Adventure Animation

Review: ‘Sing 2’ is a Fun but Forgettable Encore that Delivers More of the Same for Fans of the Original

December 20, 2021Ben MK

From vinyl records and cassettes to CDs and streaming services, the landscape of the music industry has changed dramatically over the decades. But while the way we listen to music has evolved, one thing remains a constant — there will always be one-hit wonders. It's a sentiment that can be applied to movies and the film industry as well, especially during the holiday season, when it feels like almost every new box office release is a sequel or a remake. And with Sing 2, writer-director Gareth Edwards sets out to prove that the success of the first Sing wasn't just a one-off scenario, as the cast of the crowd-pleasing 2016 animated film reuinite to try and deliver an encore as singalong-worthy as the original.

The story of this sequel picks up not long after its predecessor, with business entrepreneur and koala bear Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) finally realizing his lifelong dream of operating a successful musical theatre company. However, when an influential talent scout named Suki (Chelsea Peretti) throws cold water on Buster's latest song-and-dance show, the negative criticism spurs Buster to concoct a plan to prove that he's got what it takes to make it in the big leagues. With a little help from piano-playing gorilla Johnny (Taron Egerton), shy elephant Meena (Tori Kelly), punk-rock porcupine Ash (Scarlett Johansson), mom-of-25 Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) and Euro-swine Gunter (Nick Kroll), Buster embarks on a road trip to the entertainment capital that is Redshore City, where he attempts to convince ruthless multimedia magnate Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale) to allow them to mount a lavish, sci-fi musical. In order to do so, though, Buster and company will have to bring former pop star Clay Calloway (U2 frontman, Bono) out of retirement, so that he can be their show's star attraction.

It's a tall order that proves even taller than Buster ever anticipated, especially considering the fact that Clay has become something of a recluse since the death of his beloved wife, and that no one has seen him hide nor hair of him in years. But if there's one thing that moviegoers never tire of, it's a tried-and-true underdog tale. And like the first installment of the family-friendly franchise, Sing 2 excels at tugging at viewers' heartstrings and getting them to root for its anthropomorphic animal protagonists. From Johnny's quest to prove himself to his over-demanding dance instructor, to Meena's struggle to overcome her nerves and talk to an ice cream selling elephant named Alfonso (Pharrell Williams), there's no shortage of diversions to keep audiences entertained. What's surprising is that some of these narrative tangents carry more emotional weight than the movie's primary storyline, which is something of a let-down, given how prominently Bono's character featured in the film's trailers.

Of course, the main selling point of the Sing movies isn't the character drama. And when it comes to fulfilling the series' promise of seeing these characters belt out hits from such chart-topping artists as Taylor Swift, Coldplay and The Weeknd, viewers won't be left wanting. Whether it's a heist-like sequence set to Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy," a high-flying cover of Alicia Keys' "Girl on Fire" from Jimmy's daughter Porsha (Halsey), or Ash and Clay's third-act rendition of U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," the film doesn't disappoint. If anything, there's probably a little too much music crammed into the movie this time around. And, as as a result, many songs register as little more than snippets of their former selves, as opposed to their full-length versions.

Nonetheless, it all adds up to a fairly enjoyable time for all ages. Still, if you're looking for originality and not just more of the same, you might be better off just rewatching the first film. Suffice to say, Sing 2 has much in common with the plethora of radio-friendly pop hits that make up its soundtrack — it's catchy and fun to watch in the moment, but once the credits have rolled, it proves far too forgettable to leave any real impact.

Sing 2 releases December 22nd, 2021 from Universal Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG for some rude material and mild peril/violence. Its runtime is 1 hr. 52 min.

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