Directed by Thurop Van Orman and Co-Directed by John Rice (directorial debuts)
Stuck in an ever-escalating series of pranks since the end of the last film, the Birds and Pigs must now join together against the new threat of Eagle Island.
Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) is enjoying being accepted and worshipped as a hero and no longer being at outcast. He, along with Chuck (voiced by Josh Gad) and Bomb (voiced by Danny McBride), have settled into a life of monitoring Piggy Island and counter-pranking whenever they strike. Part of this story’s thrust is that Red is fearful that the necessary truce with Piggy Island along with new cast member Silver (voiced by Rachel Bloom) will force him back to the isolation that made him so miserable before the events of the last film so his own fears and ego start getting in the way. That is some heavy stuff right there.
The introduction of Silver as Chuck’s sister and Red’s love interest helped to mix things up in a positive way. Chuck was able to do more as a character than just zip around and Red got to grow. The new character, here Silver, saving the a day feels a bit like a Mary Sue moment though. I loved her interactions with Red but ultimately it should have been an established character that saves the day. I have never been too much of a fan of the new character being the hero or integral to the resolution. Maybe by the next film but not in their first outing.
Leonard (voiced by Bill Hader), who is just as screwy as before, gets some clearly named help this time around from Courtney (voiced by Awkwafina) and hipster technological genius Garry (voiced by Sterling K. Brown). I felt that the character was a little too much on his own in the last one being the only Pig that was clearly named and his dynamic with the other unnamed Pigs felt more like how Gru in Despicable Me interacted with the Minions. They refreshed things without altering them here.
Zeta (voiced by Leslie Jones) is the leader of frigid Eagle Island and mother to Debbie (voiced by Tiffany Haddish) as well as being the ex-fiancé of Mighty Eagle (voiced by Peter Dinklage) who is also Debbie’s dad. When did this turn into Maury? I am seriously surprised there was no Maury Povich or Jerry Springer type joke when this information was all laid out. It was the perfect opportunity.
Zeta is bitter towards Ethan “Mighty” Eagle for obvious reasons and just plain sick of living on a freezing island. Tangent time! Why is Mighty Eagle called Mighty Eagle? He is the hero of Bird Island, but his heroic exploits are never elaborated on. They just are. If a third movie is made it might be a plot option.
Frenemies joining together can be very entertaining and is usually a good way to mix up previous plot elements. Sometimes though it dilutes what came before but here it works. They meld the two groups together in a comedic pairing where the two sides are shown to not be that different.
The popular music choices used here are much better and truthfully feel more numerous than from the first film. We get the bouncy “Best Day (Angry Birds 2 Remix)” by Kesha but most are used to up the comedy of the scene such as: “Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler, “All by Myself” by Eric Carmen, “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett, “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan, “Lovin’ You” by Minnie Riperton, “Space Oddity” by the legendary David Bowie, “I Don’t Want to Wait” by Paula Cole in which it is used while Mighty Eagle is discussing what happened with Zeta in the 90s, “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, and “Hello” by Lionel Richie, which is always funny when used in a comedy. This was my first time hearing “Baby Shark” by Pinkfong and I get the hate. It is catchy and extremely stupid. It should be considered a crime against humanity. We also get “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred and “The Final Countdown” by Europe. Separately it sounds like an odd mix but together they work and move the narrative. Success breeds access.
The story with the Hatchlings I thought would go nowhere. My first thought when it started was that somebody decided more movie was needed so it got added. It honestly felt like fluff that would not connect to the finale, but it did. The humor in it reminded me of those old Warner Brothers and MGM cartoons that would start simple enough but as the characters try to solve the problem or as the story progressed things just built and built to an ever increasingly ridiculous level. And one of the Hatchlings even hung a lantern at the beginning of it all by noting how the recovery of the eggs at the very beginning was too easy and just like in those cartoons it was.
The script is solid, and the jokes are funny. The movie overall plays more like old-school Warner Bros. animation than it does a more modern animated comedy. The characters are entertaining and no one character is genuinely wasted. More importantly the jokes are steady and well timed. The humor keeps coming.
The Angry Birds Movie 2 is not bad as sequels go. It feels like it hits the ground running without much of the movie building up to the story, but the jokes are funny and the popular music choices are better and feel more numerous than in the last one. The story is good and fits well into the quirky world begun in the original. All in all, a very entertaining movie.