Disclaimer: this is just my opinion, I’ve just watched these movies too many times.
3. High School Musical
If we’re being honest, the only thing that carries this movie is the nostalgia. From Troy not even singing, to Gabriella’s useless song that sets unrealistic expectations for high school (there’s definitely no posters of students, I don’t know where they got that idea), the first movie has many flaws. Despite this, the film introduces us to the characters in a flawless way. Though some parts are overdramatized, such as “Stick to the Status Quo”, which shows unhealthy friendships and an unaccepting community, there are moments that are really well done despite still clearly being a Disney Channel Original Movie, such as “Breaking Free” and “Getcha Head in the Game”. However, the stakes are low (they’re only rehearsing for callbacks. Seriously?) and are too unrealistic for me.
2. High School Musical 2
This may be controversial, but this is the correct opinion. While this is a VAST improvement from the first movie, and the songs are great, it’s still problematic, at least to an older audience. One thing that definitely deterred me from liking this movie more is how audiences have glorified Sharpay’s actions. While at the surface it looks like she’s just trying to provide Troy with opportunities, it’s clear that it’s only for her personal gain. Once again, she’s trying to get Troy to date her. However, unlike the first movie, Troy says no, firmly and multiple times. The fact that she’s trying to bribe and coerce him into a relationship by manipulating him to distance himself from his friends should not be considered kind and helpful. Of course, some of the blame falls on Troy for saying yes to these opportunities. Other than that, the movie itself is quite good, with a solid arc and conflict, and excellent songs that are a great improvement from the last movie. That being said, whoever added that horrendous amount of saturation in post-production should be fired.
1. High School Musical 3: Senior Year
You knew this was coming. Unlike the other movies, HSM3 got the theatrical release treatment, meaning it got a bigger budget. This meant everything was bigger (and better). This works well because this is the farewell to our beloved main six, it being the last movie. The stakes are as high as possible, with them deciding what to do with their future and going off to college. The songs are fantastic, with the classic Gabriella ballad, the underrated “Walk Away”, and to parallel “Bet On It”, Troy has another angry song (which slaps, of course), “Scream”. The rest of the soundtrack is also relatable, as much as it can be while still being a Disney film and musical. They added more characters that don’t overshadow the main cast and have a sense of life after the movie. Overall, this movie is definitely the best of all three.
These are my opinions, but I want to hear yours! Comment them down below!