It Just Occured to Me: Frozen 2
Is Frozen 2 better than Frozen 1? Why does Kristoff have very little do in the sequel other than rock out on a 80's power ballad with some reindeer? Is "All is Found" the best song on the new album?
So, most people have pointed that Frozen 2 ends with an abrupt 180 where Elsa becomes the ultimate planiteer (Captain Planet joke) and Anna’s all like “okay, I’ll be queen and marry kristoff” and in thus doing so, sours all the good stuff that was special about Frozen: part one. However, I’m here to argue that Frozen one and two are continuous story in which the pay-off and endings are earned.
A little background: I really liked Frozen: the music, the costumes, and the characters, especially Anna whose character development was driven by her love for her sister. The inciting action or conflict is sparked when Anna wants to repair a bond with her sister Elsa, whom we empathize with if not directly relate to. Elsa provides a clear motivation for Anna, but is a character in her own right who doesn’t just further the plot. We do empathize with her in those feelings of alienation/hopelessness and celebrate her “let it go” moment. Anna develops a friendship with Olaf and Kristoff as they accompany her on her quest to get Elsa, survives being frozen, being betrayed by Hans and providing a selfless act for her sister. Both sisters are restored and their bond has been strengthened. They end with anna and Elsa ice skating. Further shorts (that did not have to be tacked on to Coco) sell more merch but also show the bond that the sisters share and how important each one is to the other.
Frozen 2 picks up with Anna and Elsa’s inner circle expanded with Kristoff and Olaf, both of whom are extensions of Anna’s character, but more on that later. Both Anna and Elsa have internal conflicts: Anna’s fear of the disruption of the status quo and Elsa‘s internal conflict with who she is and the voice. When the plot shows up to get both sisters on a quest to solve conflict, (I’ll be honest, the inciting action here is pretty weak) it shows again their dedication to each other. Elsa reaches atahallan and discovers she is a goddess/powerful nature spirit and feels complete with this reveal.
I guess this is the part where I talk about Kristoff and Olaf and how they serve the plot: mainly, they don’t. Kristoff and Olaf represent anna’s resolved character arch: Olaf being the mystical (eternal?) tie to her sister (which explains his death in the cave and later rebirth) and Kristoff being the future (as a supportive partner)
Okay, back to plot resolution time: Elsa freezes but is able to send a message to her sister. Both Sisters work in tandem to fix a problem in which an ancestor exploited an entire group of people. Anna‘s final role as the leader is revealed as she makes the very tough decision to do what is right. About that time, Kristoff rides in to (in my opinion) affirm this new role in Anna’s life.
Elsa somehow revives and is now a goddess who saves arrendale, but abdicates in favor of Anna, further cementing anna new role’s as leader. Fifth element Elsa decides that as a literal goddess, she feels like she belongs in a place like Atahalan. Her character arch is resolved with this revelation. This is why we see Elsa last.
So, ultimately is Frozen 2 better than one? I subscribe to the notion that they are a complete story, with the first introducing us and making us care about the sisters and leading up to endings that are earned.
Also, “all is found“ is the best song by far with “lost In the woods” as a close second.