Okay, well… I’m shocked.
I’ve often and ironically referred to The Angry Birds Movie as the best video game movie of all time mostly because video game movies are pure excrement and, no, for the record, I’m not counting the Wreck-It Ralph movies in there because they are original creations with cameos by video game characters, it’s not based on a video game and that’s a hill I’m willing to die on.
Oh wait… I forgot about Detective Pikachu.
Okay, it’s the second greatest video game movie of all time.
As for the true artistic value of The Angry Birds Movie, I believe I summed it up best in my review when I said it was okay. Not great, not terrible… just okay and, in a genre almost three decades old with less than a handful of movies that aren’t jaw-droppingly terrible, that’s high praise.
The sequel, aptly called The Angry Birds Movie 2, is better than okay. As a matter of fact, it’s way better than okay. It’s actually… a great movie.
Yes, not good… great.
Angry Birds 2 is a pretty great movie and I am shocked.
Picking up some time after the first movie, The Angry Birds Movie 2 finds Red basking in the adoration of Bird Island after saving the eggs from the pigs only now, the two rival island are tangled in a never-ending prank war against each other. However, when an ice ball is launched from a mysterious third island, the birds and pigs must put their differences aside and stop a new threat before it ends both of their worlds.
There are a set of rules I’ve seen over and over again about what makes a great sequel and – I’m paraphrasing here, so forgive me if I miss or alter some points – they basically say that a sequel needs to further the development of a character, expand the scope of the story, and it should surprise the audience.
Red is further developed, not as a surly angry bird, but as a bird that is so insecure that he is willing to undergo a great trial and put his friends and home in danger just insure that people will still love him. It’s really taken him from a two-dimensional character to someone who’s actually interesting to watch.
More than that, the entire dynamic between the pigs and birds has been upended and, seeing them as frienemies as the movie poster so eloquently put it, was a move that was unexpectedly great. I cannot stress – and I know this is probably going to be considered a spoiler – how happy I was that this development didn’t culminate into a cliched predictable plot point where the pigs inevitably betrayed the birds. It turns out that, during the whole film, Leonard and the pigs are genuine in their desire for a truce and it continues all the way to the end and the subversion, though simple, was rather refreshing.
This also goes towards expanding the world of the first movie and, by introducing a common threat on a third island, The Angry Birds Movie 2 does just that. Leslie Jones is absolutely hilarious and high-energy as Zeta, the antagonist, who has taken the advice of putting herself first to a new degree.
Finally, the movie should surprise the audience and, I have to admit, it did. It surprised me by being genuinely great. I laughed consistently, I enjoyed the story, and I even found myself appreciating the frenetic energy of the animation. Everything from the first movie has been amped up and improved from the voice acting to the script and the jokes. Nothing seems to be wasted and even a Scrat-like side plot with three little bird trying to rescue three eggs they accidentally lost eventually loops back around to the main plot and even mirrors the theme of putting differences behind us.
So, yes… it’s pretty amazing how great The Angry Birds Movie 2 turned out. I’m shocked, actually. I watched this movie expecting it to be another forgettable kids movie and I genuinely enjoyed every minute of it.