- Much like the first film, this film has a fantastic soundtrack. "Ways To Be Wicked" is a high-energy opening number that is a worthy successor to the first film’s "Rotten to the Core." "What’s My Name" is a tantalizing villain song with an awesome hip-hop vibe. "Chillin’ Like a Villain" is a fun, upbeat comic relief song and scene that has quickly turned into a fan favorite. "Space Between" is a simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking ballad performed by two of the film’s greatest talents. "It’s Goin’ Down" is a Hamilton-inspired rap battle/sword fight that is without a doubt one of the highlights of the film. And "You and Me" provides endearing closure to the film’s story.
- Though many fans didn’t enjoy this, I personally loved the concept of Dude talking. I’ll be honest, I’m a sucker for talking dogs in anything, so I was all there for that. It was a cute and entertaining side plot, and I’m a big fan of Bobby Moynihan’s other voice work, so it was neat to see him in this role.
- The new characters are fantastic. Uma is a bad ass, intimidating villain, but you also find yourself able to understand her perspective. Harry Hook (Thomas Doherty) and his insane demeanor are a laugh a minute. Gil (Dylan Playfair), son of Gaston, was my personal favorite, being the lovable, dimwitted sidekick. Dizzy Tremaine (Anna Cathcart) has become a fan favorite, and it stands to reason, her personality being simply adorable and her storyline being very heartwarming.
- Lonnie (Diane Doan) had a great storyline as well, building on her character, as she had not been focused on heavily in the first film, putting out a good message, and connecting her even more closely to her mother.
- There were some character relationship arcs delved into that weren’t touched upon much in the first film, such as Ben and Evie, and Jay and Mal, which was very satisfying to see.
- Parallels are some of my favorite tropes in film, so any parallels to the first film or other parts of this film added a lot to the movie for me.
- Ben and Mal’s relationship really developed, breaking and being put back together again, and we finally got a kiss!
- Much like in the first film, there were many deeper, darker messages below the surface that I applaud Disney Channel for tackling, even if subtly. We see four kids who grew up with abusive parents adjusting to life without them, some of them being relieved to leave that life behind them, and others feeling unable to as it was the only life they ever knew. Not to mention that, even though we see Beast (Dan Payne) and Ben as benevolent leaders, their banishment of the villains to the Isle of the Lost may not have had as much of an all-around positive impact as they hoped for it to.
- Dove Cameron is one of my very favorite actresses, so it comes as no surprise that her performance here very much stole the show in my eyes.
- I’ve always wanted Mal to turn into a dragon in at least some installment of this franchise, so the final battle was definitely a favorite scene of mine, not to mention Uma going “full Ursula” was awesome, too.
- The overall message of “you don’t have to be strictly one thing or another; you can be many things” seemed very original and clever to me.
- We got a good deal of references to the Disney movies that originated these characters. Gotta love that!
- It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, and it’s got some awesome action sequences (particularly the swordfighting).
- As most fans are saying, the forced heteronormative romance between Carlos and Jane (Brenna D’Amico) could have been done without. It’s to be expected, yes, but still is a bit of a damper on the overall film. I do stress the word bit, however, as it didn’t end up being quite as bad as I feared it would be. It was handled in a sweet enough way that I could tolerate it, but if I were given the choice to take it or leave it, I’d certainly leave it.
- I loved Mal’s arc as a whole, but its beginning and end didn’t make a ton of sense to me. I can understand Ben being upset about Mal using magic to “cheat” at her responsibilities, as magic is frowned upon in Auradon, but the extent to which it bothered him and made him associate it with evil didn’t quite add up to me. Then, at the end, I couldn’t quite follow why simply seeing Ben’s mosaic of Mal made her able to know who she was. I don’t quite see how the purple hair and dress were inherently “Isle” as opposed to “Auradon,” and the stress on having her eyes be green was a little odd to me considering her eyes are green; that doesn’t have to do with the fact that she comes from the Isle (even though she does have certain evil powers with her eyes). Neither of these instances seemed like strong enough catalysts to me for what followed them.
- Another criticism I share with some other fans is that the pacing felt a little off. I can’t pinpoint what exactly it was about it or what I would do to fix it, it just felt like some scenes may have been in an odd order and some dragged on.
Despite the occasional hitch throughout, I still loved this movie on the whole. We always fear what’s going to happen when a new installment of our favorite franchise is made, hoping that it won’t take a turn for the worst, and to me, this did everything but that. It was practically everything I could have wanted out of it. And now, we wait and hope that Disney announces Descendants 3!