‘Frozen 2,’ ’21 Bridges’ to go head-to-head at box office

When Disney announced that the long-awaited sequel to the 2013 mega-mega hit “Frozen” was going to be released on Nov. 22, it was a warning to the rest of Hollywood: Elsa and Anna have staked their claim to this date, so back off.

Anna and Olaf return for Disney’s “Frozen 2.” (Courtesy of Disney)

Don’t mess with the women of Arendelle at the box office, because if you release a film this week, your studio will lose millions. Go ahead, Disney basically taunted. It let the world know when it was going to release one of the most anticipated sequels of all time. The first film generated more than $1.2 billion at the worldwide box office and what studio would possibly going to compete with Elsa and Anna during the days leading to a holiday?

Undeniably, Elsa is a force – her hands can turn anything to ice. She’s complemented by her sister, Anna, a lovable snowman and a muscular hunk named Kristoff. Really, they are Disney’s equivalent to The Beatles, a transcendent foursome who revolutionized animated films and are worth billions. “Let It Go” will live as long as “Let It Be.”

Kids who spent their elementary school years singing “In Summer,” “Do You Want To Build A Snowman” and “The First Time in Forever” are now in high school. Parents who took their kids to “Frozen” in 2013 are going to see Elsa and Anna finish what they started.

But Elsa and Anna have an unexpected opposition this weekend, one much bigger than the huge monsters they face in “Frozen 2”: Mr. Black Panther himself, Chadwick Bozeman.

Bozeman has ditched the skin-tight black suit for a business suit as Andre Davis, a polarizing New York City detective tasked with bringing two cop killers to justice in STX’s “21 Bridges.” It’s the best thriller of the year, one that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final bullet is fired 100 minutes later.

“21 Bridges” isn’t going to beat “Frozen 2” at the box office. But what film would, really? Star Wars? Another Avengers movie? Maybe, maybe not. But that doesn’t mean “21 Bridges” is worth overlooking.

Chadwick Boseman stars in “21 Bridges.” (Courtesy of STX)

Bozeman gives his finest performance of his career, showing why he’s ascended Hollywood’s hierarchy faster than anyone not named Michael B. Jordan.

“21 Bridges” is about a night-time cocaine heist gone terribly, terribly wrong and each scene makes it harder to determine who truly are bad guys. It’s the job of Davis – who takes pride in having been cleared in killing eight suspects in the line of duty in the last nine years – to determine who deserves a badge and who deserves a jail cell.

Both Chadwick and Elsa (again voiced by the unmistakable Idina Menzel) are complemented by superb casts.

Anna’s crew is already established, with Kristen Bell voicing Anna, Josh Gad bringing Olaf the snowman to life and Jonathan Groff voicing Kristoff.

Davis’ cohorts include Sienna Miller, who plays fellow detective Frankie Burns, and  J.K. Simmons, who plays a police captain who just had seven of his men gunned down in the middle of the street.

It’s Davis’ job to do whatever it takes to apprehend the two men – played by Stephan James and Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) – before the sun rises after Davis closes all thoroughfares leading in and out of Manhattan.

Both films offer strong story lines. But both aren’t without flaws – the songs in “Frozen 2,” such as “Into the Unknown,” “Lost in the Woods” and “All is Found,” aren’t as good as the ones in the first film. “21 Bridges” director Brian Kirk should have spent more time developing Bozeman and Miller’s characters.

Both have unexpected surprises. Gad’s Olaf is so good he comes close to overshadowing Elsa, while seeing Bozeman deliver like he does without a Black Panther mask shows it’s only a matter of time before he wins an Oscar.

Which one is better? Sorry, Frozen fans. While “Frozen 2” is certainly good – probably the best animated sequel ever produced – it comes up just a few degrees short compared to “21 Bridges.”