The 2016 Angry Birds movie was not terribly memorable but watchable enough for a movie based on a video game (one I've never played).
This, however, is a prime example of the all-too-unnecessary sequels that continue to fill cinemas. Live action sequels and series have always been common but their prevalence in animation a relatively recent phenomenon and, despite a few notable exceptions like the Toy Story films, not a particularly admirable one.
Forget artistic integrity: it's all about Hollywood trying to avoid risk and rake in money. Even the title makes no sense: these birds are occasionally grumpy, even peevish, but angry is a stretch.
This time, Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) is still basking in the admiration and gratitude of the other birds for his role in saving their island from the pigs, led by Leonard (Bill Hader), who populate nearby Piggy Island (rebuilt since the mayhem of the first movie).
The birds and the pigs are still at war, but then a threat to both comes along that forces them to declare a truce.
Is it silly to ponder realistic matters in an animated film about talking animals and birds?
It seems there's a nearby frozen island. This makes no sense in at least two ways: one, it's nearby but nobody's ever noticed it before; two, it's got a markedly colder climate than the others despite the close proximity. (There is a third reason but it would be a spoiler to reveal it).
Is it silly to ponder realistic matters in an animated film about talking animals and birds? Perhaps, but these are issues within the established universe of the first film and it seems like lazy and opportunistic scripting.
Anyway: Zeta (Leslie Jones), the leader of Eagle Island, as it's called, is sick of living in a frozen land (it took her this long to decide?) She has her underlings pelt ice bombs to force the birds and pigs to evacuate from their islands so she can take them over. And they keep coming. And coming.
Naturally, this does not sit well with either of the other populations, who spend enough time sparring with each other. This might be read as some kind of allegory about outside attempts to resolve the Middle East conflict but I don't think the movie is that smart.
Red assures the other birds they don't need to evacuate: he will save them once again. This time, the birds and pigs are in an uneasy alliance, however, and a team is assembled that includes superfast Chuck (Josh Gad), the literally explosive Bomb (Danny McBride), Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), the only bird that can fly, and Chuck's intelligent younger sister Silver (Rachel Bloom), an engineering student. You would think the preponderance of birds on the team would not sit well with Leonard, who has some leadership tensions with Red, but apparently not.
This is another seemingly jarring note that only occurs to people like me, the ones Alfred Hitchcock used to call the "plausibles" who expect some sort of internal consistency. I can suspend disbelief, but when it's too many times and the problems are too obvious, it gets hard. And this film is nowhere near the level of Hitchcock's best, or even his second-best.
Moving on: the team makes its plan and sets off to carry it out. We'll leave the story there and consider some other issues.
The Angry Birds Movie 2 is loaded with subplots and incidents that are sometimes diverting but mostly feel like they are included to pad out the running time. The three hatchlings' adventures away from home take up quite a lot of time but at least they provide a change of pace.
It's worth noting the makers of the film - like many others - seem to have a 1980s fixation: there's a breakdancing scene and tunes from that era including Lionel Ritchie's Hello and Harold Faltermeyer's Axel F are played on the soundtrack.
Redeeming features? The voice cast, both original and returning, were enthusiastic and I can't recall another animated movie where unwed teenage pregnancy was an issue (though it's not laboured too heavily) . And there were some decent sight gags and jokes.
This isn't one of the better animated movies - indeed, Sony's offerings don't tend to match up to Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks. An exception is Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. Now there's a film that could use a sequel.