I’m willing to bet that many a schoolyard this week resembles a real-life subreddit as children recap and analyze everything they can remember from Frozen 2. But writer-director Jennifer Lee knows that every true Disney hit isn’t just about making the kids talk. The grown-ups who were eager to see the next chapter in Anna’s and Elsa’s lives were rewarded with a few jokes and pop-culture nods written just for us—as well as some adult themes that probably went over the little ones’ heads.
While Disney die-hards are pointing out the Easter eggs like Hidden Mickeys and Elsa’s toy Baymax (from Big Hero Six), we thought we’d take a minute to point out the more sophisticated (and, okay, also goofy) trivia and messages woven into Frozen 2.
1. Olaf is the internet.
The snowman spouts inane factoids and pop psychology advice in a nonstop flow of chatter. He’s even very good at recapping the events of Frozen (and Frozen 2, after the credits). If you listen to him closely, he starts to resemble your newsfeed come to life.
2. Women can wear pants!
Sure, Queen Elsa and Princess Anna wear dresses throughout the movie, like good Disney royals, but when they travel to find the enchanted forest—ta-da!—they’re both wearing leggings underneath, making their outfits much more practical for rugged adventures. This feels like a huge fashion evolution. Now, if only their boots weren’t high-heeled....
3. Kristoff’s Bohemian Glory Eclipse of the Woods
Jonathan Groff says his character’s rock ballad, “Lost in the Woods,” reminded him most of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” particularly with his reindeer chorus. It’s actually a great mashup of every single sad rock song of the ’80s we can think of. The kids are definitely wondering why their parents found this scene so funny. Stay for the credits to hear Weezer cover this too.
4. “I can’t freeze this moment.”
Do kids today understand nostalgia? Maybe in the abstract, although they’re definitely much more into looking toward the future. Meanwhile, every adult watching totally gets the push and pull Anna and Elsa feel with regard to wanting to hold on to happiness, wistfully noticing inevitable change, and rushing headlong “Into the Unknown.”
5. Oh, look! The world is not all white!
The creators actually listened to complaints about Arendelle being so homogeneous and cast Sterling K. Brown as the king’s guard. It doesn’t fix the past, but that’s one good step forward.
6. Colonialism is the worst.
Just before Thanksgiving, Disney is finally getting around to showing us how dominant white cultures really “made peace” with most indigenous tribes. Elsa and Anna’s grandfather, King Agnarr, constructed a dam and arranged for a celebration with the Northuldra people, all as a ruse to overpower them. Although they discover their mother was Northuldra, the two sisters are left to clean up the mess, both the guilt and the present-day repercussions of their grandfather’s evil deeds.
7. Elsa’s Fortress of Solitude
When Elsa finally reaches the frozen river Ahtohallan, Superman fans have been a little miffed about just how much this memory cave looks like the icy palace where Kal-El talks to his own dead parents. (We’ll spare you the links to grown men whining about a Disney film.)
8. Olaf, Victim of the Infinity Wars
Meanwhile, Marvel Universe fans have remarked on how much Olaf’s disintegration in Anna’s arms looks like Spider-Man’s after the Snap.
9. “The Next Right Thing”
Who knew Disney could help us cope with what to do when the whole world seems to be on fire? Anna sings this to get herself through her grief and power forward. We can sing it to ourselves as we volunteer, sign a petition, or donate a few bucks rather than bury our overwhelmed heads in the sand.
10. How The Crown Could Have Gone
Elsa abdicates her crown to her younger sister, who everyone agrees is much more suited to the job. This is exactly the arrangement Princess Margaret hoped her sister Elizabeth would pull off.
11. “I prefer you in leather anyway.”
Whoa. That racy statement comes from Queen Anna, remarking on Kristoff’s fancy togs. The fanfic writers will have fun with that one when they aren’t spinning tales about Elsa and her new Northuldra friend Honeymaren, that is.
12. Happily ever after?
More than one character wonders if the Arendelle sisters are done having adventures. Are they?