When The Angry Birds Movie came out a while back, let’s just say everyone was shocked that a then 7-year-old mobile game would be getting the silver screen treatment. Imagine the uproar when that film became the second highest-grossing video game adaptation during its theatrical run. Three years later, we get a sequel that builds upon its predecessor in a surprisingly entertaining way, and becomes a pleasantly great movie in its own right.
In The Angry Birds Movie 2, we follow the main protagonist trio Red (voiced by Jason Sudekis), Chuck (voiced by Josh Gad), and Bomb (voiced by Danny McBride) as they defend Bird Island from King Leonard (voiced by Bill Hader) and the inhabitants of Pig Island. While a prank war ensues in the prologue, these comedic antics are cut short when a meteor of ice crash lands on Pig Island, with the new eagle Zeta (voiced by Leslie Jones) threatening both islands. The two species must work together in order to stop Zeta and her eagles from destroying their homes and taking the islands for her own nefarious purposes. While we also get the return of the Mighty Eagle (voiced by Peter Dinklage, oddly enough), we also get three new main characters to join the ensemble with pigs Courtney (voiced by Awkafina) and Garry (voiced by Sterling K. Brown), and bird Silver (voiced by Rachel Bloom) rounding out the cast.
Throughout the film, we follow Red as he’s finally becoming accustomed to being the star of the show as some minor characters compliment him on how great he is because of the events of the first film. This newfound fame and attention is something that he didn’t experience before the events of the first film, so it’s pretty neat to see him finally receiving some love from the islanders. However, it’s apparent that he’s craving attention just a little too much, and initially doesn’t want the truce the pigs offer. This theme of being relevant and accepting — that teamwork is necessary — is prevalent throughout the film and, for a children’s movie, it tackles this concept well enough for both adults and kids to understand.
While the rivalry between King Leonard and Red is shown in the first act of the film, it fades away a little afterwards. This time around, Red is joined by Chuck’s sister, Silver, who is the smart, rational foil to his gutsy yet reckless heroic personality. Both of them butt heads throughout the film, with room for character development down the line. I did enjoy this contrast rather than the one between Red and Leonard, as it tackles the teamwork theme quite nicely. Courtney and Garry act as comic relief with Bomb, and the scenes where most of the cast tries to infiltrate the Eagle Island as a decoy eagle are children’s comedy gold. Antagonist Zeta is pretty hammy and charming, with her maniacal and sassy attitude stealing the show a lot. Overall, I did like the addition of the new characters as the pigs and birds form an alliance, with the star of the show being Silver. That being said, don’t expect much from anyone that’s not in the main cast, as the birds from the first movie are relegated to small background gags or scenes that don’t last too long.
In addition to the main plot of foiling Zeta, there are segments where a trio of hatchlings try to save eggs after a comically stupid chance encounter gets them lost at sea (then on clouds, then with a snake…) Considering two of them are voiced by Jojo Siwa (what.), I was expecting them to be shrill and annoying. And guess what? They were! It seems like every children’s film wants their own version of minions, which I guess is fine if they’re integral to the plot, but here they pretty much fall flat. While they’re admittedly cute and their antics are pretty humorous (especially with the leader of the trio being a foul-mouth cutie, though because of the PG rating we don’t hear it much), these scenes break up the action of the main narrative a little too much. In fact, I feel the only reason these scenes exist are because the studio knows these things can be marketed as happy meal toys, and also because of their sudden importance during the climax of the film.
I liked the CGI style of the first film, and The Angry Birds Movie 2 improves on the wacky nature of this 3D animation. Characters move a little more fluidly, and every character gets involved in some silly slapstick gags. The humor is a little hit-or-miss, as some scenes are pretty hilarious, such as the speed dating and bathroom scenes, though admittedly the lion’s share of them are in the trailers. There are some licensed songs used as gags (I swear, I can’t take Lionel Richie’s “Hello” seriously anymore), though some of them can really be cringeworthy (I’m looking at you, Baby Shark). Much like other children’s films, it doesn’t do much to cater to older audiences like Pokémon Detective Pikachu or Paddington 2, but there’s enough here for everyone to enjoy. I also liked how the film doesn’t try to reference much of the source material like the first movie; here, there are only passing references to the game’s mechanics and characters. You don’t have to be a fan of the games to enjoy this film, which is more than I have to say for the first one.
The Angry Birds Movie 2
Hyperactive and pretty hilarious, The Angry Birds Movie 2 shows some signs of a very bright future for video game adaptations. While falling short a little near the middle of the film, there’s a lot here that anyone with a passing interest of the franchise will love.