The Angry Birds Movie 2 | Thurop Van Orman | August 14, 2019
Angry Birds is one of the most popular smartphone games of the last decade and the first to get a feature-length adaptation. That film, The Angry Birds Movie, was a simple birds versus pigs plot with a bit of character depth, some head-scratching pop-culture nods, and plenty of comedic voice talent to boot. Surprisingly, it did well enough to garner a sequel – The Angry Birds Movie 2 – three years later.
In the aftermath of The Angry Birds Movie, the slapstick-y war between Bird Island and Pig Island rages on until King Leonard (Bill Hader) calls a truce. Their islands are falling victim to giant ice balls from Eagle Island, a third and previously unknown icy island. So it’s up to the core bird trio – Red (Booksmart‘s Jason Sudekis), Chuck (Beauty and the Beast‘s Josh Gad), and Bomb (Alien: Covenant‘s Danny McBride) – to join forces with Leonard, Leonard’s sister Courtney (The Farewell‘s Awkwafina), inventor Garry (The Predator‘s Sterling K. Brown), Chuck’s engineering whiz sister Silver (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s Rachel Bloom), and Mighty Eagle (Game of Thrones‘ Peter Dinklage) to stop Zeta (SNL & Ghostbusters‘ Leslie Jones) and her eagle compatriots (including the underutilized Tiffany Haddish (Night School) and Eugenio Derbez (Dora)) from destroying both islands, all while a bird hatchling trio (The Florida Project‘s Brooklynn Pierce, Genesis Tennon, and JoJo Siwa) go on their little (mostly unrelated) adventure.
Instead of directors Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly, Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack creator Thurop Van Orman steps up for his directorial debut (with John Rice co-directing). Along with new screenwriters Peter Ackerman, Eyal Podell, and Jonathon E. Stewart, they expand upon the world of the Birds and Pigs, add a heist/spy plot, further develop some of the characters, and throw a few decades-worth of slightly punny and anachronistic pop-culture imagery and song cues in to see what sticks. The heist plot follows some familiar tropes, starting with a mildly amusing “assembling the team” montage (title cards and all) and continuing with leadership issues that tie into the character development – mostly for Red and a decent amount for Silver, Mighty Eagle, and Zeta. As for the images and songs, some of them range from groan-worthy (a certain Right Said Fred song and “Baby Shark”) to peculiar (“Margaritaville” and Lionel Richie’s “Hello” among others). Not all of them – especially the zeitgeist-y gags, including an autobiography parody of Crazy Rich Asians – will likely age well. What’s also anachronistic is the culture of both islands, which somewhat parodies human communities to mixed effect, as anthropomorphized birds and pigs might not have a need for yoga, commuting by slingshot, speed dating, etc.
The Angry Birds Movie 2 continues to provide plenty of video game-related laughs (along with some more scatological humor) for the kids, with some jokes that might get a rise out of the accompanying adults. All the underutilized voice talent jam-packed into the film might leave some audience members trying to figure out where they recognize that voice from, rather than focusing on the avian and porcine team-up.
Otherwise, make sure you get to the theater on time to catch the debut hand-drawn Kickstarted short film “Hair Love” from Monkeypaw Productions executive producer Matthew A. Cherry about a father helping his daughter tame her out of control hair. It’s got plenty of heart and emotional depth with a voiceover cameo from Issa Rae, all of which helps The Angry Birds Movie 2 go down a little smoother.