An animated sequel inspired by an iPhone app isn’t, I’ll concede, the most promising movie premise, but the second instalment in the Angry Birds series is much funnier and flappier than it needs to be. In 2016’s The Angry Birds Movie, Red (Jason Sudeikis), an irritable loner with a permanently knitted brow became Bird Island’s unlikely hero, rescuing the eggs of its flightless birds from the predatory green pigs from neighbouring Piggy Island.
The prankish rivalry between the birds and the pigs is sustained, but when icy cannonballs coming from the mysterious Eagle Island hit both communities, pig king Leonard (Bill Hader) insists on a truce and a plan of action. Red agrees, assembling a crew of sidekicks including Josh Gad’s speed demon Chuck and his smarty-pants sister, Silver (Rachel Bloom). Except, as Red must learn, they’re more than helpers and, anyway, brutish male ego is simply a hindrance when saving the world.
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In this film, the angriest bird is a female: a pampered purple ice queen named Zeta, fabulously voiced by SNL’s Leslie Jones. A Dawson’s Creek-themed flashback reveals that Zeta’s frostiness is the result of heartbreak, leading her to drown her sorrows with cocktails in self-imposed exile (“Three umbrellas in one drink? What kind of extravagant lunatic are we dealing with?” squawks Red).
Cameos from Awkwafina, Nicki Minaj and Pete Davidson, and a subplot involving a trio of adorable hatchlings, are amusing diversions, but Jones’s dynamic voice work is the highlight. An honorary mention, though, to Tiffany Haddish as Zeta’s minion, Debbie, whose expressive delivery and quicksilver timing has landed her parts in The Lego Movie 2, The Secret Life of Pets 2 and Netflix’s Tuca & Bertie.
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Watch a trailer for The Angry Birds Movie 2.
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