In a summer where the box office has been hit and miss when it comes to giving audiences what they wanted or expected, The Angry Birds Movie 2 is pretty much exactly what you would expect it to be. While fans of the first film will likely be satisfied with the sequel and there’s nothing fundamentally bad about The Angry Birds Movie 2, it’s unlikely that anyone who wasn’t already planning to see it will change their minds and buy a ticket.The good news is that if you’re an adult taking a child to this, it won’t be an unpleasant experience. You’ll probably have sat through worse. Would you recommend someone go and see it without kids? Probably not. Another bonus is that at 96 minutes long, one minute shorter than The Angry Birds Movie, it doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Director Thurop Van Orman previously worked on Powerpuff Girls, Adventure Time, and Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh, and he’s brought some of his flair from those projects and applied them here, taking what the first film laid out and giving it his own touch. But while there are few flourishes here for adults, this is very much a kids movie.
What was interesting to see was how the kids in the screening I was at reacted to the movie. The younger members of the audience lapped up the silliness and the mild peril. However, the kids at the older end of the spectrum, the ones who probably were more in the previous demographic when the first film came out, seemed entertained but less reactive and enamored by what they were seeing. The former sang along to songs on the soundtrack and repeated funny dialogue they’d just heard while the latter didn’t. A few of the older kids had their phones out and generally seemed more interested in what was going on outside the theater than what was unfolding inside.
The plot of The Angry Birds Movie 2 is a bit deeper than that of the first movie – although deeper is relative. This time Red, Chuck, and Bomb (once again voiced by Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, and Danny McBride, respectively) have to team up with Leonard (voiced by Bill Hader) and the rest of the pigs when they find out someone with an advanced weapon is threatening to destroy both their island homes. As I said, deeper is relative.
As with The Angry Birds Movie, there is plenty of silliness and sight gags that will raise a chuckle, but this one has more of a Looney Tunes feel to it. There are several new characters added to the mix, and a few of them do make their presence felt most notably Silver (voiced by Rachel Bloom), Courtney (voiced by Awkwafina), and Garry (voiced by Sterling K. Brown). All of them, as characters and voice actors, bring something different and add value to the narrative and some meat to the bones of the movie. But even with all these cast additions and changes, The Angry Birds Movie 2 still feels too derivative and like you’ve seen these tropes and beats before.
The villain of the piece, Zeta, is voiced by Leslie Jones. She does a solid job, but the material she’s given to work with isn’t quite as strong as some of the other characters – that is not her fault. She gives it everything she’s got, but I just kept thinking how much I’d rather hear her in a more unrestrained, adult animated movie just letting rip. She’s at her best when she’s let loose. That said, compare her character and performance to the average nemesis in this kind of family movie and Zeta is one of the better ones.
There are a handful of subplots in the movie, and there’s a message or two, including overcoming differences with people you might disagree with to try and find some kind of common ground and work together. It’s not preachy or laid on too thick so kudos to all involved for that – the focus is firmly on the fun.