New dynamic, toilet humor augment ‘Angry Birds’ sequel
A serviceable sequel to the odd but colorful 2016 film, “The Angry Birds Movie 2” manages to deliver a story about teamwork and redemption without boring or alienating its young and grownup viewers.
That’s a precarious feat, finding the perfect balance to keep the audience from dozing off or tuning out. It’s especially tough for animated features these days to prove themselves to a generally more discerning crowd, so having been inspired by a well-known game partly helps.
The prank war resumes between porcine and avian rivals, with Piggy and Bird Islands’ video-game competition keeping some of its denizens occupied with inane happenings—their attacks hatched to annoy with baffling, almost-destructive jokes on a regular basis.
On the birds’ side, the go-getting Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) thinks up ways to protect the shores of Bird Island from getting quashed by the more technologically capable Pigs’ aerial strikes.
Things change, however, when the pigs’ home is attacked by a mysterious third group that causes massive damage using a massive ice projectile. This isn’t the usual, condiment-throwing, crab-deploying activity they’re used to; the new faction is actually intending to destroy portions of both groups’ territories for some reason.
The threat, the Pigs find out, is Eagle Island, a frozen, powerful stronghold ruled by the mysterious, purple bird of prey, Zeta (Leslie Jones), who has no qualms about making her thunderous, destructive presence felt.
King Leonard (Bill Hader) asks the Birds to form a truce, a move initially ignored by Red. But the angry bird, with the help of his close mates, the superfast Chuck (Josh Gad) and the literally combustible Bomb (Danny McBride), starts recruiting members for a squad, tasked to infiltrate Eagle Island.
The merged team, apart from the trio, also consists of Chuck’s brainiac sister Silver (Rachel Bloom), Leonard and his assistant Courtney (Awkwafina), the nervous eagle Ethan (Peter Dinklage) and the pig inventor Garry (Sterling K. Brown).
Also in a separate adventure are three Hatchling kids, who must rescue unborn birds—three eggs—when they get displaced during playtime.
Directed by Thurop Van Orman, “The Angry Birds Movie 2” features a new “frenemy” dynamic that doesn’t get too serious—once the two rival groups team up, there isn’t a hint that they’re uneasy allies. This combined squad is quite funny for its various shenanigans, but one particular member stands out: Silver provides quick thinking, engineering wizardry and “girl power” moves.
The Hatchlings’ wild adventure is irrepressibly cute, their slapstick and silly antics easily the film’s more entertaining story arc—think the squirrel Scrat from the “Ice Age” films, but way more adorable.
There’s toilet humor that adults will surely find guffaw-worthy, bodily function gags that won’t make their way into more popular cartoon franchises.
There are pop song references, too—while there’s the more recent Pinkfong tune “Baby Shark” that kids will instantly recognize, older viewers will certainly find the inclusion of ’90s hits by Sarah McLachlan, Paula Cole and Right Said Fred quite funny.
It imparts rote messages and lessons, yes, but despite the inconsequential but aptly cartoony resolution, this “Angry Birds” installment offers enough candy-colored distractions that keep it from feeling more contrived than it actually is.
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