Yeah, yeah — we all know you watched “Spider-Man: No Way Home” over winter break and absolutely loved it. No surprises there; we all knew it was going to be epic from the first trailer.
But did you watch “Sing 2”?
I did. And surprisingly, it was awesome.
Generally speaking, sequels have a hard time living up to their predecessors. “Sing 2” has to deal with the fact that cartoon animals belting beautiful covers of iconic songs is no longer a novelty; however, it overcomes this obstacle beautifully with some solid comedy and not-so-subtle critiques of the entertainment industry.
At surface level, “Sing 2” is super cute and fun. It follows the original characters from “Sing” as they try to make it in the big leagues of showbiz in Redshore City, essentially their version of Los Angeles. My favorite part of the whole movie is when the animals try to break into the Crystal Entertainment building after being previously denied an audition. It was so funny, I just about died laughing. The animation for this film is also quite pretty. The opening shot of Redshore City did a great job of capturing all the magical flashiness and romantic intrigue of city life. Clay Calloway (Bono, “Across the Universe”), the legendary musician-turned-recluse, also has a beautiful, private mansion nestled in gorgeous scenery that’s reminiscent of Yosemite National Park.
Of course, the cast is absolutely stacked. We have Matthew McConaughey (“Interstellar”) reprising his role as Buster Moon, Scarlett Johansson (“Black Widow”) as Ash and Tori Kelly (“Sing”) as Meena. And that’s just from the first film. Some new voices in “Sing 2” are Halsey (“A Star is Born”) as Porsha Crystal and Letitia Wright (“Black Panther”) as Nooshy.
If the superstar cast doesn’t sell you, the humor makes you roll your eyes, or the beautiful animation is unimpressive — you’re sort of a killjoy — hopefully, you’ll still be able to appreciate the way “Sing 2” makes fun of the entertainment industry.
Towards the beginning of the film, Ash finds out that she’s not getting paid as much as the other entertainers at a club and quits. It’s a pretty clear allusion to discrimination against women in the entertainment industry (think Taylor Swift’s “The Man”). Another time the entertainment industry is held up as an object of ridicule is through the character Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale, “Nine Perfect Strangers”), an incredibly intimidating, big-name entertainment mogul that Buster Moon is trying to impress. There’s a scene where Mr. Crystal is critiquing auditions and rejecting every single one with a big, blaring red button. He reminded me of Simon Cowell in “The X Factor,” but with an inclination for murder.
Jimmy Crystal’s daughter, Porsha, is a light-hearted mockery of 21st-century celebrity culture. If Gen Z and the Kardashians had a baby, it would be Porsha. She’s happy-go-lucky, sort of dumb (spends the whole movie pronouncing “sci-fi” as “sky-fi”) and really sensitive. And, of course, super rich and clueless. Despite being utterly devoid of acting talent, she gets the leading part in the musical because her dad is producing the show, and nepotism is still a thing. Basically, think of all the famous people who randomly start modeling or singing or acting just because they can — that’s Porsha. All of these little jabs at the entertainment industry keep “Sing 2” feeling fresh and funny for parents and older siblings, while the kids sing along to Shawn Mendes songs and laugh at robot Gunter (Nick Kroll, “The Addams Family”) going “beep beep boop boop” every ten minutes or so.
Altogether, “Sing 2” makes for a pretty fun one hour and 50 minutes of your life. It is entertaining for people of all ages and keeps the tone light and fun throughout. “Sing 2” might be predictable — and nothing beats the original audition scene from the first film — but it’s still a fresh, funny, cute movie that’ll keep you laughing the next time you’re looking for something to watch.
Daily Arts Writer Pauline Kim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.