Alternate Character Interpretation: Are King Beast and Fairy Godmother really as good as they claim to be? They had brought the villains back to life just to banish them and turned a blind eye on their children, whose only "crime" was being related to villains. Not only that, but they also had "casual" magic banned even in Auradon. Also from what little we see of them the regular inhabitants of the Isle of the Lost don't seem bad and certainly not evil at all, just your garden variety working class trying to make the best of a bad situation.
Resurrecting villains just to send them into exile might seem to be cruel and serve no purpose until we remember that the dead won't necessarily stay dead. Jafar himself became an example of this in "Hercules and the Arabian Night". Of course, leaving them dead is still safer than bothering to revive them yourself.
Were the villains' kids really Good All Along or did they just benefit from Moral Luck? While they do get bullied for the actions of their parents, their own villainous actions, which include plotting to free their indubitably evil parents, tricking Ben into taking a love potion, and cheating in science, are all brushed off or resolved with no effort on their part.
More specifically, Mal: Did she choose Good because she truly came to understand the harm in her actions and wanted to align with a different set of morals, or did feeling love for the first time cause her to change her allegiance for the sake of her own emotional benefit? While the first film implies the former, her actions in the second film make it more ambiguous.
As soon as she encounters hardship in her romance with Ben, she reverts to her old ways. This could have been a frightened knee-jerk reaction. Still, her treatment of others does not change very much when she is Good, and she does not take the high road with her enemies (namely, Uma) until the very end. All of this, though, can be attributed to her being a confused teenager.
Ben, on a couple of counts:
It's implied that he either suspected or knew about their plan to steal the wand for their parents and why they tried to go through with it even though they didn't want to. He's not surprised when Mal takes it, is quick to talk her down and defend her and reminds them that their parents can't get to them in Auradon, implying that he knows their parents are abusive and knows it's that fear that's keeping them from being good.
He knew Mal put him under a love potion from their first date and still showed zero remorse over Audrey being caught in the crossfire, even at the end. Considering that he's pretty obviously not happy with Audrey from the start, he might have used the love potion as the excuse he needed to break up with Audrey. That still isn't a very kind or kingly thing to do to someone. In the third film, Audrey wastes absolutely no time making him pay for it.
Uma: Did she throw away Ben's attempts at giving her a better life in Auradon when she held him captive because she knew Auradon is full of cold, hypocritical "heroes" that would have made her surrender her crew or because she liked being evil? Or, like Mal, was she just a confused and angry teenager who didn't want to take belated, afterthought handouts from the people who imprisoned her?
Audrey, in the first film. Did she genuinely mean it when she worried about Mal using magic and thus, making people "prettier than her"? Or was she covering up a bigger fear- that the daughter of the woman who'd cursed her mother into a hundred year sleep was practicing magic- magic Maleficent had taught her- on her peers and friends, whom she has known since childhood?
Lady Tremaine: Was she always a "wicked grandmother" and happened to mellow out inbetween the last two films, or were we the audience only ever getting a glimpse at her from Dizzy's perspective? In Descendants 2 we only hear her off-screen as she's described as "wicked grandmother", giving Dizzy the "Cinderella" treatment making her clean the family shop, all while Dizzy manages to remain an optimistic, cheerful person. However, by the time she appears in Descendants 3 she's shown to actually care (albeit stoically) about Dizzy, supporting her dream of going off to Auradon and her designing aspirationsnote remembering the glue gun Dizzy forgot to pack which means she had to know about Dizzy's love for designing, neither of which benefit herself or the shop, and Dizzy openly shows love for her back. Also, look at how her daughters Drizella and Anastasia turned out never needing to do any household chores, as well as Cinderella's son Chad who likely had many servants in the castle. Was making Dizzy do all the shop's menial chores just a continuation of Lady Tremaine's old ways, or was it so Dizzy would recognize hard work and turn out better than her own daughters did?
Americans Hate Tingle: Descendants, while already having a divisive reputation elsewhere, flopped in Australia. One reason could be because of ongoing issues with Australia keeping children locked up and abused in Nauru, but also because of its own history as a nation settled by convicts. Even its Disney Channel hardly airs the films or Wicked World.
