Hollywood is still trying to crack the code of the video game adaptation. Most have been pretty utterly terrible, though a hand full have proven to be been valiant tries at making something better (though most of those have still ultimately failed as well). Of course, we have also seen a few movies that have been able to bring in strong box office numbers despite mediocre-at-best critical responses. The first Angry Birds Movie was one of these, and since it was, we now have The Angry Birds 2 Movie.
The sequel follows up on the events of the first movie where former outcast Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) is now the hero of birdkind for having defeated the pigs, led by the beard-sporting Leonard (Bill Hader). Red and his buddies – the super fast Chuck (Josh Gad) and dim-witted Bomb (Danny McBride) – now act as a sort of on-call defense system for what has become little more than a prank war, with each side flinging various things at the other via giant slingshot.
However, when giant balls of ice get shot at both the birds and the pigs from an entirely new direction, it reveals the existence of a third island. This one is inhabited by eagles, led by Zeta (Leslie Jones) who has designs on both the other two islands, leading the former enemies to declare an uneasy truce in order to take on this new threat.
The rest of The Angry Birds Movie 2 devolves as a joke-filled spy movie. A group of characters is “recruited” for a big covert mission, complete with the appropriate training montage. In addition to our familiar characters, we meet Silver (Rachel Bloom), Chuck’s super-intelligent sister; Garry (Sterling K. Brown) the “Q” of the pig island, responsible for all of the gadgets they’ll need (and several they won’t); and Courtney (Awkwafina) as Leonard’s right-hand pig.
The general spy movie vibe permeates through The Angry Birds Movie 2, but only as far as it needs to hold the weak plot together. This sequel knows that it’s the audience is primarily going to be younger, and so it zips along as to keep up with fleeting attention spans. The pacing moves quickly, and the jokes come rapid-fire. Unfortunately, these jokes aren’t here to serve the story; the story is here to serve the jokes.
While that prevents The Angry Birds Movie 2 from being a “good” movie in a critical sense, the movie does still manage to be occasionally entertaining. The bits are, for the most part, good. While they’re mostly aimed at the kids, there’s a healthy sprinkling of humor just for the parents/guardians in the room. If one joke doesn’t land quite right (your mileage may vary on “resting bird face”) don’t worry, as the next one will be along in short order.
The Angry Birds Movie 2 doesn’t entirely dispense with character in favor of jokes. The movie is really “about” Red’s fear that if he ceases to be a hero that he’ll go back to being forgotten. The character arc is pretty thin, though, and some parts of it don’t actually make any sense if you give it more than two seconds of thought. But the movie is hoping to have you laughing long enough that you won’t.
There’s a significant lack of giant slingshots after the first 10 minutes, and that’s probably a good thing. The various details of the mobile games that inspired the first movie are left behind here. Now that the characters have been introduced, you’re either going to follow them or just aren’t going to care.
At the end of the day, The Angry Birds Movie 2 isn’t going to blow anybody away but it will have kids laughing and will still elicit enough chuckles from the more adult members of the audience that nobody will feel like they wasted their time.