Netflix Sequel Lacks Luster


Harsitha Kalaiarasan

Caption: AESTHETICS. The visually appealing sets were a high point in the sequel to the popular series. The contrasts in color bring to life the author’s intentions for the movie adaptation.

   On Feb. 12, the greatly anticipated sequel to the hit movie To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before dropped on Netflix. The addition, titled To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, paled in comparison to its predecessor. 

   The second movie introduces a love triangle. Lara Jean Covey begins having relationship problems with Peter Kavinsky, her new boyfriend (as established at the end of the first movie). And in perfect timing, John Ambrose McClaren, Lara Jean’s sixth-grade crush, struts onto the scene. His dark, dreamy eyes and kind nature cause Lara Jean to question her feelings: what if she and Peter were not meant to be?

   Lara Jean battles her own inner demons in the sequel: jealousy, insecurity, and recognizing her needs. The first movie focused on her desire to have a boyfriend, but this movie explored the complications and intricacies of relationships that are not obvious at first sight. In this way, the movie did have its moments. Seeing Lara Jean grow into herself as a young woman proved refreshing. The “quirky” girl, for once, did not get the popular guy and then settle. She navigated trust issues, secrecy, and envy with communication and honesty (albeit both bad at times).

   The biggest disappointment of what would have been another cute romantic comedy was the rushed plot. The movie begins on the tails of the first. The watcher questions: how are they having relationship problems already? The confident and happy couple that formed the ending screen of the first movie did not resemble the insecure and quarreling teens in the latter. Plus, some parts of the relationship that surfaced seemed problematic—almost unforgivable. The way they handled such situations seemed unrealistic, give their age and personalities.

   Most importantly, John Ambrose functioned as merely a pawn in the movie, causing viewers to feel dissatisfied with the handling of his character. Lara Jean uses him to test her feelings for Peter, neglecting to treat him like a real friend. Having the plot revolving around a third wheel makes the whole story feel insubstantial. 

   Despite the shortcomings of the film, the sequel still oozes the lovable quality that all romantic comedies effortlessly possess. The nostalgia of the scenes and the unique outfits still deliver a rewarding visual experience. 

   With Lana Condor being one of the few Asians to be cast as a lead in the past years, the movie still represents something to all its fans, who are currently pining for the next accompaniment to the series.