Wicked World when compared to the original movie. The villain kids go from abused kids who grew up in a hellhole who genuinely don't know better due to being raised evil to dissing Auradon as uncool in comparison to the Isle of the Lost.
It's intended for a younger audience, so it's a bit more justified in the aspect of the kids goofing around and being rude pranksters, but it still has a bit of an awkward lapse where Mal makes jokes about how crappy her mother was.
Also from Wicked World, Audrey seems quite okay with having her boyfriend (and thus her future title as queen) taken away from her, which is a bit strange considering the kind of person she is. Wonderfully averted in Descendants 3, where she is shown to indeed be very bitter over Ben asking Mal to be his queen, as well as her grandmother berating her for not winning him over, to the point where she makes a FaceHeel Turn.
Applicability: The ostracization and prejudice against Villain Kids and Villains in general can be interpreted from a range of social clique differences within the school to prejudice against those of different classes/backgrounds/ethnicities.
Ass Pull: Hades' ember comes off as this in the third movie. It's established as the only thing that can match the power of Maleficent's scepter; however, not only was it (and by association, Hades) never mentioned in the previous films, it also ignores the fact that the magic wand — which was the main MacGuffin in the previous films, and was established to be just as powerful — is an option, and a far more accessible one at that. Really, the ember subplot only seems to serve as a way to resolve the issue of who Mal's father is.
Audience-Alienating Premise: The idea of Disney characters being parents is surprisingly popular with fans, as Melody and Kiara can attest to. However, Descendants wasn't what people expected, with being a Cliché Storm among the usual DCOM problematic, but also for having all the titular children be teenagers in a typical high school setting. The backstory only makes things worse with a pro-racist aesop that demonizes everyone of a certain group because they descend from notorious criminals, who may or may not be flanderized into Card-Carrying Villains.
One of the biggest complaints about the first two films, was that Mal did some questionable acts in the films and always got away scot-free for her actions. They were even pointed out in Audrey's Royal Return. The third film fixes and revisits that, showing Mal being haunted by her past actions, bringing home the fact that her actions still have consequences. Not only does Mal get comeuppance from the sympathetic Big Bad herself (for whom her actions are not Easily Forgiven in the slightest), she also got a"Reason You Suck" Speechfrom her own teammates.
Another large complaint is that the Auradonians —especially Audrey and Chad— were too mean-spirited to the VKs, this was established in the books and the animated series. The threequel fixes that too, well, for Audrey's case. She's given some depth and an explanation for some of her jerkish behavior, revealing that she's under a lot of pressure by her Racist Grandma similar to the VKs, making her sympathetic even during her promotion to Big Bad.
Awesome Music: The entire soundtrack. "Rotten To The Core", "If Only" and "Set It Off" seem to be getting the most acclaim, with the first two making it to the Billboard Hot 100. The Wicked World spinoff series also starts us off with "Good is the New Bad" and "I'm Your Girl" in season 1 and "Rather Be With You" in season 2.
The second films "Ways To Be Wicked" manages to be even more awesome than "Rotten To The Core", and "What's My Name" is one hell of an introduction for Uma.
Each of the style-shift songs in the movies is great. The first film gives us "Evil Like Me", a classic Broadway-esque number by Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth, and the second film has "Chillin' Like a Villain", which aims for a Michael Jackson influence but ends up sounding more like a Jason Derulo track (see Suspiciously Similar Song below).
The third movie has the spectacular Villain Song "Queen of Mean", and the daddy-daughter rock duet "Do What You Gotta Do".
The last song of Descendants 3, "Break This Down", which is sung by the Auradon Kids and the Villain Kids when Mal decides to permanently destroy the barrier.
Audrey is either a funny Lovable Alpha Bitch whose issues with the VKs are understandable, not to mention being subject to a lot of bad luck or just a prejudiced, unlikable bitch and Hypocrite who never learns from her mistakes. Even then, it didn't stop fans from being disappointed in her absence during the second movie. Her role as the Big Bad in the third movie has been generally well-received, but has still divided opinions further between those who think the turn she took was justified. Or not.
Mal is seen as either a very complex and likable character, a terrible person who never takes responsibility for her actions, or a Cliché Storm who caused Maleficent's Badass Decay.
