I saw Frozen 2 last weekend like most people with younger family members who clearly couldn’t be allowed to see Richard Jewell, which (let’s face it) isn’t for any audience, no matter what age you are.
While the first Frozen was cute, had some catchy (if not earwig-worthy songs) and an adorable-bordering-on-creepy sentient snowman voiced by the how-is-he-still-working Josh Gad, it deserved all that it got in box office, critical acclaim and merchandising gold. And, anything with Kristin Bell, well, is worthy of our collective attention.
But Frozen 2? Ick.
What is this movie about? Even if I laid out the entire storyline for you, you still wouldn’t be able to cry spoiler foul. Because, here, try me on for size: Frozen 2 tells the story of how Elsa starts hearing a voice singing in the dark of night, follows it and finds out it is alerting her to a hidden forest where a battle between two races angered the spirits of the forest, which trapped them there forever. Elsa’s grandfather, it seemed, tried to steal land from the natives, causing the battle, which trapped them all. Then, Elsa finds out through her ice powers that water has memory and souls of dead creatures like horses can become alive again to help her reach an island in the middle of the ocean, and they can help get them into the hidden forest where embracing… Fuck. I can’t even remember anymore of the convoluted plot.
See? No spoilers.
But this isn’t a story about how incoherent Frozen 2 is, or how that if you create a blockbuster animated movie, you’re given a pass for the second one no matter how bad it is. No… This story is about how…
Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse is superior to all animated movies past, present and (maybe) future.
Spider-verse is about how Miles Morales becomes Spider-man alongside many other versions of Spider-man when a portal to other multi-verses is opened up by accident and they must work together to close it and save the day.
See? Simple plot.
For a long, long time Disney and Pixar were considered the be-all, end-all of animation. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Sony Pictures Animation was trying their darnedest to make a difference. Enter Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who took their non-Solo brand of humor and creativity and brought audiences something different, with a sense of humor, and
toast a bagel. (And if you don’t get that Spider-verse reference, you’re not a true fan.)
The fact of the matter is that in a world that had been so dominated by Disney and Pixar, it seems things are opening up a bit with new entrants being given the resources to deliver a simply entertaining animated film that doesn’t dumb it down or rest on its laurels just for the all night merchandising dollar.
I laud Phil & Chris while I curse them. Because they have ruined all other animated movies for me. And I’m not sure what to do. Would Frozen 2 have been good if I hadn’t seen Spider-verse? Would The Lion King: The Animated Real-Life Polar Express of movies had touched my heart if Miles Morales hadn’t already?
I remain alive in a world, now, where I may never know the answer. But I do know one thing for sure.
Frozen 2 wishes it was Spider-verse; and it’s never going to be.