Once More With Feeling
Sing 2 is a really fun movie. It’s not particularly deep, nor does it reinvent the wheel or do anything differently to other animated flicks. Quite simply, this is an expansive sequel, taking the framework from the first movie and adding fanciful decorations and bigger dance numbers to boot.
It doesn’t always fire on all cylinders, and some of its songs lack the same emotional resonance the first film had, but as a parent watching with two kids, smiles plastered on their faces, this one is well worth a watch. The only thing surprising here is quite how long it’s taken for a sequel to surface.
When Sing dropped back in 2016, it banked a healthy amount at both the domestic and international box office.. It’s one of the better Illumination efforts in recent years, alongside Despicable Me, and with a star-studded cast, it certainly boasts the big names to back up its solid writing. Fast forward 5 (or 6 depending on when this has been released in your country!) years and the gang are back, bigger, badder but not necessarily better than before.
The story here largely takes the same ideas from the first – including the best jokes – and spins that into a story that tests each of our characters in different ways. All the usual suspects are back, led bu Buster Moon who itches for bigger things beyond his small theatre back home.
When an opportunity to impress an out-of-town critic goes amiss, Buster convinces the gang to up and move to the big city, determined to impress the notoriously strict and business savvy Mr. Crystal. He wants them to perform for the big crowds, and he’s the ticket to do that. Unfortunately, Buster’s promise also comes with the unwanted pressure of convincing retired rock-star Clay Calloway to come back and join them.
Of course, everything that could go wrong does go wrong. Rosita’s hopes of becoming lead star are dashed by Mr Crystal’s daughter Porsha. Johnny struggles to learn his dance moves from an overbearing teacher, while Meena is paired with a terribly narcissistic and rude singer.
There are other subplots going on here too, glued together by the hilarious performance of Miss Crawly. Her jokes are easily the highlight of the entire movie and effortlessly move between subplots and characters with great aplomb.
There’s a good variety of jokes in here too, with some silly slapstick for the kids actually given a decent amount of set-up beforehand. There’s one joke early on involving the group infiltrating the auditions by posing as cleaners. As they mop the floor, the room grows silent. Another group arrive, step through the doors and immediately slip over. Jokes like this really help give the film a bit more creativity than the usual simple gags you’d expect.
I won’t spoil all the comedy here, but suffice to say there are also some recurring jokes too that fans of the first film will enjoy. These laughs continue right the way through to the final performances. Alongside that are a decent number of songs, which largely fall into the pop category, as one may expect. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, and expect to find songs from Halsey, Ariana Grande and more dotted across the run-time.
Visually, the film looks fantastic. Some of the CGI work is actually exemplary. The best example of this comes from Clay’s mane, which looks honestly stunning. I found myself marveling at the fur during his scenes, such is the quality.
Not everything in Sing 2 works, and at times the narrative does falter. The whole Clay Calloway subplot is pretty underwhelming and despite a few nice moments, doesn’t really go anywhere. The resolution with Mr Crystal is a bit contrived too, while Johnny’s feline companion is given next to no backstory or arc, despite featuring prominently on the third act of the film. There are other, niggling problems with parts of the script but given how entertaining this movie is, it’s quite easy to overlook.
And that is ultimately the big draw with this film. Sing 2 is an entertaining sequel and good value for its 100 minute run-time. Fans of the original should love the inside jokes while those after a bit of escapist entertainment should equally find enough to like here with these lovable characters.
Verdict - 7/10