The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2 stars)

Angry Birds 2

A starry cast lend their voices to this messy follow-up to 2016's successful video game adaptation

The threat posed by a previously undiscovered third island unites bickering birds and pigs in this follow-up to 2016's friskily irreverent video game adaptation. As for the rest of director Thurop Van Orman's sequel, precious little holds together. Like a kid emptying the sweet stash in a regrettable lapse of parental discipline, the flightless birds' return arrives as a cheerful but gaudy and relentless mess: barfed up without pace or purpose, it's sugar-binge children's cinema of a largely ungainly stripe.

An adherence to the escalation principle of sequels is established during the prologue, where crabs and pies are fired haphazardly in a pigs-versus-birds 'prank war'. A truce is called when Eagle Island villain Zeta (Leslie Jones) starts launching ice bombs at Piggy Island, whose ruler Leonard (Bill Hader) bonds with angry birds Red (Jason Sudeikis), Bomb (Danny McBride) and Chuck (Josh Gad) to try and clip the chilling menace's wings. Via story digressions too convoluted to keep up with, brainy engineer Silver (Rachel Bloom), the returning Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) and three hapless hatchlings also weigh in.

The plot proceeds as a half-knowing, half-derivative cross between a Mission: Impossible-style spy pastiche (complete with a Fallout-referencing bathroom dust-up) and a Despicable Me 3 knock-off, speckled with hit-miss (mostly miss) jokes that often fail to make up in enthusiasm for their lack of zing. As cringey sight-gags, gross-out gags and in-jokes mount, the hatchlings' misadventures echo the wittier Scrat escapades from the Ice Age series, which shares a co-writer in Peter Ackerman.

A sense of choppiness sets in, compounded by an incessant recourse to cheesy retro-pop-scored set-pieces. Some faux-feminist, mock-macho, pro-teamwork messages emerge, but without a cogent narrative to back them up they simply resemble half-baked attempts to claw back a smidgeon of interest. In a sequel this under-shaped and over-stuffed, pigs are more likely to fly than any last-ditch rescue bid.

General release from Fri 2 Aug.

The Angry Birds Movie 2

  • 2 stars
  • 2019
  • UK
  • 1h 36min
  • U
  • Directed by: Thurop Van Orman
  • Cast: Dove Cameron, Awkwafina, Peter Dinklage

When Eagle Island villain Zeta (Jones) starts lobbing ice bombs at Piggy Island, ruler Leonard (Hader) bonds with angry birds (Sudeikis, McBride, Gad) to try and clip her wings. Half-knowing and half-derivative, it’s cheerful but gaudy and relentless and the story isn’t strong enough to support all the half-baked set…