The Angry Birds Movie 2 serves up silly laughs solid enough to entertain a young audience through a film adaption as pointless as the video game of which it’s based. Not the worst of game adapted movies, the major winning trait here is the ability to embrace the ridiculous, and never seriously try for any sweet or sad moments. To that extent, it overachieves bypassing the low bar already set for it.
The movie starts with a makeshift peace between Bird Island and Pig Island, where the birds and pigs are only pranking each other for fun now. Everything changes when a third island is introduced: Eagle Island. Now launching meteor-sized ice balls at the two neighboring islands, Zeta (Leslie Jones) the leader the Eagles, is intent on taking over the neighboring islands.
Red (Jason Sudeikis) the outcast become savior of Bird Island from the original movie, believes he is obligated to continue his heroics so that his legacy is not forgotten. He’s forced to team up with Leonard (Bill Hader) the leader of Pig Island. As these two frenemies enter an uneasy truce between the birds and pigs, they discover the Eagle’s plot to take over their island.
Early on, the story turns into a spy comedy of sorts, complete with gadgets and a mission they must choose to accept. The slingshot motif is set aside to turn this franchise into something completely its own, which is a relief since that’s all that happens in the video games: animals getting launched into things.
The sidekicks in the film all appear to be for comic relief, from the super-fast Chuck (Josh Gad) to the super slow-minded yet explosive Bomb (Danny McBride). There are also newcomers to this film, like Chuck’s brilliant sister Silver (Rachel Bloom), the scientist in charge of gadgets Garry (Sterling K. Brown) and Leonard’s right hand pig Courtney (Awkwafina).
Thurop Van Orman (The Powerpuff Girls) of Cartoon Network fame, takes his feature film directing debut seriously, or at least as serious as you need to be to get some silly laughs out of kids. His comic timing is great, and even when the jokes fall flat you can see a masterful hand pulling the strings here. The theme of colonialism is loosely suggested, the sequel being essentially a rehash of the first, where one group of animals desire something that another culture has, so they take it for themselves. But plot won’t get in the way of the gags in this romp.
The Angry Birds Movie 2 boasts fluorescent, overly saturated visuals, almost beautiful in the tackiest of ways. But they are faithful to the Angry Birds 2 game, which utilizes the same in-your-face vibrant colors. The film takes the old Zucker, Zucker and Abrahams (Airplane!) approach to rapid-fire jokes, trying anything and everything for a laugh, from adult zingers like “resting bird face” to plenty of dance battles and potty humor. A few of the gags really get you, if you’re able to groan through dozens of less spectacular attempts.
Ultimately, The Angry Birds Movie 2 is a painless video game adaptation that has moments funny enough to justify the cost of admission. It’s a harmless enough way to spend 96 minutes, and attention spans will snap back on track with loud, snippets of pop songs, and rapid transitions.