Sing was a huge smash, so a sequel was downright inevitable. The obvious challenge with a follow-up to Sing was where to take the plot. Do you go bigger? Do you just sort of traffic in the same sort of material? Sing 2 opts to do both, which makes for strange bedfellows. A film that only exists because of money tends to start off at a disadvantage. For this animated feature, it mostly just tries to recapture what everyone liked about the first one. To that end, younger audiences will find much more to like here than older ones, but it’s a movie that certainly tries to charm everyone.
Sing 2 is for kids, clearly, but the music is good enough for everyone to dig. Truly, this is cartoon karaoke, but as meh as that sounds, it does all look really good. The franchise, since there’s almost certainly going to be a third installment, gets by on its charm and looks. Bigger flicks have done more with less, but this one just seems to be content skirting by with little more than the bare minimum.
In the aftermath of the first movie, Buster Moon (voice of Matthew McConaughey) is now in charge of a thriving theater. Hoping for his friends/performers to get the call up to Vegas-like Redshore City, he’s planning to impress talent scout Suki (voice of Chelsea Peretti). That doesn’t go well, as she says they don’t have what it takes. Undeterred, Buster heads to Redshore City with the likes of Ash (voice of Scarlett Johansson), Gunter (voice of Nick Kroll), Johnny (voice of Taron Egerton), Meena (voice of Tori Kelly), and Rosita (voice of Reese Witherspoon). There, they sneak into an audition for mogul Jimmy Crystal (voice of Bobby Cannavale). Some boasting by Gunter catches Crystal’s attention, signing them up. The catch? They need to wrangle Clay Calloway (voice of Bono) for the show. Unfortunately, he’s a reclusive star no one has seen for years.
As the gang rehearses for the show, they also have to try and convince Clay to perform. Between that and their own personal issues, it’s going to be a fraught race to the finish. Along with all that, they need to integrate Crystal’s daughter Porsha (voice of Halsey). It all builds to a massive show, one that brings everyone’s talents together. None of it is surprising, but if you loved the first one, it’s largely more of the same.
The cast is all game to return, but the lack of a standout voice performance again looms large. From top to bottom, they’re fine, but just without anyone who really grabs you. The returning plays do their job, but nothing more. The newcomers are fairly disappointing, especially Bono, but they’re hardly bad. Supporting players here include Idris Elba, Nick Offerman, Pharrell Williams, Letitia Wright, and many more. This is, from top to bottom, workmanlike voice work.
Filmmaker Garth Jennings returns to write and direct, as well as provide a voice. He’s clearly invested in his characters, as well as selecting some really enjoyable music. He’s just way more successful showcasing the latter. The story is super generic, the film runs twenty minutes too long, and it all feels like a cash grab. That being said, the third act has a really fantastic show, it’s all fairly pleasant, looks beautiful, and it’s clear children are the target audience. That helps to keep Sing 2 from feeling like a complete chore. It’s flawed, but has its heart in mostly the right place.
Sing 2 is at its best when you can just admire the animation and listen to classic music. The more you concern yourself with the plot, the more it becomes harder to sit through. If you have kids, this is something you’ll likely be seeing, so just know that it’s not torture. If you’re just going as an adult, trust me…there are better options.