Inside Out 2

Verdict: Inside Out 2 boasts stellar visuals, a fun voice cast and imaginative ideas but it can't quite recapture the magic of its predecessor.

  • Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Maya Hawke
  • June 14th 2024
  • Pete Docter, Kelsey Mann

Anxiety arrives in Riley’s mind and fights Joy for dominance over the teenager’s emotions in this animated follow-up.

In Pixar’s latest animated sequel, it’s time to go back inside the mind of Riley and meet all the new emotions she’s experiencing during puberty.

In the follow-up to the 2015 original, Riley’s first five emotions – Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Tony Hale) and Disgust (Liza Lapira) – are awoken by a mysterious alarm announcing the start of Riley’s puberty.

Workmen enter headquarters and tweak the console ahead of the arrival of four more emotions – Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos) and Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser).

Joy has always been in charge of Riley’s emotions but now she has competition on her hands; Anxiety fights her for dominance over the teenager (voiced by Kensington Tallman) during her stay at an important ice hockey camp.

The sequel was never going to reach the heights of the first film simply because the original’s inventiveness and creativity was such a novelty. However, this outing is still smart, relatable and hilarious and there are still brilliant ideas, particularly the visual representations of sarcasm and a brainstorm.

The film excels in the first half with the introduction of the new characters and loses its way in the middle, almost like the filmmakers didn’t know where to go from its fantastic opening. Thankfully, they bring it back around for a meaningful conclusion.

This is the most mature film Pixar has ever made and you have to wonder if children will appreciate it as much as adults. Hopefully, it can serve as useful educational tool to help parents and their kids talk about these big complicated emotions.

Now that the cast is so big, it’s no surprise that some characters get sidelined. Joy and Anxiety are the leads – Poehler and Hawke are perfectly cast in these voice roles – but characters like Envy and Ennui get very little to do.

Inside Out 2 boasts stellar visuals, a fun voice cast and imaginative ideas but it can’t quite recapture the magic of its predecessor.

In cinemas from Friday 14th June.

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