt unnecessary and shallow especially compared to the first film. The songs still sound great especially individually but they just don't work for the film.
The most surprising aspect of this film was how impressive the animation was. Rarely do I watch animated films and think to myself "Wow I really benefited from watching this in the cinema" but the animation in this film is so big and cinematic that there's no way I would have enjoyed it as much as I did if I did watch at home. There are some amazing character, animal and climate designs as you would aspect but the animation for all the magic looks incredible. You can tell that it was meant to look and feel like a step up from the original film especially from a technical aspect and they do a great job at pulling it off. Like even the spirit magic looks amazing but nothing compares to how incredible everything Elsa does looks on screen.
Despite the obvious storyline, music and pacing issues with this film, Frozen 2 was still a surprisingly fun time with some great moments and gorgeous animation. As you'd expect from a big-budget Disney film, Frozen 2 was technically sound film that had very few to now flaws in terms of it's sound design or animation and for a musical that is clearly a huge benefit. I also really enjoyed some of the characters in the film despite not liking them in previous films, I somehow found some of them more refreshing while I found other more unbearable. Despite the story being flawed and filled with generic Disney like moments I did like how at times Frozen 2 film like a great character study/character self discovery film. The more this filmed focused on it's main character and plot the better and more coherent this film was. I could easily tell a lot of the problems they had were trying to make this an ensemble film but without any real ideas to pull that off, they made a mistake by not going the Toy Story 4 root imo. At the end of the day there were definitely some great aspect of this film and both me and my girlfriend really enjoyed this film but I can't ignore the obvious flaws that take this film down a level.