Her portrayal in Descendants 2 only makes her more divisive, not only with a visual redesign but having her backtrack on her development from the original movie, coming off as a sociopathic delinquent who enjoys doing evil for evil's sake rather than due to parental pressure (which is the opposite of how she's portrayed in Wicked World, where she was twice framed for doing exactly what she actually did in Descendants 2)!
Then there is Ben. He is either a charming and likable character that serves as a positive influence on the VKs or just a Designated Love Interest.
His portrayal in Descendants 2 is more divisive; Is Ben really worried for the people on the Isle of the Lost or does he just use the island as a prison? The third film shows it is the former, and he questions Mal's decision to close the barrier permanently.
"Evil Like Me" from the first film is a show-style duet between Maleficent and Mal that doesn't really advance the plot or ever get referenced again. It's also ambiguous whether or not Maleficent's statue really came to life or if it was just Mal's fantasy.
The second film has "Ways To Be Wicked" - the opening number, which all turns out to be a fantasy sequence from Mal, about her "evil glory days".
"One Kiss" from the third film, may be catchy to some viewers, but it never gets acknowledged again after it's finished, plus you could skip that scene and the story would still move along smoothly.
The novel The Isle of the Lost states that villains who were killed in their respective stories were brought back to life to be punished with exile. This has been a point of contention. One side says it's a terrible idea because it opens up the threat of the villains once again like Dragon Maleficent, Genie Jafar or Chernabog. Another party says that the villains may not stay dead permanently, but says it was cruel of King Beast and Queen Belle to allow the villains to have children and allow them to grow up in an island prison with very little human rights and have them be abused so terribly.note Although Descendants 3 kinda gave us the idea that maybe not all villains are terrible towards their children or grandchildren.
The fact that there is very little continuity shared between the movies, the Wicked World series of shorts, and the novels, with each essentially existing within their own continuity.
The fact that this isn't animated has divided fans. For those in favor of animation, doing so would make the work Truer to the Text and eliminate the Narm factor when watching the movie. For those in favor of live action, doing so would create a Sequel Gap and believe that Narm Charm is in full effect.
Captain Obvious Reveal: Pretty much every fan guessed that Mal's father would be Hades the minute the first teaser for 3 was released.
Crosses the Line Twice: Carlos's life on the island. Growing up with a phobia of dogs thanks to Cruella? Terrible. Jay scaring him by woofing? Guiltily hilarious.
Designated Hero: The Disney Heroes are considered this because of their treatment towards the residents of the Isle of the Lost. Sure, the Disney Villains were bad, but you can't help but pity them for being revived to be banished to an island where magic is forbidden, and their children/grandchildren are treated as criminals just for being related to them, and they're given rotten food and no access to modern technology. And these children are unloved, and must steal from others in order to survive. The universe of Descendants is clearly a Crapsaccharine World where heroes are allowed to banish people just because they hate them, regardless of their crimes.
The Core Four are even seen this way by some fans (especially the ones who preferred Uma, Harry, and Gil) who think that their disregard for the children still trapped on the Isle makes them no better than the people of Auradon.
Queen Leah becomes more of this in Descendants 3. Not being nice to Mal because she reminds her of Maleficent and the pain brought to her family is one thing, but blaming her own granddaughter Audrey for Ben breaking up with her and falling for Mal instead because it ruined their family's goal for her to marry him so they can regain high status is another, and ironically doesn't feel too different to how her familys enemy Maleficent initially reacted when Mal refused to go through with her plan.
Dull Surprise: Dove Cameron's performance in the movies is perfectly fine. Her voice acting in Wicked World, on the other hand, makes her sound like she's been lobotomized.
Esoteric Happy Ending: At the end of Descendants 3, Mal permanently lifts the barrier on the Isle of the Lost, allowing people to come and go as they please. While it's treated as a good thing, since this gives VKs the opportunity to live in Auradon and allows villains who've since turned over a new leaf to make amends with both their children and their enemies, this also means that the villains who haven't made such a change, let alone retired, have every opportunity to take revenge on their foes, at least if they somehow manage to become as dangerous as they were before being imprisoned on the Isle, which is glossed over.
Uma may have been the main antagonist in Descendants 2, but she quickly became a favorite character, with both a catchy song and an understandable motive for why she wants revenge for being left on the Isle.
