Inside Out 2: what have the critics have said about the beloved Pixar film's sequel?

Anger, played by Lewis Black (Inside Out 2, Official Trailer, Disney UK)
Anger, played by Lewis Black (Inside Out 2, Official Trailer, Disney UK)

There are a few cultural events from 2015 that still stand out in the memory. Adele released 25 and Drake released the persistently catchy Hotling Bling. Kim Kardashian had her first son Saint, Jon Snow died in Game of Thrones, the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey took over the world, and then there was Pixar’s animation Inside Out.

The animation, which anthropomorphised the different emotions inside the head of an 11-year-old girl, became one of Pixar’s most successful films ever, pulling in a whopping $857 million (today it’s still the studio’s sixth most lucrative film). People around the world loved the idea of emotions – which sometimes do seem like individual entities – scrambling inside someone’s head and vying for space.

Now, nine years later, Pixar hopes to create some of the same magic – releasing a sequel, Inside Out 2, which comes out in the UK tomorrow.

The film, which is set shortly after the events of the first, will pick up with young teen Riley, who is now about to head to high school. These days, there is a new section of Riley’s mind called her Sense of Self, which is about to turn everything upside down.

So what have critics said about the new film?

On the whole, Inside Out 2 has wowed reviewers

Riley, played by Kensington Tallman (Inside Out 2, Official Trailer, Disney UK)
Riley, played by Kensington Tallman (Inside Out 2, Official Trailer, Disney UK)

Reviewers at Empire, BBC Culture, The Telegraph, Digital Spy, The Hollywood Reporter and The Independent all thoroughly enjoyed the new film.

Empire praised the film’s risk-taking. The creators could have easily picked up somewhere else with a new character, it said, but they decided to tackle the tricky subject of teenagerdom: Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos) and Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser) have now all showed up, and the premise is, undoubtedly an interesting one.

Similarly, Digital Spy said it was a bold move making a second film: “Inside Out exemplified Pixar at its strongest, taking a complex idea of what makes us who we are, and turning it into a relatable blockbuster for all ages” said Digital Spy. With such big boots to fill, “we get why you might be feeling a little anxious about Inside Out 2.”

It then went on to give the film four stars, saying the sequel is “a worthy follow-up that expands the world with brilliant tweaks to the concept, as well as delivering witty gags that simplify big ideas.”

And the BBC went further, saying the sequel “could be this summer's best Hollywood entertainment”.

“The arrival of the new Emotions is just what the story needs, because the ensuing power struggle provides the conflict that the previous Inside Out was lacking,” wrote its critic, Nicholas Barber.

The Hollywood Reporter described the new film as “delightful” while The Independent said, “Sure, there’s nothing in the film that matches the pure heartbreak of the first, when Riley’s imaginary friend Bing Bong (Richard Kind) disappears into nothingness. But Inside Out 2 proves that it’s ludicrous, at this point, to accuse the studio of having run out of ideas.”

But there have been a few critiques

The different emotions inside Riley’s head (Inside Out 2, Official Trailer, Disney UK)
The different emotions inside Riley’s head (Inside Out 2, Official Trailer, Disney UK)

Nevertheless, both The Guardian and Vulture were less complimentary.

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw enjoyed the film but found it was missing a key element of becoming a teenager – the strange, confusing and exciting arrival of sexual desire.

“There are a lot of entertaining moments, including a great demonstration of what sulky teen sarcasm does to the tectonic plates of your emotional geology,” he said in his three-star review. “But it sees the teen transition in terms of a moral crisis, of abandoning and then reclaiming the niceness of childhood innocence; it’s a little bit convoluted and repetitive.

“And, in its sanitised, Disneyfied way, this film can’t quite bring itself to mention the most important new teen emotion of all. Have the grownups in charge of this film really forgotten?”

Vulture on the other hand took issue with the film’s depiction of Riley who, it says, is “more puppet than full character”.

“Inside Out 2 starts to get a little weird,” said Vulture. “There’s the real world... Then there’s the interior one, which feels more and more like it’s intruding on Riley’s story rather than enhancing it. New characters and elements get added, the metaphor becomes overextended.”

Inside Out 2 is out in the UK on 14 June