Frozen 2: Elsa with her frightening powers is the most unique Disney princess of them all
The many Disney princesses that we’ve had over the years include many powerful, inspiring characters. Elsa, however, brings something entirely new to the Disney landscape.
There have been many Disney Princesses over the years, all of them unique in their own ways. Disney has largely done a great job in making each of these characters unique. As the wintry chill of Frozen 2 approaches theaters this November, however, it may be time to admit that even amongst the Disney’s Princesses, Elsa stands out.
Firstly, and most obviously, she is the only one with extranormal powers. Yes, there are other princesses who have proven themselves impressively skilled, but Elsa is the only one with innate abilities. Her powers are, admittedly, a little vaguely defined. Having being able to control and shape vast quantities of ice is one thing, but when you can magic up stylish dresses and imbue snowmen with life and sentience, that’s another thing entirely.
Though she has trouble controlling this power, initially, it is ultimately shown as immensely empowering. Her powers are a major part of her storyline, and many fans celebrated a story that finally entrusted a woman with immense power. It’s been a long standing storytelling trope that a woman with incredible power is either unhinged or evil. Consider Maleficent, from ‘Sleeping Beauty’, Ursula from ‘The Little Mermaid’, or even just the way Elsa herself is seen by her own subjects when her power is revealed.
Indeed, Elsa’s powers are on a scale that is generally reserved for Disney villains in the third act of their movie. This is hardly surprising, considering that she was originally conceived as Frozen’s Big Bad before the movie’s writers realized that she worked better as a sympathetic character. It’s another thing that sets Elsa apart - while other princesses could be looked at with embarrassment, shame, or disappointment by their families and communities, Elsa is the first princess to legitimately frighten the people around her.
Something that resonated strongly is how Elsa’s storyline is focused on her relationship with her sister, Anna, as opposed to her relationship with a male figure. Not even ‘Brave’, which spotlighted Merida’s relationship with her mother, can claim that, as Merida’s relationship with her father was also an important part of the story. Take all the men out of the film entirely, even, and Elsa’s storyline remains unchanged. That’s not to say that there aren’t fresh, new stories to be told involving male characters, but Disney’s departure from that is a refreshing take - exactly what many fans had been waiting for for years.
The many Disney princesses that we’ve had over the years include many powerful, inspiring characters. Elsa, however, brings something entirely new to the Disney landscape. If that’s something Disney can continue to channel, ‘Frozen 2’ ought to have just as much success as its predecessor.