Those villains have some good genes. With Maleficent and the Evil Queen (in particular the latter) it's not much of a surprise, but who knew Captain Hook, Jafar and Cruella could produce boys that good-looking? And then there's Uma!
Evil Audrey falls into this in the third film, portrayed by the very beautiful Sarah Jeffery; She was already gorgeous before, but a lot of fans find Audrey even more attractive as a villainess, especially during her Villain Song. The way she flirts with Ben when confronting him has rather seductive undertones as well.
Fandom Rivalry: Ever After High fans are not happy that their show and toy line went through a soft reboot (to go with its sister franchise's hard reboot) and subsequently quietly died, while Descendants, which many of them see as a cheap knockoff only popular because it's got the rights to the most popular versions of the fairy tales, continued to thrive.
Uma's dad is usually considered to be Davy Jones, explaining her pirate attire.
Gil is almost universally considered to be a Bimbette offspring. To a lesser extent, Gaston 1 and 2 are his half-brothers, each from a different Bimbette sister. Gil is the Odd Name Out because he was either Gaston's favorite or The Unfavorite, depending on how Gaston is characterized.
Mal/Evie (Mevie). Largely because their close bond and their duet in the second movie having romantic undertones. Even Dove Cameron has voiced her approval for the ship.
Jay/Carlos (Jaylos), mostly because people see better chemistry between them than in Carlos/Jane (Jarlos), though this slowly fades over time as Jarlos gains more shippers and Jay gets shipped more with people like Lonnie and Gil.
And then there's Uma/Mal (Umal), due to the general Fanon that they're ex-girlfriends, which is supported by their actresses.
Friendly Fandoms:Descendants fans appear to get a long with "High School Musical" fans. With some older fans of the former having grew up with the latter and the fact that both film series share the same director probably help.
Harsher in Hindsight: Cameron Boyce stated that the third film would be his last role in a Disney Channel production, but his untimely passing not only cements it, but makes it so he wont progress with his career.
The existence of this is rather amusing when you keep in mind the original draft for the "Pomp and Circumstance" short from Fantasia 2000, which would have featured every Disney character in attendance at the christening of the Disney Princesses' newborn children and was scrapped due to being deemed a stupid idea by the Disney veterans brought back to animate it. As pointed out by a user of a Disney forum: "Didn't expect that Fantasia short to transform into this."
The joke from House of Mouse that sprouted the Hades/Maleficent ship became this when Descendants 3 revealed that Hades is Mal's father.
Any of Harry's (failed) flirting towards Mal and the reminders that she's not available, as Dove Cameron and Thomas Doherty became a real-life couple while filming Descendants 2.
Depending on howyou look at it, Dr. Facilier attempted to manipulate Tiana into giving him his talisman in their prior film. It wasn't until Tiana brutally rejected his offer and explained that even though her father didn't live to see her achieve her dreams, he had one thing that he needed from her: love. In the third Descendants film, he happens to be one of the villains to actually care about their kids as he is shown to be a loving father to Celia, who's shown to love him back. You could say that he actually learned something from his enemy.
In Wicked World, Audrey is distraught over her musical number being ruined and proved unable to perform it without the help of her friends. In Descendants 3, her film counterpart performs a solo song that's one of the most popular songs in the entire franchise without anyone's assistance.
One of the most popular ships among the fandom is Jay/Carlos. It's not hard to see why. Exhibit A: when Jay is showing off his new tourney jersey to the other three villain kids, Carlos wolf-whistles and then looks down with a coy grin. Exhibit B: They don't seem to have much personal space between each other, like when a scared Carlos jumps right into Jay's arms and the latter doesn't seem much bothered by it. Exhibit C: This quote from Isle of the Lost.
Jay laughed again, which made Carlos feel good, though he couldn't exactly explain why, not even to himself.
Ben/Carlos while not as popular as Jay/Carlos, have some cute sweet chemistry together while Ben helps Carlos over his fear of dogs.
For that matter, Mal/Evie. The scene where Evie is complimenting Mal's appearance in the mirror while leaning her head on Mal's shoulder is a big example. The sequel even gives them a song together. A song that fans have compared to Troy and Gabriella's "Gotta Go My Own Way" from the High School Musical 2.
