Let’s be honest, sequels have a reputation. They’re like the second album from a one-hit wonder, usually a little less exciting and often trying too hard to recapture the magic. But then along comes Inside Out 2 to prove us all wrong, bringing back the colourful crew inside Riley’s head and adding some new emotional twists and psychological insights.

 Inside Out 2 is as heartfelt and clever as the first, but with a fresh story and a new phase of life that makes it feel new and engaging. The film picks up with Riley now navigating the treacherous waters of teenagehood. Hormones, high school drama, and the rollercoaster of emotions– it’s all there, and it’s all relatable.

Our favourite emotions – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust – are back again. Amy Poehler’s Joy is still the perpetually peppy leader, while Phyllis Smith’s Sadness continues to be the endearing Eeyore of the group. But let’s talk about the newcomers – because what’s adolescence without a few new emotions crashing the party?

Adolescence is when anxiety often bubbles up to the surface, and the new Anxiety character is played here by Maya Hawke. Other new emotions are voiced by Ayo Edebiri as Envy, Adèle Exarchopoulos as Ennui and Paul Walter Hauser as Embarrassment.

The storyline isn’t just a rehash of the original. This time, we dive deeper into the complexities of growing up, and Inside Out 2 does a fantastic job of balancing humour with poignant moments. Visually, the film is a feast. The mind’s new landscapes, representing the tumultuous teenage years, are brilliantly imagined and rendered with Pixar’s signature charm and creativity. In this film we dive into an exploration of Riley’s belief system, repression of memory and how anxiety can be at times helpful, but sometimes debilitating.

If we had to nitpick – and let’s face it, it’s our job – there are a few moments where the pacing drags, and some jokes don’t quite land as perfectly as we’d hope. But these are minor quibbles in what is otherwise a stellar sequel.

Inside Out 2 manages to capture the magic of the original while bravely exploring new emotional territory. It’s like meeting an old friend who’s learned some cool new tricks – familiar, yet exciting. So grab a stress ball, and prepare for a reminder what it is like in the mind of a teenager. Trust us, it’s more fun than it sounds.

Inside Out 2 is in cinemas now. Rated PG.

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