Descendants 2 had a lot of strong points but what this post is going to focus on is the character development in all of the characters.
Obviously this movie focused a lot on Mal. She has grown a lot from the first movie but not in a healthy way. She developed some bad habits (spelling things and people) and developed some self image issues. This is a vast difference from our defiant and confident Mal from the first movie. While I don’t like the softer Mal that was shown, even closer to the end of the movie, I like that they explored these identity issues. By the end of the movie Mal has reconnected with her roots, her group and what made her want to change in the first place. I think it leaves us with a strong Mal with more room to grow in the right direction.
THIS IS MY GIRL! Gonna be honest, I disliked her in the first movie cause she was a ditz but my girl has come a lonngggg way. Evie grew from a superficial girl into an incredibly smart, talented and confident lady. She has a booming design business and doesn’t take crap from anyone, and right beside her for these changes was her supportive boyfriend Doug. I love the dynamic they have because they are equal to each other, she is the strong one but he will still defend her to princes, he manages her business finances and supports her dreams. BUT she is not a dainty princess and he know he isn’t her “prince” but he is her knight. I will defend this ship with. My. Life. Also, she has a big heart and is fighting for the kids that she grew up with. She is going to be a great advocate for the isle.
Jay came a long way from his rule breaking enthusiastic lifestyle. He even obeys the smallest (and more sexist) of rules. We also saw that he became less aggressive than before. It was curious to see him as a responsible captain, and it was very fitting. Through out the rest of the movie we got to see him step up as a leader when Mal was lacking or when something needed to be said. Like when everyone was arguing he calmed them down and when Mal and Evie were chatting about her hair, he took initiative to bring them together. Jay is a born leader and is doing the one thing his father, jafar, could not. Being successful and compassionate in a leadership position. In the end when he forfeits his title as captain to Lonnie(?) so she can join the team that is him doing what is best for the team. She is strong and they needed her. He sacrificed his title for the greater good and I hope that doesn’t go unnoticed.
Our shy boy came a long way as well. Carlos is a more outspoken and confident person. I don’t think he lacked confidence in the first movie but I believe he was more introverted, now we see a more open Carlos who stands his ground. For example, kicking Chad out of his room repeatedly. He is dismissing a prince and gives 0 cares. We also have a slight mention of how he programmed his 3D printer to have really cool hacks and such which references his special abilities with computers. Jay can be physical, Evie can be smart, Mal can be sly and Carlos can hack. This is important. Finally we see our boy finally ask Jane out. Tbh, I didn’t see it. BUT I am not against it. The little dorks make each other happy and they make each other stronger, for Carlos he has someone to protect and for Jane she has someone who makes her feel beautiful which is not to be under-estimated.
Jane grew in a few notable ways. She became a more involved and outspoken person than the shy, squeaky girl from the first movie. Now she is coordinating big projects and making sure the schedule is kept to. BUT she is still insecure about herself and you can tell, even the way she thought Carlos wanted to go to the party as friends until he spelled it out for her is a sign of the insecurity. Carlos makes her feel beautiful and while that isn’t the best place to get a confidence boost it is still a wonderful development for a young girls self esteem to have someone like that.
well, he/she learned English so that is pretty impressive.
Ben was a goodie two-shoes in the first movie. While he developed a wicked streak in the second one, he NEVER abandoned his big heart, which is what truly makes him King Ben. He was trying to tackle the life struggles of ruling a kingdom, dealing with an engagement, helping the project areas and maintaining his grades. We know he had to quit his different sports teams because he didn’t have time, the time he spent with Mal dwindled to near nothing and we know he was overwhelmed. He never complained though. Ben is a strong character who is taking care of business and while he might not be the first to throw a punch he is powerful with words before fists, and he doesn’t let his girlfriend fight all his battles for him. In the end when he still trying to seek peace, preventing what could have been a catastrophic battle, he was doing his duty as a king. He put his life on the line. His biggest development in this movie was seeing the other side of things and understanding just how abused these kids were. It is one thing to hear about it and think you know, but he never really knew. And Uma abusing his kindness and spelling him didn’t scare him away from continuing to seek justice for these kids. Ben is a good leader.
In the first movie we never really got to explore her character. We saw that she wasn’t afraid of our lil’ villains and that she was still compassionate towards them but that was it. In this movie she is introduced as a threat. She is powerful and smart just like her mother, and she may be a love interest for Jay which is a perfect math. Talk about power couple, am I right?! I look forward to seeing more of her.
NEW CHARACTERS -
You can see the results of abuse and bullying in her personality. All she is looking for is validation. This is the entire point of “Say my name”, she wants to be acknowledged. Her dwarf rats don’t really obey her, they still challenge her constantly and call her “Shrimpy”. While she has issues, there is room for change. I really hope Disney takes the opportunity to properly show kids/people how to interact with someone who comes from that abusive background.
Harry Hook -
Dang.. Uh, not gonna lie, I am so weak to this little out law. I was practically drooling over him, and when he tickled Ben my heart skipped a beat. I could ship that, I wont cause I will be lynched, but I could. I could see him being a bigger problem in the future. He has more of a cutthroat attitude than Uma and it is clear that him and Jay have bad blood. I hope we see much more of that delectable pirate.
I bet you are one that gets to leave the isle. You don’t seem inherently bad, just kinda a dunce. Definitely room for improvement.