Ironically enough, there's even some underlying Mal/Audrey in the "Rather Be" musical number of Episode 19 - the song's lyrics don't help. The ensuing arc then has Audrey thinking Mal has returned to evil and taking it as personally as if she were a lover accusing their spouse of cheating.
In the sequel, Mal and Uma have some Foe Yay going on. When they meet again and exchange insults, the conversation comes off as almost flirty. Then they arm wrestle, while making intense eye contact.
Uma: You know I've dreamed of this. Mal: I'm so flattered that you dream of me.
China Anne McClain and Dove Cameron have actually confirmed that they interpret Mal and Uma as being ex girlfriends.
The third film has Harry calling Jay "gorgeous-face" while he thanks Jay for saving him.
D3 also has Jay deciding to take a gap year after graduation so he can go exploring with Gil. And during the ending number, which features everyone with their romantic partners, like Ben and Mal, Carlos and Jane, Harry and Uma, Chad and Audrey, Evie and Doug, it also has Jay and Gil dancing with each other.
Many viewers who are big Liv and Maddie fans tuned in only for Dove and many Cameron Boyce fans flocked to see his first DCOM.
Come Descendants 2, Uma became a draw for a lot of people; just searching "Descendants 3" on Tumblr will reveal a lot of people saying that they will disown the coming film from Descendants canon if Uma does not receive satisfying closure.
Ever since Cameron Boyce's untimely death, it has become the top subject in the days preceding the release of Descendants 3, leading to a number of fans who will watch just to see Carlos one last time, hard as it may be.
Moral Event Horizon: The kitchen scene is an off-screen moment of this for the villains, when the kids reveal to Lonnie that their parents don't love them and never parented them in anything resembling a normal manner. This is confirmed by their depicted behavior/demeanor: Cruella's makes her son live in fear and has lied to him about many things, Jafar treats his son just as an employee for his shop and is always concerned with what he can steal for him, the Evil Queen wants to make her dreams come true through Evie rather than let Evie pursue her own dreams, and Maleficent is... well, Maleficent.
"Be Our Guest" having a hip-hop remix just... doesn't really work. The lyrics "don't believe me? Ask the dishes!" definitely don't even make sense when the song doesn't involve talking dinnerware.
While the battle between Mal and Uma in their One-Winged Angel forms in Descendants 2 is pretty sweet, near the end there's a silly part: Ben, watching from the boat, starts to shake and lets out a mighty roar. Pretty much everyone expected him to become a Beast and join in the fight, but instead he just hands off his crown and coat before diving in and telling them that they have to respect each other. So basically, the roar was completely pointless.
Given that the four protagonists aren't particularly villainous, all things considered, "Rotten to the Core" comes off more as a choreographed ego boost than as a declaration of villainy. It's still a provocative ear worm.
In Descendants 3, Evie ponders whether Doug is her Romeo. Normally it would be Narm, especially since Juliet and Romeo both end up dead, but considering Evie's mother is the Evil Queen, and Doug's family are the Seven Dwarfs, and they're enemies, it comes across as this instead.
Older Than They Think: A Disney movie where a major character is the child of a villain and, as a result, people expect them to become a villain as well? Sky High (2005) did it first.
Meta: For the first movie, Disney Channel got an up-and-coming Teen Idol and former Radio Disney Next Big Thing to do the credits song, "Believe". His name was Shawn Mendes, and this was just after a little song named "Stitches" got off the ground...
Audrey. Her Lovable Alpha Bitch tendencies in Wicked World, particularly in the second season, softened quite a few fans' opinions of her. She was even more rescued in Descendants 3, where she gets a frankly awesomeVillain Song and becomes an Evil Is Cool sort of villainess. A lot of fans ended up even sympathizing with her because of the tragic circumstances leading to her fall.
Although she wasn't a complete scrappy to begin with, some fans of the first film felt that Lonnie only served as a Satellite Character who's only purpose was to reveal how the four protagonist's parents treated them along with providing Mal with her tears to concoct her love spell cookies to Ben. Came the second film where she Took a Level in Badass and assist the main characters on rescuing Ben from the Isle of the Lost along with showcasing impressive fencing/sword skills to boot.
Many fans took to Uma's side in Descendants 2 when she unveiled her intentions of taking over Auradon. Seeing how the very rulers of Auradon herded innocent children and their enemies into what could only be described as a ghetto, this comes off as an attempt to Pay Evil unto Evil rather than some kind of Moral Event Horizon as depicted in the film.
