A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Intends to entertain rather than to educate.
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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Products & Purchases
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.
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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
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.