Inside Out 2 (2024)

Inside Out 2 (2024) Cover

Inside Out 2 offers yet another creative story revolving around the new emotions teens often experience. Beautifully animated, well-voiced, and told in a breezy 90 minutes, it delivers a solid follow-up to its predecessor. Kelsey Mann, story supervisor for Monsters University, The Good Dinosaur, and Onward, makes his directorial debut in this film, showcasing Pixar’s trust in Mann's ability to carry on this prestigious franchise.

Inside Out 2 returns to the mind of newly minted teenager Riley just as headquarters is undergoing a sudden demolition to make room for something entirely unexpected: new Emotions! Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust, who've long been running a successful operation by all accounts, aren't sure how to feel when Anxiety shows up. And it looks like she's not alone. — Pixar Animation Studios

Featuring a large voice ensemble, the film sees Amy Poehler reprising her role as Joy, a yellow happy emotion, Phyllis Smith as Sadness, a blue sad emotion, Lewis Black as Anger, a red angry emotion, Tony Hale as Fear, a purple scared emotion (replacing Bill Hader from the first film), and Liza Lapira as Disgust, a green disgusted emotion (replacing Mindy Kaling from the first film). New additions to the cast include Maya Hawke as Anxiety, a new orange anxious emotion, along with Ayo Edebiri, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Paul Walter Hauser, and Kensington Tallman (replacing Kaitlyn Dias as Riley). All of these talents bring their emotions to life with skill and enthusiasm.

Cinematography by Adam Habib and Jonathan Pytko brings the world of Riley’s mind to life. As expected from Pixar, every frame is beautifully animated, though their high standards mean this level of quality is anticipated. The best moments are seeing how these new emotions directly affect Riley, offering much comedic relief. One of the funniest moments in the film is when it periodically cuts to the minds of Riley’s parents, showing how their emotions respond to Riley’s teenage angst.

Some of the side missions involving Riley’s old emotions returning to headquarters seem a little far-fetched and unimportant, but the screenplay by Meg LeFauve and Dave Holstein keeps the primary story moving forward with momentum. While there are four new emotions, Anxiety takes the primary driver's seat that Joy had in the first film, attempting to (over)think what is best for Riley.

The film carries a positive message about the importance of not letting one emotion, in this case, Anxiety, dominate one’s primary thoughts. Instead, it emphasizes the normalcy and healthiness of experiencing a spectrum of emotions. While the first film was fresh and groundbreaking, this sequel, while not quite as impressive, expands creatively in an admirable and unique way.

Final Verdict:Skillfully expands on its predecessor, introducing new emotions and navigating teen complexities. While not as groundbreaking, it delivers humor, heart, and a valuable message on emotional balance.