Happened again in Descendants 3 with Audrey, who more than a few viewers looked at her reasoning for turning evil and wanting revenge and said "Well, she's not entirely wrong". The popularity of her Villain Song and delightfully campy style also helped.
Sailor Earth: Pick a Disney character, any Disney character. Give them a kid. Now give that kid a name that sounds similar to the name of the Disney character you picked. Congrats, you now have a Descendants OC.
Ally, Alice's daughter from Wicked World has had a rather tepid reception. The attempt at making her a CloudcuckoolanderGenki Girl comes off as forced and grating, and she can also come off as incredibly passive-aggressive toward her friends. It really got bad at the climax of Wicked World's second season where she just sat back and let Audrey go on an ill-informed rant toward Mal and refuse to help her, and then only some time after Mal had left did she suddenly think to reveal to Audrey that Mal hadn't been in control of her actions. What the Hell, Ally?
The Evil Queen, Cruella, and Jafar do not get any love out of the fandom because of the Adaptational Wimp each one suffered and how they were pretty much reduced to Adaptational Comic Relief for the duration of the movie.
Few people seem to care much about Dude after he was accidentally given the ability to speak with a truth serum. Mostly because the concept of a wise-cracking animal is simply out-there for an already absurd series of Live-Action movies, and many find his jokes and personality to be way too obnoxious to be funny.
Seasonal Rot: The second season of Wicked World has gotten these complaints due to it being an absurd repetition of the first season's storyline. It literally has the exact same premise as the first: there's a visit to the Isle of the Lost, a big event coming up at Auradon Prep, a new Villain Kid follows the heroes back to Auradon from the Isle of the Lost and goes about framing Mal, making all the Auradon Kids distrust her, and then the real culprit makes their move at the big event. The only differences are it's CJ Hook in Season 1 and Zevon in Season 2, and the method of framing Mal differs (CJ does it the normal way, Zevon does it when Mal was put under Mind Control.)
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: As usual with Disney Channel media, the film isn't very subtle with it's themes. But it treats it's surprisingly smart lessons of self-respect and social acceptance with reverence, while the first film has a theme of knowing when to stand up to parental figures when the right thing needs to be done and wrongs need to be made right.
She Really Can Act: The casting of Dove Cameron as Mal was initially met with plenty of "WTH, Casting Agency?" cries from the more hardcore Disney fans. When the movie came out, many were impressed by how well Dove pulled off Mal's character.
To a lesser extent, Cameron Boyce as well, with Carlos turning out to be a far cry from the troublemaking Casanova WannabeLuke Ross.
Signature Scene: Audrey's transformation during "Queen of Mean" in the third film, as it shows the rise of the franchise's most iconic villain.
Signature Song: "Rotten to the Core" from the first film, "Ways to be Wicked" from the second, and "Queen of Mean" from the third (Disney was clearly trying for "Good to be Bad" to be this in the third, given that it's the film's opening song like the other two were, but "Queen of Mean" just proved too awesome to be eclipsed.)
Rotten to the Core has a moment where Mal's lip-syncing is off by one word.
The tentacles on Uma's One-Winged Angel form are very clearly CGI because the lighting on them doesn't match the background. The same can be said for Mal's dragon form.
The wig Dove Cameron wears as Mal in the first film was fine, being dark enough to contrast, but the one in "Descendants 2" is significantly lighter, and the combination of it and the lighting makes the incredibly-pale Dove look like she has purple skin.
The lip syncing during Mal's Badass Boast in the middle of "Night Falls" in the third film doesn't match what she's saying at all, despite the fact that the camera won't cut away to a reaction shot.
Ben's Beast form is obviously just a guy with bad make-up on. It's one of those rare cases where using CGI would've looked better.
Strangled by the Red String: Doug and Evie comes off this way for a lot of people, especially in the third movie, where Evie uses true love's kiss to wake him from the sleeping spell. Mal and Ben also get this but to a much lesser extent.
