Disney and Pixar’s long-awaited sequel to Inside Out; Inside Out 2 has finally made its way to the big screen. The follow-up film reintroduces us to Riley as a dun dun dun…TEENAGER! In the animated film, we watch Riley navigate a new series of emotions through the ever-expanding teenage mind.

Inside Out 2 introduces four new emotions: Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), and Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos) with the tease of others to come. I’m talking about you Nana Nostalgia. Anxiety comes in fingers ablaze ready to take over the coveted motherboard. Envy is a quirky small emotion. Embarrassment is one we all know too well in our lives. Then, a true surprise, Ennui which I had to look up. Ennui: a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction: BOREDOM. They roll up with their cell phone controller ready to ignore everyone. I mean, Is there a more tweenager emotion? I think not.

The short of it is when the new emotions come in Anxiety takes over kicking out the original core emotions. Now, Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear, and Sadness have to save who they believe Riley should be and make their way back to headquarters.


Overall Inside Out 2 is a good sequel, but for me lacks a lot of the originality of the original. Even though we are introduced to a lot of new characters the film inevitably mirrors the scenarios of the first. Something in the system breaks down and we have to go on a mission through the brain to get back to HQ and fix it. The outcome: everyone needs to work together because emotions are complex.

Although Inside Out 2 does expand the world of Riley’s brain we’re no longer focusing on her core memories. This time we focus on her new ever-changing belief system. The idea is still very similar to the first film, which is that the imperfect makes us perfect. Many of the situations Riley faces are relatable not just to adults, but also to children, who can easily understand and connect with the challenges that may arise in their own lives. The few moments we get with Riley and her parents are almost a manual of what it’ll be like starting puberty. I wish the film had more moments like these, seeing Riley and her family and navigating her new body changes versus watching the emotions figure out their problems separately. 

That said, one of my favorite moments introduced the Vault where Riley’s deepest dark secrets are locked away. There we meet some fun and hilarious characters. It was great to see the different nostalgic animation styles and characters to give some desperately needed comedy. After they break out of the vault we are basically on the same journey as the original film even visiting some of the same places, ie Imagination. 

I don’t understand why Inside Out 2 didn’t take the lessons of the original, that we’re better together and emotions are complex, and run with it. Why separate everyone instead of hilariously figuring out how to navigate puberty together? Instead, we get a rewrite of the first film with experiences so similar I found myself checking out while waiting for something interesting or original to happen. When we finally get to the (redundant) ending, it is the full-circle moment we’ve all experienced. I also think this is the first film Pixar wasn’t tirelessly trying to make me cry. 

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