The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

‘Inside Out 2’ breathes new life into old emotions

Disney and Pixar’s latest movie finds its ground by showcasing an older and more emotionally mature Riley Andersen as she struggles to take on her biggest challenge yet — being a teenager.

Back in 2015, “Inside Out” captured the hearts and minds of many of its viewers, cementing itself as a Disney and Pixar classic. Nine years later, the beloved characters from the original movie attempt to recreate this same magic with the sequel “Inside Out 2.”

“Inside Out 2” has been a box office hit so far, earning over $155 million in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada. Upon reflection, I am inclined to mostly agree with the hype.

Unlike many of Disney’s recent sequels, I believe “Inside Out 2” is a solid film. Clever and relatable, the movie made for a fun theater-going experience.

“Inside Out 2” picks up two years after the first one left off. Emotions Joy, Anger, Sadness, Disgust, and Fear have become an efficient team throughout Riley Andersen’s early life. Now, Riley is 13 years old and preparing to enter high school, which means she must deal with a whole host of new emotions.

I really enjoyed the portrayal of Riley’s new emotions — Anxiety, Envy, Ennui, and Embarrassment. Maya Hawke’s Anxiety and Ayo Edebiri’s Envy, in particular, spend most of the movie taking over Riley’s mind in an effort to get her to fit in with “cool” and popular hockey players.

I found their takeover to be very relatable and realistic to what people actually go through when entering new stages of their lives. I also became invested in Riley herself as a character and as an extension of her emotions.

Her story in the movie, outside of everything happening in her mind, is extremely down to Earth. She struggles with friends moving away, a new high school, and trying to live up to the lofty expectations of her own brain.

The stakes in this movie were smaller than in the original. In this one, Riley is not trying to run away. However, I thought that a simple hockey camp being blown up to be an end-all be-all event really added to the theme of anxiety overtaking all other emotions.

Watching Riley slowly become consumed by her anxious thoughts caused me to root for her to get over her self-doubt and rediscover who she truly is. While there were times in the movie when I wanted to join Anger and throw Anxiety and all her baggage out the window, I recognized the character’s importance in the film.

There are times when having slight anxiety can be good in life, as it can cause people to plan ahead. However, having too much anxiety leads to the debilitating panic that Riley often experiences.

If I have one criticism of the movie, it’s that it sometimes retreads the same ground as the original. Joy goes through a somewhat similar character arc by going on an adventure to cope with a new emotion in Riley’s mind.

However, I don’t think that the similarities are enough to take away from the movie and still found myself having an enjoyable experience. Riley’s beliefs were done well and made the new movie feel fresh and interesting.

Overall, I found myself enjoying “Inside Out 2” and found it to be a much-needed success from Disney and Pixar.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Riley Dunn
Riley Dunn, Arts Reporter
Riley Dunn is a first-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in English and Creative Writing and Journalism and Mass Communications. Prior to her time at the DI, Riley interned for Swimming World Magazine.