Strawman Has a Point: The Beast, when he tries to stop Mal from opening the barrier AKA the only thing that keeps a bunch of psycho super villains who tried to kill a lot of people or other crimes away from Auradon.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The general reaction to Ursula's minuscule role in the sequel. While Maleficent and the other Disney Villains were prominently featured in the first film, Ursula was reduced to a mere cameo, and never fully showed up onscreen (save a CGI tentacle). Not to mention, she's voiced by Whoopi Goldberg; not only is she a pretty solid choice for the character, her amount of starpower could've easily helped the film's promotion (as Kristin Chenoweth's did with the first movie).
As mentioned above under Broken Base, ignoring the Disney DTV sequels means ignoring the fact that Melody — the canon daughter of Disney Princess Ariel — exists.
Freddie Facilier. Despite the books saying that she's Celia's older sister, she doesn't even get a mention in D3.
The VKs introduced in D3 are generally considered to be interesting, but their lack of development is a disappointment.
Despite Dizzy Tremaine having a Small Role, Big Impact in the second film and being close friends with Evie, while she does finally get to come to Auradon in the third film she's absent from all the plot scenes babysitting Squeaky and Squirmy offscreen and later falling under Audreys sleeping spell, with Celia instead following the Core Four throughout the film.
The Anti-Heroes Club members from the books, big time. They were established young VKs who fans had wanted to see in D3, yet rather than getting ANY of them, we got Celia, Squeaky, and Squirmy (with the latter two servicing no real purpose in the film). Special mention goes to Hadie, who is Hades' son in the books which makes him Mal's younger brother, yet he doesn't even get a mention. Honestly, its confusing why Squeaky and Squirmy are even in the films, they could've easily been replaced by any of the Anti-Heroes Club members.
Some argue that Lonnie wanting to be part of the fencing team is throwing her previous characterization out of the window. Mainly because her being a pacifist, while both of her parents are warriors, made her a much more interesting character in their eyes. Forcing her to become a fighter like her parents is technically a Broken Aesop to the main message of the series, that children don't have to follow their parents' footsteps.
A number of fans wish that more focus had been placed on Jay and Carlos (especially in Wicked World), as their subplots never really got as much attention as the plots related to Mal and Evie. Carlos especially got this sentiment after the passing of his actor, Cameron Boyce, with many fans wishing he got more attention in hindsight.
In the original 101 Dalmatians book Cruella is married. Having her husband and by extension, Carlos's father show up even as a cameo would have been a great Mythology Gag and call back to the original book. However, Carlos's dad (Whoever he is) is never even alluded to.
Believe it or not, people actually wanted to see villains and heroes across Disney canon share the same universe. It would have been good to see all the different aspects of how all the cultures across all eras blended.
Having Villain Kids interact with the enemies of their parents would be interesting (ex: Mal with Aurora and Phillip, Evie with Snow White and Dopey, Jay with Aladdin and Jasmine, Freddie and/or Celia with Tiana and Naveen, Gil with Beast and Belle, Dizzy with Cinderella) but we never really get to see it.
Tough Act to Follow: General consensus is that "Good to Be Bad", the first single from the third movie, fails to live up to the bar set by "Rotten to the Core" from the first film and "Ways to be Wicked" from the second, and as such it's much less popular than other numbers like "Queen of Mean" and "Do What You Gotta Do".
Trapped by Mountain Lions: Ben's subplots in the Isle of the Lost series of books. While the VKs are busy securing magical objects that could tip the scales in favor of evil if they fell into the wrong hands, he is... negotiating with unions and playing ambassador between kingdoms, which seem like much less important tasks and really only serve to keep him out of the main plot. Mitigated in the second book, where his subplot does tie into the main one to an extent. He also doesn't have a subplot at all in the fourth book.
Uncanny Valley: The animated spin-off Wicked World has character designs that come off as creepy. The animators tried too hard to mix their live action counterparts with the Glen Keane style, and they do not mix together whatsoever (probably because the animation service that's animating the Wicked World series also animated Space Chimps and Legends of Oz).
Many people had this reaction toward Uma in Descendants 2, as she was no worse than Mal was in both movies and some may argue she was less evil since Mal was always the one bullying her back on the Isle of the Lost, and yet she ends up denied any sort of redemption in the end. The movie's attempts at painting her as a villain for wanting to take over Auradon is often met with ridicule, citing that Auradon is chock full of Designated Hero characters who fans believe deserve comeuppance for their gross mistreatment of the children stuck on the Isle of the Lost.
