This animated sequel is more kooky than spooky and a lot of good fun
The Addams Family first came into being in 1938 when Charles Addams created a comic strip for the New Yorker featuring the spooky and kooky characters.
Their lives and stories didn’t end on the page of course as they later became the subjects of a popular television show that materialised in 1964. They were resurrected again for two popular films in the early 90s, and in 2019, the family were brought to life again, this time in animated form for an origin story. The Addams Family 2 is the sequel to that surprisingly likeable movie and while it’s perhaps not as good as the first, it still manages to raise a smile, despite its grim cast of characters.
In this one, Gomez (Oscar Isaac) organises a road trip to bring the family closer together but despite his best-laid plans, the opposite becomes true when mad scientist Cyrus Strange tries to wrangle Wednesday away from the gruesome clan. After chasing her down to make her undergo a DNA test, it becomes clear that the morbid teenager might not be the biological daughter of Gomez and Morticia. This is shocking news for her parents but Wednesday happily accepts the news and moves in with the guy who is apparently her ‘real’ father.
Despite this surprising plot twist, the movie doesn’t overdo the sentimentality. While Wednesday’s parents are understandably perturbed by Wednesday’s haste to abandon them, the movie still aims to tickle the funny bone with a series of well-played set pieces.
Uncle Fester transforms into an octopus after one of Wednesday’s science experiments takes an unusual turn; Lurch gets to show off his surprisingly high-pitched singing voice at a biker bar; Pugsley is used like a puppet when Wednesday manipulates his body using a voodoo doll, and Grandma Addams throws a crazy house party while the family are away.
But as funny as these scenes are, they don’t hold a candle to a scene later in the movie when the family meets Mrs Strange. Her introduction is a laugh out loud moment and she continues to raise a chuckle whenever she appears on the screen. I’m not going to say why as you need to see her for yourself but believe me when I say Cyrus is well and truly henpecked by his unusual wife.
The movie is full of sight gags and one-liners, and while they don’t all work, there is still enough here to please children and adults alike. There are also references to horror films past, such as a road sign at a crossroads that points to locations that will be familiar to fans of the genre. Haddonfield, Crystal Lake, and Elm Street are just three of the destinations that will need no introduction if you are familiar with their corresponding movies.
Some of the Easter eggs in the movie will fly over the heads of kids but this doesn’t matter as they should have a good time with this regardless. The inherent craziness of the characters and the ghoulish humour that runs throughout should keep them engaged, especially if they enjoy stories that are tinged with a little bit of darkness. And adults should have no trouble trying to stay awake if they choose to tune in as this isn’t as bland or as childish as the many other animated movies that are ostensibly made for a younger audience.
The movie has an excellent voice cast, including Charlize Theron as Morticia, Nick Kroll as Uncle Fester, Snoop Dog as Cousin It, and the aforementioned Isaac and Moretz as Gomez and Wednesday respectively. They give the gloomy characters more personality than you would expect, with a special shout-out to Snoop who manages to retain his special blend of charm, despite voicing a diminutive character that is mostly made up of hair.
It’s surprising that this movie is as good as it is as there have been several other attempts to bring classic comic strip characters to life, with less than successful results. The recent Marmaduke is one such example and as you can see from the review here, that movie is as bad as they come.
The Addams Family 2 recently made its debut on Amazon Prime Video (in the UK at least) and is worth a watch, especially if you enjoy the macabre but comical tone that is the trademark for this creepy bunch of characters. The 2019 movie was arguably better, partly because of the comic mayhem that was raised when the Addams’s interacted with the ‘normal’ folks of their neighbourhood, but this is still a worthy sequel.
The movie is recommended then and it’s probably better than you’re expecting after the negative critical response it has received elsewhere. It’s not perfect – some of the setups aren’t milked for their comedic worth and it’s not as edgy as its forebears – but it’s still good, creepy fun.
Another sequel would not be unwelcome although I hope an effort is made to maintain the quality of the writing, something that didn’t seem to happen with the recent Hotel Transylvania outing which sucked more than its vampiric protagonists.
Verdict - 7/10