‘Inside Out 2’ Movie Review: New Emotions, Same Charm.

Inside Out 2 Movie Review

As a huge fan of Pixar’s original Inside Out, I had high hopes for its sequel. The first film’s insightful and charming take on emotions is something I still reference and adore to this day, so my expectations were definitely high. While it’s tough to say the sequel outshines the original (I’m a big nostalgia emotion coming in), it definitely matches its magic.

So what’s Inside Out 2 about? We’re revisiting Riley’s mind as she navigates her teenage years, and we’re meeting new emotions like Anxiety, Envy, Ennui, and Embarrassment. Returning voices Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, and Lewis Black are joined by Maya Hawke and more. Directed by Kelsey Mann with a screenplay by Meg LeFauve and Dave Holstein, Inside Out 2 officially hits theaters on June 14, 2024.

Inside Out 2 Movie Trailer

Inside Out 2 Movie Review: What I Did and Didn’t Like

There’s a lot to love about Inside Out 2. The story is heartfelt and relatable, bridging the gap between the simplicity of childhood and the complex emotional landscape of adolescence. The introduction of new emotions—Anxiety, Envy, Embarrassment, and Ennui—injects fresh energy into the script, making the film even more engaging.

Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, quickly becomes a standout character. Her squeals and demeanor add a layer of charm that is hard to resist.  However, I did miss the original voices of Fear (previously voiced by Bill Hader) and Disgust (originally voiced by Mindy Kaling). 

The Script

The story follows Riley, now a 13-year-old, as she navigates new challenges and emotions in preparation for high school. Everything is going pretty well overall. She’s excelling in school, leading her hockey team, and maintaining solid friendships. However, this stability gets disrupted when puberty arrives—quite literally—with a wrecking crew that starts to remodel her emotional headquarters to accommodate the new emotions. Riley’s journey into a rather competitive hockey camp further complicates matters as she struggles with self-doubt fueled by Anxiety’s increasing hold. 

The story is compelling, touching on universal themes of growing up and the emotional chaos accompanying it. Whether you’re an adult reminiscing about your teenage years or a child just beginning to navigate them, the narrative offers something for everyone.

Inside Out 2

Performances

The voice acting is stellar as it is with any Pixar project. Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith bring Joy and Sadness back to life superbly, and Lewis Black continues to bring the right amount of comedic rage as Anger. 

Newcomers like Maya Hawke as Anxiety and Ayo Edebiri as Envy add a fresh but fitting element. And the dynamic between the old and new emotions is both entertaining and insightful, making for a film that is 100% on par with the 2015 movie.

Inside Out 2
Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Overall Thoughts

Words I never thought I’d say… I LOVE Anxiety. She’s a wonderful addition to the Inside Out universe and will undoubtedly become a massive merchandise success for Disney. (I’m just over here waiting for my Anxiety-weighted blanket, you guys).

In a world where sequels often fail to live up to the original, Inside Out 2 impresses, delivering a story that’s as heartwarming and impactful as its predecessor. Whether you’re a fan of the original or new to Riley’s emotional adventures, this film is relatable for adults, fun for kids, and filled with witty humor and rather deep behavioral insights that will leave a lasting impression. It captures the complexity of the human mind beautifully, making you appreciate both its simplicity and depth.

Inside Out 2 Movie Review:

Grade: A+