Descendants 2

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Descendants 2 Movie Poster Image
 Popular with kidsParents recommend
Exceptional sequel promotes communication, female roles.
  • NR
  • 2017
  • 111 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 19 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 55 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Stands out for positive messages.

Educational Value

Intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive Messages

Kids see Mal wrestle with an uncertain identity, feeling expectations to act a certain way while her inner self leads her in a different direction. While she's not inherently wicked, she learns to acknowledge that her baddie past continues to influence her in ways that make her different from most of Auradon's residents, but it works for her. Strong themes of friendship, honesty, communication, and individualism. Lonnie challenges gender roles and gains the respect of her peers by her determination and skill.


Positive Role Models

At the story's start, Mal fears that being different from her peers means that they're right and she's wrong. Instead of embracing what makes her different, she tries in vain to reject it and be someone else. It's only when she acknowledges that she's unique and is honest with her friends that she's truly happy. Other characters model positive qualities like patience, sympathy, and determination.


Violence & Scariness

Some suspense as Uma and Mal battle with swords over Ben's fate. Mal transforms into a dragon and Uma into a sea creature, which could be scary for young kids.


Sexy Stuff

Mal and Ben's relationship continues to evolve, and other teens start to pair up as well. There's some flirting and a few kisses, but it's all very sweet.



This movie follows Descendants, and the story makes little sense without the background of the original. It also features the children of numerous classic fairy-tale characters.


Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Descendants 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to Disney's Descendants, continuing the story of four Villain Kids who get a second chance at the good life in the shining kingdom of Auradon. This movie is decidedly darker than the first, with a lengthy sword battle playing out over the fate of Auradon's king-to-be, Ben, and a conniving villain bent on winning at all costs. Mal's struggle with her inner demons also has some serious themes and tense moments, and a happy ending isn't always guaranteed. That said, Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos continue to be positive examples of living life by your own moral compass instead of by what others tell you to believe, and there are many instances that celebrate strong female characters who challenge traditional (and fairy-tale, especially) gender roles. Expect to see some kissing between teens in this roundly entertaining movie.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byHeather W. July 24, 2017

Surprisingly Disappointing

We are huge Disney and descendant fans, so this was surprisingly disappointing. First, although the tunes were catchy, they singing was terrible. It sounded li... Continue reading
Adult Written byTheAdam September 6, 2021

More of the continued theme, Glorifying Evil as good

Even from the beginning the theme was glorifying evil as good, cool and cultured, presented to the audience in a hip musical filled with witchcraft, hexed and b... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byvioletrey July 26, 2017

Worse than the first one

The CGI was so bad and the talking dog was annoying and just embarrassing. I actually liked the first one but I hated this one. Anyways, kids will still probabl... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byHappyDisney13 July 24, 2017


I have fallen in love with the desendants story and truly connect with mal. this movie has better music and dance numbers then the first movie did{ obviously b... Continue reading

What's the story?

In DESCENDENTS 2, Auradon is abuzz with excitement over the upcoming cotillion, with Ben (Mitchell Hope) preparing to assume his role as king and Mal (Dove Cameron), her official place as a lady of the court. But as the event draws near, Mal begins to doubt her suitability as the kingdom's future queen, and in a fit of panic, she returns to the Isle of the Lost. There she discovers that her nemesis, Uma (daughter of Ursula) (China Anne McClain), has taken Mal's place as the island's leader, flanked by her devoted pals Gil (Gaston's boy, played by Dylan Playfair) and Harry (Hook's kid, played by Thomas Doherty). Evie (Sofia Carson), Jay (Booboo Stewart), and Carlos (Cameron Boyce) disguise Ben as a Villain Kid and head to the island to bring Mal back to Auradon, but a vengeful Uma has plans of her own to trick the royals into dissolving the barrier between the kingdom and the Isle.

Is it any good?

Disney doesn't miss a beat with this worthy follow-up to the popular tale of the offspring of notorious villains rejecting their parents' wicked ways. As this story opens, Evie, Jay, and Carlos are happily settled in Auradon with little care of their past ways, but Mal wrestles with her inability to forget them completely. What follows is an identity crisis of epic proportions, made worse by her attempts to hide her troubles rather than working them out in healthy ways. It's a problem that may resonate with kids and tweens, and seeing Mal embrace her uniqueness, acknowledge her situation, and turn to her friends for help they're more than happy to give has great messages for viewers.

Descendants 2 fills the personnel gap left by the respective parents of Evie, Jay, Carlos, and Mal with a fun ensemble of new and newly prominent characters, in particular the scene-stealing Uma. Also noteworthy is the sword-wielding Lonnie (Dianne Doan), whose refusal to let the fact that she's a girl stop her from her goals would make her mom, Mulan, proud. Those who love Disney productions for their song-and-dance routines have good reason to be excited about this movie's excellent soundtrack, too.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Descendants 2 presents female characters. Are they strong-willed? Do they work well with others? How do they relate to their male counterparts? Which ones are positive role models and why?

  • Are the villains in this story scary? Do you like being a little scared when you watch a movie?

  • Kids: What qualities make you unique among your friends? Are there times when you don't like standing apart from a crowd? How does it feel to be the unintentional center of attention?

  • Why is it important to talk about your feelings? Who do you confide in when you need advice? How does your family keep the lines of communication open? Why is communication an important character strength

Movie details

Our editors recommend

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