“The Kissing Booth 2”: a sequel better than the original


Courtesy of Komixx Entertainment/Netflix

After its release on May 11, “The Kissing Booth 2” became Netflix’s most rewatched film of 2018. Two years later, the long-awaited sequel has arrived.

Ridhima Kodali, Opinion Editor

“The Kissing Booth 2” is the first ever sequel I have watched, which was better than the first movie, and 15 year old (by then) Beth Reekles wrote it on Wattpad. Eventually “The Kissing Booth” and “Going the Distance” (“The Kissing Booth 2’’) were  published as books by Random House Children’s Books and there are also two film adaptations. After two years, two months, and 14 days, Netflix’s most rewatched film of 2018, finally returns with a sequel. 

This series is one of those cliche rom-coms you can watch to pass time. I wasn’t too crazy about the first film, but the second film was hyped so much. I was sure it would be a repeat of all sequels — doomed from the start.  However, after watching “The Kissing Booth 2,” I was completely surprised. It is the first ever sequel I have watched, which was better than the first movie. 

To recap, in the first film, Elle Evans played by Joey King, and Lee Flynn, played by Joel Courtney are best friends with a very serious set of friendship rules that are broken when Elle secretly dates his gorgeous older brother Noah, played by Jacob Elordi. Eventually, Lee finds out, Noah and Elle have the summer of their life at the Flynn’s beach house, and Noah heads off to Harvard. This is where we are left at the end of the first movie.

In the sequel, Elle and Noah navigate their 3,000 miles apart, long-distance relationship all while applying for colleges. She is also getting in the way of Lee and his girlfriend Rachel’s (played by Meganne Young) relationship. Adding another layer, we are introduced to two new love interests: a ridiculously hot and sweet Marco, played by Tayler Zakhar Perez, and a multilingual and sophisticated Chloe, played by Maisie-Richardson Sellers. 

“The Kissing Booth 2” was less of a cheesy, rom-com, and  has real character development thanks to the acting by the matured cast. Elle becomes more confident and is a little bit more balanced within her relationships with both Noah and Lee. Noah was this person who gets into fights and is very controlling, but now we see a sweeter, more romantic side of him who has real emotions of a first year college student. Lee is less of a controlling best friend as he learns how to balance his relationship with Rachel and his friendship with Elle. We finally get to hear Rachel showcase the issue of her boyfriend having a best friend who is female. 

One downside to the story line is it feels a bit rushed due to a lot of mirroring to the first film at the start. Writers Vince Marcello and Jay Arnold  are then trying to catch up to deliver a plot in the middle of the film. The climaxes weren’t exactly resolved leaving viewers wanting a more coherent plot line. One such example is when Elle just ignored Marco, even though she had feelings for him, and it wasn’t really clear whether their issue was completely resolved or not. Elle made her decision, but it felt incomplete.  Also, all of the drama and problems just began to collapse and unfold at the Thanksgiving scene all at once, without even a warning. It made it too much to take in and even watch. 

The movie took more time on useless things, such as an iconic Elle embarrassing moment on an intercom for the entire school, field day and the dance off between Marco and Elle.  Viewers were left with also some of the romantic scenes between Elle and Noah glazed over by music/a romantic montage.   This was also the reason why the movie was moving a bit slow. 

“The Kissing Booth 2” is a decent film, a solid 2.5/5, and is worth at least a one-time watch for mainly teens. There will be “The Kissing Booth 3” and it will release on Netflix next year. As of now,  it’s your choice whether you want to stream or skip it.