As a follow up to the original, Mulan II doesn’t measure up. However you can’t really judge the Disney Sequels by the original. On the spectrum of the Disney sequels, it was fine, a bit mediocre but fine compared to the other Disney sequels you could watch.
A mere a month after the original, Shang proposes to Mulan. With their impending marriage it means Mushu will lose his cushy job. While Shang and Mulan get along, her parents fear that they could be different in their future ideas and Mushu gets into his head to break them up. In the midst of this, Shang and Mulan are summoned to Emperor for a new mission.
The Emperor fearing the Mongols, has arranged the marriage of three daughters for an alliance. Shang and Mulan enlist the help of Yao, Ling, and Chien-po. Mulan is very much against arranged marriages but goes along with it. The three princesses fall for Yao, Ling, and Chien-po and Mushu manages to drive a wedge between Shang and Mulan.
Mulan finds out about Mushu’s scheme and starts to make up with Shang but the group is attacked by bandits. In the fight, Mulan thinks Shang falls to his death. Mulan wanting to be true to her heart decides to sacrifices herself to the arrange marriage which would allow the princesses to be true to their hearts. Mushu realizes he was very wrong and wishes he could undo it. Shang shows up and Mushu pretends to be the Golden Dragon of Unity and Mulan is free to be with Shang.
In the end Mushu gets to keep his job. Everyone is happy except Mulan’s ancestors who have to put up with Mushu.
The story isn’t as grand or as epic as the first one but the issue is that until the end there are no stakes for the characters. It’s a Disney movie, you know the heart wins out in the end but Mulan going to offer herself as a replacement felt very tacked on and contrived. It does offer Mushu redemption for breaking Shang and Mulan up and makes Shang change his uptight ways but it felt really forced.
Then we have Shang’s personality change or at least I think it’s a change. I haven’t seen Mulan in while but I don’t really recall Shang being such an uptight guy.
This movie makes him pretty much a jerk till the end. I guess it worked better for the contrived narrative to give him a character arc that he never had.
Then we have a Mulan’s character change. Mulan in this movie is very much anti-arranged marriages even though she was going to do it in the first movie. Maybe saving China gave her a new preceptive on women’s issues.
Her being against it does add some contrived drama for the ending where she allows others to be loved when she think she lost her love but it felt forced. Perhaps if she had said something to bridged the gap between the to movies to makes this characterization makes sense it would have been more effective. Then again maybe she just forgot her stance on the issue, I mean a whole month did pass.
Then we have the three plots ladies, I mean the three princesses, Ting Ting, Mei and Su . These three have no really personalities. I guess Ting Ting is the uptight mature one with a weird laugh but they serve as love interests for Ling, Yao and Chien-po as well as a point for Mulan to act on arranged marriages, which are bad in all cases even for peace or something.
Mulan II is mediocre and contrived but considering these sequels, it could have been worse so much worse. Best that can be said it’s decent effort, worse that can be said it’s dull and forgettable which still high praise for the Disney sequels.