Descendants 3

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Descendants 3 Movie Poster Image
 Popular with kids
Satisfying end to trilogy has positive themes for kids.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 19 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 65 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

This movie intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive Messages

Kids see Mal wrestle with conflicting loyalties to Auradon and the Isle of the Lost. With help of her friends from both places, she makes a decision that promises to benefit everyone. A main character's dabble with darkness has dire consequences for people she cares about; she learns a valuable lesson as a result. Forgiveness, mutual respect go a long way to mend fences between former enemies and within family spats. Group scenes in Auradon often feature a character who uses a wheelchair.

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mal tries to take care of everyone on her own but eventually learns value of relying on others to help. When given the chance, villains become heroes and counter the idea that people can be defined as "good" or "bad." Mal lies to her friends about her intentions throughout part of the movie but owns up to it in the end.

Violence & Scariness

Hades hits Mal and her friends with laser blasts, knocks them down. Mal is injured by magic from Audrey's scepter while in her dragon form and needs help from a friend to recover her strength. Audrey puts a spell on the residents of Auradon, putting some to sleep, turning others to stone. Choreographed dance number involves swordfight between knights in armor and heroes. A beast roars in a menacing way.

Sexy Stuff

Mal and Ben's romance continues with a marriage proposal and several moments of closeness. True love's kiss awakens a sleeping character.

Language
Consumerism

This movie is the final installment in the Descendants trilogy.

 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Descendants 3 is the third and final movie in Disney's popular Descendants trilogy, continuing the story of four villains' kids acclimating to the picture-perfect existence in the kingdom of Auradon. The movie presumes viewers' familiarity with the characters and relationships from the first two films, so you may be a little lost if this is the first of the three you watch. A love affair continues between two main characters, and there are a few kisses on-screen. Another teen's jealousy makes her use magic to try to sway the affections of her crush, and the citizens pay the price when they're put under her spell. On the other hand, characters who appear to be villainous surprise with actions that are anything but, which has a positive influence on others and helps to change the way the two kingdoms relate. Expect some choreographed fighting (a swordfight that's set to a song-and-dance number, for instance) and a few scenes in which characters' safety is in question briefly (a villain shoots laser beams at teens and knocks them down; a princess uses magic to injure her enemy), but nothing lasts for long. What stand out in this story are messages about tolerance, second chances, forgiveness, and accepting both the good and the bad in people.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byMBlackdot August 8, 2019

Eh?

do you want to teach your kids that all girls are stunningly beautiful and Dance around suggestively? Then it’s the right movie for you. While it might have a d... Continue reading
Adult Written byMCM5000 May 7, 2020

plastic surgery/focus on appearances sets a terrible example

I couldn't get past the absurd plastic surgery of the main character. I had to keep reminding my daughter that people don't look like that in real lif... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byHailieGrace17 August 2, 2019

My Favorite

This is the best one yet. I know it is the end. But it was the perfect ending. I wont spoil it if you are reading reviews before watching it but skip the review... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bybrianna10145 August 12, 2019

Amazing Lesson

I’m a big fan of descendants, and I think these movies show a great lesson about being able to trust your friends, and that not everything has to grow as a big... Continue reading

What's the story?

In DESCENDANTS 3, things are going well in Auradon. Ben (Mitchell Hope) and Mal (Dove Cameron) are on their way to living their happily ever after, and the successful integration of the original quartet of villains' kids -- Mal, Evie (Sofia Carson), Carlos (Cameron Boyce in his final performance), and Jay (Booboo Stewart) -- into the peaceful kingdom has inspired future king Ben to give the OK to invite another group of VKs from the Isle of the Lost. But a snafu in the plan exposes Auradon's vulnerability to scheming villains like Hades (Cheyenne Jackson), who nearly makes his escape, leading Mal to consider closing the barrier between the two places permanently. Meanwhile, Ben and Mal's happiness spells misery for jealous Audrey (Sarah Jeffery), who takes extreme measures to reclaim the prince for herself. As tensions build in Auradon, Mal turns to an unlikely accomplice for help in preserving peace there and perhaps taking a new stance on the Isle's banishment.

Is it any good?

This finale to the popular Descendants franchise is a must-see for fans who were left with a cliffhanger of sorts at the end of the second movie. Here future queen Mal faces what she sees as a black-or-white dilemma: Preserve the safety and peaceful existence in her new home or embrace her loyalty to her Isle roots. The conundrum puts her in a difficult place with both sets of friends and causes her to question her priorities, but it's her willingness to listen to other points of view, reframe her thinking, and extend forgiveness and faith in others that's the lasting message from the movie.

Descendants 3 adds some new faces to the talented ensemble cast, in particular Jackson's energizing and amusing performance as Hades. China Anne McClain returns with a vengeance as Mal's nemesis, Uma, contributing heavily to the story's direction and its impactful themes of respect and counter-stereotyping. And what Descendants story would be complete without show-stopping song-and-dance numbers? Certainly not this one, and they won't disappoint its young fans. If ultimately the role of the final installment in a trilogy is to tie up loose ends and lay out a satisfactory path for the characters' future, then Descendants 3 can call itself a success.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how well Descendants 3 wraps up the trilogy. Are there any unresolved storylines or plot points that didn't get addressed to your satisfaction? Do you like the ending? Would you like to see how Auradon and the Isle of the Lost change after these events?

  • In what ways does this story and its characters celebrate counter-stereotypes? Whose actions surprise you because of presumptions you've already made about them and their motives? Is it true that we all have a little bit of bad and good in us? How does that play out in this movie?

  • Is Mal a good leader? What about Ben? What lessons do they learn about tolerance and empathy as this story plays out? Who helps teach them these things? Is it difficult to change your beliefs when you're faced with truths that challenge them?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Disney

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate