Mission Gone Wrong: Our Review of ‘The Angry Birds Movie 2’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - August 13, 2019
Mission Gone Wrong: Our Review of ‘The Angry Birds Movie 2’

One of the major flaws of 2016’s The Angry Birds Movie was that it felt like nothing more than a vehicle to sell products. The latter half of the film literally turned into an instruction manual on how to play the video game. Despite the original’s negative reviews and average domestic box office, though it made a killing overseas, the temper challenged birds get a chance to fly again in The Angry Birds Movie 2.

This time around the film feels more cohesive with a plot that, while sparse, attempts to tell an actual story.

After saving all the bird eggs in the first film, the former loner Red (Jason Sudeikis) is now a celebrity on Bird Island. Adored by his fellow birds, Red routinely displays his heroism by engaging in a long-standing prank war with Leonard (Bill Hader) and the rest of the pigs on Pig Island. He has devoted so much time to saving the island that he cannot even fathom taking a few hours off to let loose with his best pals Chuck (Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride). However, when Red and Leonard discover that an eagle named Zeta (Leslie Jones), who is tired of her frosty surroundings on Eagle Island, plans to use a powerful weapon to make their homes her personal playland; the two enemies are forced to join forces for the sake of the greater good.

Assembling a team – Chuck, Bomb, Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), Chuck’s brilliant sister Silver (Rachel Bloom) and pigs Courtney (Awkwafina) and Garry (Sterling K. Brown) – to bring the crazed eagle down, Red and Leonard quickly realize that their mission will be far more complicated than either anticipated.

Keeping the irreverent humour of the original, while placing it in the framework of a Mission: Impossible film, The Angry Bird Movie 2 is an improvement over its predecessor. There are a few genuine laugh out loud moments, take for example the bathroom sequence where an attempt to steal an access key card goes horribly wrong, that really resonate. Most of these memorable moments though come from the entertaining subplot involving three hatchlings.

Having written for shows such as Adventure Time and The Powerpuff Girls, director Thurop Van Orman has a solid grasp of how to utilize the character’s environments to great comedic effect. This is best captured in the hatchlings who, like the squirrel in the Ice Age movies, are willing to do anything to save three bird eggs that always seem just out of reach.

Though the hatchlings’ arc goes to some wonderfully dark comedic places, it also exposes how uneventful the main plot is. The Angry Birds Movie 2 may take the format of a Mission: Impossible film, however, it fails to breathe new comedic life into familiar tropes.

At times The Angry Birds Movie 2 flirts with raising timely commentary about modern masculinity. Specifically, the way that men’s constant need to be wanted and revered have caused many of the problems that impact society. Red’s fear of no longer being viewed as important and Mighty Eagle’s cowardice when it comes to committed relationships are perfect examples of this. They each can be linked to an aspect of the destruction that threaten the lives of the inhabitants on both islands.

Of course, the film has no real aspirations for such deep thoughts. The Angry Birds Movie 2 plays it safe at every turn, even ensuring that, much like in real life, the men who inadvertently cause the chaos are rewarded in the end. However, in not wanting to ruffle any feathers from either a story standpoint or a comedic one, The Angry Birds Movie 2 never does enough to justify its own existence.

Take away the advertising of The Angry Birds brand and one quickly realizes that these reheated birds lack seasoning.

This post was written by
Courtney is a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic and the founder of Cinema Axis. He can frequently be heard discussing film as co-host of Frameline on Radio Regent. Courtney has contributed to several publications including Leornard Maltin, That Shelf, Black Girl Nerds, and Comix Asylum Magazine. He also celebrates diversity in cinema as co-hosts of the Changing Reels podcast and is a member of the Online Film Critics Society.
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