In 2015, Pete Docter and the crew at Pixar delivered one of their top-tier films with the original “Inside Out.” Now, nine years later, they’ve released the sequel, “Inside Out 2.” Pixar sequels can be hit or miss, rarely reaching the same level as the original (with “Toy Story 2” being the exception), and some are just not great (I see you, “Cars 2”). So where does “Inside Out 2” fall? I caught the film on Tuesday, and here are my thoughts.

“Inside Out 2” takes us back to San Francisco and into Riley’s mind, now that she’s a teenager. The film opens with our team of familiar emotions guiding Riley through a championship hockey game, showing Joy’s realization that each emotion has an important role to play. Everything seems awesome until our emotions are woken up by an alarm signaling Riley’s entry into puberty, introducing new emotions: Anxiety, Envy, Embarrassment, and Ennui. Now, Joy and company must navigate how these new emotions and the originals will coexist.

Most of the original cast returns, including Amy Poehler (Joy), Phyllis Smith (Sadness), and Lewis Black (Anger). However, there are some notable exceptions: Tommy Hale voices Fear instead of Bill Hader, and Liza Lapira replaces Mindy Kaling as Disgust. Additionally, Maya Hawke (Anxiety), Ayo Edebiri (Envy), Adele Exarchpoulos (Ennui), and Paul Walter Hauser (Embarrassment) join the talented cast.

The absence of Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling is felt. Tommy Hale’s performance is commendable, but just not the same quality as Bill Hader. The story feels smaller this time, perhaps due to its similarity to the original, with Joy and the other emotions once again being sent out of headquarters to save Riley. Despite this, the movie remains enjoyable, adding depth to familiar characters and introducing new ones effectively. The film resonates with universal adolescent experiences and delivers a powerful message about the importance of self-awareness.

While “Inside Out 2” may not reach the heights of “Toy Story 2,” it’s packed with charm and enjoyment. It may not make my Pixar top-tier list, but it’s certainly up there. This is a great film for families—I can’t wait to take my 11 and 12-year-old daughters. However, you don’t have to be a kid or have kids to appreciate it; this film speaks to the human experience. While it may not hit as hard as the original, it’s a solid follow-up.

Overall, I would rate this movie a 4 out of 5. Gather your loved ones and catch “Inside Out 2” in theaters this weekend!

Jake Dietz
Jake Dietz is a father, husband, Latter-day Saint, movie lover, and all around geek. He considers himself a member of many fandoms including The Cosmere by Brandon Sanderson, The Lord of the Rings, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Star Trek, Star Wars, and many, many more. If it has a good story, Jake is interested in it.


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