Audrey, for some. She's somewhat of an antagonist in the first movie, but she still gets her long-time boyfriend stolen from her by Mal via love spell. Addressed and heightened in Descendants 3, when the movie shows that her grandmother is disappointed in her for being unable "to keep" Ben and it's implied in a photo shown in "Queen of Mean" that her life has revolved around becoming Ben's wife and the future queen of Auradon since she was a child. In fact, this is why her villainous motivation is to takeover Auradon when she's under the influence of Maleficent's scepter. In the end, Mal and Ben apologize, which Mal acknowledges was long overdue.
Likewise, Mal in Descendants 2 lost many viewer's goodwill by revealing that she actually enjoyed being evil and missed it (undermining her whole big speech about choosing to be good in the first movie), left to go back to a life of villainy on the Isle of the Lost rather than simply talking to someone about her feelings and troubles relating to not fitting in at Auradon, got Ben kidnapped by Uma, and while she was understandably furious at Evie, Jay and Carlos for bringing him to the Isle and failing to protect him, it was also Mal's own fault since she already decided that she doesn't belong in Auradon and refused to go back even after Ben came all the way to the Isle to convince her to come back and she ends up breaking up with him. This gets even worse in the third movie, in which she tells Beast, Belle, and Fairy Godmother that the program to bring villain kids to Auradon needs to be shut down and that the Isle needs to be closed off completely, then hides from her friends that she was the one to suggest it. On top of that, she lies to Uma and her squad and says that, if they help her save Auradon, she'll let any villain kids who want to go to Auradon go, even though it was previously established that she plans to do quite the opposite. In the end, she acknowledges her mistakes in "My Once Upon A Time" and mends her ways by publicly proclaiming at the end of the movie that the barrier needs to be taken down, which she herself takes care of.
That being said, the sequel has Uma throw this in Ben's face and tells him how unfair the situation is, and both movies make it clear that the Villain Kids could easily be good if given the chance to be away from their abusive parents, so this might be an Intended Audience Reaction.
Believe it or not, even Ben qualifies for this in a way. In the second film, not only does he freak out over Mal using magic to do her royal work and failing to live up to the unrealistically high expectations of being his lady of the court (but for some reason accepting her G-Rated Drug no less, and carelessly breaking up with Audrey without even acknowledging her feelings), but after taking the Core Four off the Isle, he completely forgets about the VK program even though it was pretty much the only thing he had planned, so his excuse over being too busy being king is pretty much void. Musical Hell rightfully calls him out for this.
Your favorite Disney heroes deciding that how their respective villains lost and died in their stories wasn't enough and punishing them and their children (by virtue of Sins of the Father) by making them live on a remote island.
We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: Those who don't appreciate "Rotten To The Core" for it's melody and background often criticize it as the movie's attempt to be hip and modern with the current generation.
What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: The plot of the story is that the "good guys" have forced the Villains onto an island to live out the rest of their days and expect the Villain Kids to be the same, until the Villain Kids are allowed to attend Auradon Prep with the other Hero Kids because people have realized it isn't right to punish kids for what their parents have done, but this is still met with heavy backlash because others still believe the Villain Kids are naturally evil. In the third movie (which aired during a controversial time in the U.S. political climate), Hades even points out that when a "good guy" like Audrey does something terrible, they're excused as being troubled, while villains don't get another chance to redeem themselves.
Mitchell Hope did not do his own singing in the first film. In the second film, he does his own singing and it shows. It doesn't help that auto tune was used so heavily that the voice sounds entirely robotic. However, his singing does get much better by the third movie, as one can tell from hearing the now slowed-down lines from "Did I Mention" being utilized in the scene where Ben proposes to Mal.
Many have derided the wardrobe as being made of cheap plastic and leather.
When Uma was first introduced, some viewers had difficulty pinning her parent down, considering how there aren't many villains out there with blue hair, with the Pirate Girl get-up already excluding Hades as a possibility. Some thought that her parent was Davy Jones before it was confirmed to be Ursula.
The Woobie: Carlos is only fourteen years old and has been raised by Cruella to be deathly afraid of dogs. Not only is he happy to leave the Isle, he escapes his mother while holding his possessions in a garbage bag. It says a lot about his life on the Isle.