'Frozen 2' review: Lukewarm follow-up is beautiful, but bland

WATCH: 'The Morning Show' host Carolyn Mackenzie found out the strangest place Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel have heard 'Let It Go.'

Probably the most anticipated animated movie of the year, Frozen 2 was under a lot of pressure from the let it get-go.

A franchise of this magnitude, with merchandising and branding opportunities up the wazoo, was never going to stop without a second iteration. There’s probably a third being cooked up in the Disney kitchen as we speak.

So it’s not very surprising that Frozen 2 can’t catch up to its predecessor, and that goes for story, for intrigue and pretty much any other cinematic element. The only thing that matches or even exceeds the original Frozen is the beautiful animation, which in some scenes is breathtaking.

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie feels slap-dash, with a melange of story elements that don’t make a whole lot of sense.

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OK, but this is a movie for kids. What did you expect?

Children should have absolutely no issues with the follow-up, as it replaces the original’s quest of Anna (Kristen Bell) seeking her estranged sister Elsa (Idina Menzel) with Elsa searching for a mysterious singing voice that keeps calling out to her.

So there’s movement for the main story, and then an insufferable subplot of Anna’s boyfriend Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) trying, trying and then trying again to propose to her.

There’s a whole segment about nature’s “elements” and other mystical things, too.

Astute or older children might shuffle in their seats at certain points, as the movie moves glacially at parts (see what I did there?), but luckily Olaf (Josh Gad) saves the film from complete dryness with the occasional sometimes-funny joke.

To its credit, Frozen 2 even tries to inject a few scenes about Indigenous reconciliation. Really!

What about the music? Any catchy tunes?

Again, it’s tough to match the original songs, but the biggie — or at least the one hopes seem to be pinned on — is Into the Unknown, belted out by Menzel as Elsa ventures out on her own. Nothing has the fire of Let It Go, but a short segment featuring Kristoff in a rock ballad brought the laughs.

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What’s the overall ‘lesson’ of this movie?

It’s a mish-mash of many lessons, including the importance of loving someone unconditionally, yet allowing them to grow on their own terms. As Elsa embarks on her latest adventure, Anna desperately wants to come along, but she finally accepts (after some insistence from Elsa) that her sister must do it alone.

Without spoiling, the decision for Anna to stay behind is crucial to the story, and the pair’s success hinges on them sacrificing for the other.

So what’s the bottom line?

Sweet and wholesome at its core, Frozen 2 is a blander, slightly redundant follow-up to the original. While adults might find themselves bored while watching, children most likely won’t notice the difference, but instead see it as a continuation of their Frozen friends’ adventures.

‘Frozen 2’ is now playing in theatres across Canada.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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