The Newest Hockey Movie: Inside Out 2

New emotions, women's hockey, and puberty, oh my! Check out our review of Inside Out 2

The Newest Hockey Movie: Inside Out 2
Credit: Maya Smith

Inside Out 2 opened on June 14 with one of the highest opening weekends of any Disney movie. Sequels are always tricky, but as someone who loved the first movie and has cried many times to it, I wanted to check this one out.

Women's hockey fans were also quite excited about this movie after learning that reigning Walter Cup champion Kendall Coyne Schofield would be doing a voice in the film.

I knew Inside Out 2 had something to do with women's hockey but I wasn't sure if we were using that term in the same way that we consider Die Hard a Christmas movie.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was actually a movie about women's hockey. The entire film is set around Riley's hockey games: the championship game of her regular team and a training camp where she gets to try out for her high school team.

Before we talk about Inside Out 2, here's a quick refresher about the first movie.

Riley, 11, moves from Minnesota to San Francisco and we follow this big life change through the emotions in her head: Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger. These emotions control Riley through a control panel in Headquarters. We learn that every memory is saved and stored in Riley's head and contributes to who she is.

In the first movie, we see glimpses of Riley playing hockey, but it doesn't dominate the film.

Even though Inside Out 2 is primarily about Riley entering puberty and the new emotions of Anxiety, Envy, Embarrassment, and Ennui joining Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear in Headquarters, a lot of the movie centers around hockey and friendship.

The movie opens with Riley and her friends playing in the final game of their championship. Each emotion gets a chance to be in control during the hockey game. Joy is the main emotion, as hockey is one of Riley's favourite things to do. We see Fear join to make sure that Riley has her mouthguard, which leads to Disgust taking charge when she realizes she accidentally used someone else's mouthguard instead. Anger is in control when Riley is skating against the other team and Sadness comes in when Riley takes a penalty (which was a questionable call, if you ask me). Personally, I feel anger when I get a penalty more than sadness, but there's a great look into how Riley feels about the sport and her team through these emotions.

But was it a good hockey movie? Let's start with the pros.

Throughout the movie, we see Riley in different hockey-related situations, including meeting new potential teammates, learning that she might not be on the same team as her friends, trying to fit in with older players, choosing what scrimmage team to join, and wondering if she's good enough to make the team. These are all things that any young or old hockey player can understand.

And, we see each emotion that comes into play in each situation.

As someone who grew up playing hockey, I felt like it was a good depiction of the things that young hockey players might experience. I've definitely been in dressing rooms where I felt intimidated by the older players and willed myself not to cry after skating lines.

From a movie perspective, the animation of the hockey scenes was really well done. The way that the characters skate, hold their stick, shoot the puck, and interact with each other was very realistic. Overall, the hockey aspects were super enjoyable.

For the cons, there were a few situations that just wouldn't happen.

In some cases, I was willing to overlook these situations because this is a children's animated fictional movie.

To be a good person and get her friends on the scoresheet (despite desperately needing a goal), Riley passed the puck all the way back to their goalie and let her make one of the passes that led to the goal. While unlikely to ever actually happen, it's cute and it didn't take that much away from the movie.

However, there were a few situations that wouldn't happen. In one scene, Riley and her teammates take a water break after a bag skate. In reality, this likely involves everyone going to the bench to drink some water. In the movie, everyone exits the ice and Riley goes into the tunnel. She also chats with one of her teammates, who is sitting in the stands, drinking her water, despite her having skates on and the stands being concrete (bam, ruined skate blades).

I also think that if Riley was as good as she appeared to be at the try-out camp, someone would have noticed more than one day before camp began.

These few moments annoyed me but they didn't take much away from the movie in the moment.

On the topic of Kendall Coyne Schofield, I honestly didn't notice her in the movie. I think it was a great way to bring eyes to the film, but I was hoping she'd be a bit bigger of a role.

Overall, I'm really glad that women's hockey is such a huge part of this movie. Not only can it inspire the next generation to pick up their skates, but it also brings a lot of nostalgia (😉) for women who played hockey growing up.

I imagine girls seeing this movie would feel the same joy I felt when I got a hockey uniform for my Maplea doll (Canada's version of an American Girl). It's so neat when your interest is included in something that a lot of people love.

With Inside Out 2 being the top-grossing movie of 2024 in North America, it's safe to say a lot of people, old and young, are enjoying this hockey movie.