Inside Out 2 Review – A Vividly Realized Sequel That Hits All The Right Emotional Notes

Pixar, for most, including myself, is easily the best animation studio out there. Ever since they came on the scene in 1995 with the revolutionary first Toy Story film, a lot of what they’ve touched has managed to turn into gold. Inside Out 2 is no exception.

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6 Min Read
Posted: June 26, 2024

Pixar, for most, including myself, is easily the best animation studio out there. Ever since they came on the scene in 1995 with the revolutionary first Toy Story film, a lot of what they’ve touched has managed to turn into gold. What makes Pixar unique, is its ability to create stories that resonate with children and adults like. This, paired with their unbelievable consistency that saw them release classic after classic for 15 to 20 years saw Pixar to be almost unanimously believed to be the best animated studio in the world. However, for the better part of the decade, Pixar has failed to produce the magic they’re so known for. While these films, are by no means bad, but for Pixar standards, they’re a major downgrade. The flurry of memorable characters and stories that were indelible to audiences, that Pixar managed to nail every time, began to stop. However, with Inside Out 2, Pixar seems to have gotten their old groove back.


I, myself, was skeptical of a sequel for Inside Out given Pixar’s current run of form, but I am happy to let you guys know, this movie was done brilliantly. The film’s Academy Award-winning predecessor was an immediate fan favourite and resonated with audiences, like every great Pixar film. For me, the sequel did that, and more. Just like the original, Inside Out 2 manages to push your sentimental buttons and get you in your feelings. I laughed at jokes about the need for negative emotions in every person, and by the end of the film, I needed a few tissues.


The brilliance of both Inside Out movies, lies in their extraordinary ability to explore the complexity of emotions, in a way both children and adults understand and enjoy. It not only enables children to question about their emotions and how their feelings work, but intrigues adults to reflect on the psychological constitutions that govern them and attempt to make sense of things that are beyond their comprehension. In the first movie, this was shown in the lesson that Sadness isn’t necessarily a bad trait, but it doesn’t stand independant of happiness or ‘Joy’ either.


Inside Out 2 deals with coming-of-age like no other film I’ve seen. Puberty is such a multi-faceted and troublesome topic to tackle, yet the movie nails in the head. After Toy Story, Inside Out is the franchise that I feel handles coming-of-age in the most perfect, emotional and touching manner. The focus shifts from the usual emotions, to the new ones like ‘Anxiety’ and in doing so, Pixar once again demonstrates the importance of what are generally seen as ‘bad’ emotions. The idea of such emotions as characters, to me, is simply genius. There were so many ways Pixar could’ve messed this up, but they perfectly capture the problems that so many girls face when they initially come into their pubescent years. These issues, are often overlooked, and the subject matter of the film, I feel is particularly important. So while accounting for that, it is possible I give this film brownie points which may see it surpass several other films(including the original Inside Out) in my mind.

Inside Out 2 takes the emotionally resonant themes of the first movie and builds upon them, not only in a way that furthers the character’s natural dispositions in a way that familiarises them(especially considering they’re emotions we all possess), but also fosters depth inside the world in which they reside. It is heartfelt, emotional, intense, insightful, imaginative, adventurous, and beautiful in the telling of its touching lesson.


One particular addition in the film I loved was the ‘beliefs system’. Without delving into too many spoilers, its purpose is to connect to Riley’s sense of self. This is very essential to the plot of the film. This device, allows the film to tell the years long journey of Riley’s in the span of a weekend. To do this, without the movie feeling packed, or leaving essential elements out is a remarkable feat and this accomplishment can NOT be understated. Along with the beliefs system, Inside Out 2, just like its predecessor manifests so many psychological elements of the human being in such spellbounding ways. These manifestations so easily convey the conventions of our emotions and how they work, that they have you wonder endlessly on what really goes on in your brain.


Visually, Inside Out 2 is absolutely stunning. The animation is so incredibly detailed that the fibres in the character’s clothes are even visible from your seat in theatre. The emotions are designed impeccably well, the physical appearance mimicking the characteristics of each specific emotion, giving each a grainy, grounded feel to them. Vibrant colours paired with the gorgeously rendered Pixar typical animation makes each moment feel surreal. It’s mesmerizing, and at times unsettling, but makes it feel all the more poignant.


While some people, may find the second act of the film tiresome and dragging, for me, it went by in a breeze of laughter, enjoyment and strong relatability. The profound impact of the climax and eventual conclusion to the film was absolutely brilliant, and I’m sure even if you found the film tedious in some moments, the third act’s heart-warming implications will make up for it.

Pixar has a higher ceiling and an unsurprisingly lower floor with its sequels compared to its original films. It has films like Cars 2, which isn’t a bad movie for ANY studio not named Pixar, and movies like The Incredibles 2 while not as encapsulating as the original are thoroughly enjoyable and live up to the name of the franchise. At the same time, Pixar has sequels that match and supercede the original in every way possible, with films like Toy Story 2 and 3. I guarantee you, Inside Out 2 is easily in the upper echelon of Pixar sequels, and Pixar films in general, which is a further testament to its greatness.


Franchises often manage to bank on nostalgia. Even great movies like ‘Toy Story 4’, need a little help from our old pal nostalgia, and it isn’t a difficult thing to manage when it’s for a sequel for a beloved film like Inside Out. The new movie, however, stands as its own work of art, while greatly improving and building upon the previous one. The movie pokes into shady dark corners, while never delving too deep. We are reminded of our own experiences, similar to Riley’s. We aren’t only delving into her personal issues, but problems everyone faces in their life.

The Verdict

A beautifully crafted film with the right mix of humour and moving moments, an incredible script and a willingness to explore a difficult yet relevant message, Inside Out 2 lives up to and in fact surpasses the legacy of its predecessor while building upon the sentimental aspects of the first film. The film manages to transcend just the safety of its world view and venture into uncharted territory, with shocks of the sublime for the audience. Pixar is once again. after a bit of a break, back at its storytelling peak, and I can’t recommend it enough. This world could not have been brought to life in a better way. as far as I can imagine. Pixar has yet another instant classic on their hands. A charming and beautiful film, see it in the theatre nearest to you ASAP.


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