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Anna and Elsa in Frozen II

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Are you ready? When the original Frozen hit theaters it absolutely exploded. The movie became Disney's highest grossing animated feature in the history of ever. It's songs were all over the radio. It's merchandise was flying off the shelves. It's characters were being swarmed at Disney theme parks. Now six years later, the sequel is finally here, and according to most, it's a worthy, if not a superior, effort. Although, that may not be the compliment that it sounds like.

CinemaBlend's own Eric Eisenberg could only muster 2.5 stars for his review, stating that while the soundtrack of Frozen II was stellar, and the cast is top notch, it's not enough to save an otherwise messy story.

[T]he return to the magical city of Arendelle is a lacking experience – unable to keep afloat what is a dull and confusing story even while operating with another phenomenal soundtrack from composers Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and the tremendous voice cast.

Most of the rest of the reviews are positive, if not necessarily glowing. Slashfilm is one of those that says the new Frozen is better than the original, though, in doing so it makes it clear that it's not holding the original Frozen in quite the high regard that many others might. You can check out the original Frozen on Disney by signing up for a 7-day free trial here. In the end, it's just slightly better than the original, and still has problems. Some aspects of the story don't work as well, though visually the film is a treat.

With its eye-popping animation, world-building, and character exploration, Frozen II is nominally a slight improvement on its predecessor. But it’s still limited by the burden of expectations.

A similar sort of response comes from i09. The review there also says that Frozen II is better than the first Frozen in total, but that, specifically, the structure of the plot has some serious and glaring issues.

Taken out of context, the story itself is hugely epic and fascinating, with enough mystery and revelation to drive the film from beginning to end. Unfortunately, most of it comes in dense, exposition-heavy chunks that are staggered across the film.

In watching the trailers for Frozen II one gets the impression that the sequel will be a somewhat darker and more mature story, for a generation that is six years older than it was when it saw the first Frozen. THR laments that, while the sequel teases us with these ideas, it ultimately doesn't follow through on them.

The journey we get is an equivocation, one that seems momentarily tempted by destinations perhaps not on the map but understandably travels on another, much safer road.

While that review is critical of Frozen II for taking the safe road, Variety holds a very different opinion. That review worries that fans looking for more Frozen, as they remember it from the first film, might actually be disappointed. Because Frozen II, for good or ill, is a very different move than its predecessor.

Ironically, Frozen fans may secretly be wishing for a more straightforward rehash, and to them, the best advice comes in the form of three little words: “Let it go.”

Certainly one never expect reviews to all agree as critics, like all people, have different tastes. Having said that, these Frozen II reviews are all over the map. Some think the music is excellent, others find most of it forgettable. Some think the animation is gorgeous, some find the character designs off-putting. Opinions are quite mixed.

The general consensus seems to be that Frozen II is good, but maybe not great. It's better than the original, but only if you didn't absolutely love the original. For those that did, it will be interesting to see how they respond when the film opens November 22.

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