WARNING: SPOILERS FOR DESCENDANTS 3 INCLUDED!
Descendants 3 is directed by Kenny Ortega and it is the third movie in Disney’s Descendants franchise. This third entry follows the VK’s (Villain Kids) as they rescue Auradon from multiple threats when they try to bring in more kids from the Isle of the Lost. This movie stars Dove Cameron, China Anne McClain, Sofia Carson, Sarah Jeffery, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart, Mitchell Hope and Cheyenne Jackson.
For those of you who don’t know what the Descendants franchise is, it’s basically the story of the children of Disney’s Villains. The main four characters are Mal (Maleficent’s daughter), Evie (Evil Queen’s daughter), Carlos (Cruella DeVil’s son) and Jay (Jafar’s son). These movies have always been fun to watch. I am a huge Disney nerd and I love all the references and homages. If you love the TV show Once Upon a Time, you will love the Descendants movies. They are a must watch for Disney fans.
This is the first Disney Channel Original Movie I will review. A lot of people grew up watching Disney Channel (myself included), it brought us endless happy and fun memories with a ton of shows and movies. I used to watch every movie which came out. There are still some DCOM’s which I still watch to this day, like Twitches and Halloweentown for Halloween. Recently Disney Channel has been delving more into the musical genre with franchises like Teen Beach Movie, Zombies and obviously Descendants. This is the first musical genre to reach a trilogy since the High School Musical trilogy and coincidentally all six movies (HSM and Descendants) are directed by Kenny Ortega. I like the first two Descendants movies, the second one even more and I was really intrigued to see where they would go with the third movie.
This movie is unfortunately the weakest of the trilogy. Besides hair and costumes and visuals, this movie doesn’t come close to the other two movies in terms of story, villains, musical numbers and humour. Apparently this is the last movie, with the tragic passing of Cameron Boyce, I totally understand. But even without that tragedy, the ending sort of closed some chapters that were started in the first two movies. If they actually planned this movie to be the last movie, then they did a lousy job with closure for these characters. Descendants 3 feels like Descendants 2.5, it feels like an added part to it’s predecessor. Not only that but it fails to really have an identity of it’s own. I actually struggled to summarize the movie in the beginning because I couldn’t really tell what it’s about.
The movie is basically the Spider-Man 3 of the franchise. It tries to balance a lot of sub-plots and in the end the movie suffers because there isn’t even a main plot. It’s just sub-plots clashing together to make a “story”. There is the sub-plot with Uma and Mal trying to become friends. There is the “VK’s coming to Auradon” sub-plot, there is the Hades sub-plot which literally came out of nowhere. Hades’ introduction in this movie is literally appearing in a scene out of nowhere attacking Mal. There is the “Audrey becoming evil because Mal and Ben are getting married which is incredibly stupid cause she knew that this would eventually happen. They’ve been together for four years now, I don’t know why she would get jealous now. This movie is just one big giant mess.
For some reason the promotional campaign for this movie promised a lot of Hades but not only did he appear in maybe four scenes in the entire movie, he isn’t even the main villain. I would’ve loved to see Mal going head to head with her father. It would not only be epic but also a callback to the first movie where she fought her mother. She would truly be choosing a life of good, she’s left her past behind. But no, instead have a broadway-esque musical number between the two. As I said this movie doesn’t offer closure. Ben and Mal get engaged at the beginning but we see no wedding, it would’ve been the perfect ending. We never ever see Maleficent again or Hades’s reaction to what Maleficent is now. We never see Jafar, Cruella DeVil or the Evil Queen reunite with Jay, Carlos and Evie. It’s just an ending celebration of the Isle of the Lost finally becoming part of Auradon which to be fair was set up but still, there should’ve been more.
Overall Descendants 3 fails to not only capture the smart and witty fun of the first two movies but also wrap up this trilogy with a nice bow of closure. The underdeveloped, dull and incredibly cliched villain with no justifiable motivation is the weakest part of the movie which is saying something. For a musical, the songs are just fine, they’re not as great as the songs from the first and second movie. In fact the movie felt like it shouldn’t have been a musical. It’s like they struggled to find places for songs so they shoehorned them in to say that it is a musical. I feel like kids will enjoy this movie and fans of the first and second movie will too but for me, I’ll stick to the first two.
Before finishing, I would like to say that I grew up watching Disney Channel and in doing so I watched Cameron Boyce grow before my very eyes. I loved him in Jessie and in the Descendants movies. I was heartbroken and deeply saddened by this news. It hit me differently than any other celebrity death. I wish his family the best and most of all I want to thank Boyce for entertaining us over the years with your performances. You were a light that was taken too soon from us. Rest in Peace. ❤️️