Review: ‘The Angry Birds Movie 2’

The Angry Birds Movie 2 one-sheet poster

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.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 still - bundled up

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 still - the planning meeting

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.

Rating: 6.0/10