HomeMoviesSing 2 Review: Dazzling Animation But Ultimately This Sequel Falls Flat

Sing 2 Review: Dazzling Animation But Ultimately This Sequel Falls Flat

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures/Illumination

The huge financial success of Illumination’s 2016 animated musical Sing guaranteed a sequel would follow — five years later Sing 2 has finally arrived and is essentially standard sequel fair.

After saving his struggling local theater, Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) wants to take his artistic vision and rag tag band of performers to the booming Redshore City. Initially unsuccessful in impressing Suki (Chelsea Peretti), the talent scout for media mogul Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale), Moon heads to Redshore City on a wing and a prayer with the entire crew to find success. At first they don’t succeed, but a ham-fisted idea from Gunter (Nick Kroll) to put on an epic sci-fi musical titled “Out of This World” gives them a chance to make their mark. The group, who are in a “go big or go home scenario” attempts to bring their “A-game” to make their dreams a reality. Unfortunately, their chances for success are made slimmer as the big, bright entertainment sphere of Redshore City comes with unexpected hardships including attempting to bring the reclusive Clay Calloway (Bono) back into the spotlight.

As a sequel, Sing 2 brings together elements that make it both a solid continuation and a true evolution for Illumination’s animation. Illumination has always had their own unique art style and character design but Sing 2 is a strong step forward even for them. The level of detail and ambition on display results in the studio’s most visually stunning film to date. The textures of the characters are more detailed. The lighting effects make Redshore City feel like a bright entertainment haven. The design of Redshore has the visual identity of Las Vegas but has some fun imaginative elements like theme park rides throughout the city and some great visual gags that’ll easily get a laugh out of viewers every time. Illumination is clearly taking notes from their Dr. Seuss adaptations as Sing 2’s visual environment are definitely Seuss-inspired in its fantastical feel however, it’s also mixed with a bit more of a realistic, cleaner look.

Nothing beats the ambitious visuals of the group’s epic sci-fi musical, though. It’s pretty amazing how they bring Gunther’s wild vision to life. Throughout the film, the audience is constantly seeing these big sets being made. Gunther’s ideas become a little more, well, out of this world and it’s tough to see how it’s going to come together. However, when it does it’s an animated visual spectacle like no other with the use of colors, music, and dance sequences. This makes for dazzling animation that defines a cinematic experience and is worth the price of admission alone. It’s a true visual evolution from the first film that’ll easily please fans while also proving that Illumination is a noteworthy force in animation. Illumination and Sony Animations’ recent work show that Disney and Pixar are no longer in a league of their own.

As for the story, there are some elements that work. Meena (Tori Kelly) has an adorable story arc as she develops a crush on Alfonso (Pharrell Williams), an elephant ice cream vendor. This leads to another standout moment for Meena as the duet between Kelly and Williams during the finale is fire. The overall idea of this band of small-town talent proving they belong in the big leagues is nice and bolstered with how ambitious the finale is.

However, Sing 2 is unable to take full advantage of its narrative and musical potential because of how shallow its stories are.

Sing 2 once again tries to give its different characters their own arcs as Johnny (Taron Egerton) deals with a diabolic dance instructor. Ash (Scarlett Johansson) tries to get Calloway (Bono) in the show. However, none of Sing 2’s side stories or even its main story has enough depth to be impactful and end up just padding a plot that’s way too bloated. Johnny’s story has some solid visual gags but is incredibly subpar compared to his arc in the first film. Rosita’s (Reese Witherspoon) arc of finally nabbing a lead role is terribly weak because there’s very little time dedicated to it (also her fear of heights is incredibly forced). The whole Ash and Calloway arc is easily the weakest as it feels like a lot of it ended up on the cutting room floor. Any time they’re about to delve into the pain Calloway feels from his wife’s death or about coming back into the spotlight, the film just cuts away; stripping away the potential for Sing 2 to have a real emotional arc.

Sing 2 also misses the potential to have a truly surprising conclusion that emphasizes the comfort of small town performing — or any lesson being learned whatsoever. The film sets up a possibly interesting ending for the group finally being comfortable in who they are and definitively finding solace in their success but just throws it all away for a bland happily ever after ending.

The way the film handles music is also incredibly disappointing. The film constantly shoves well-known songs into the film with no sense or purpose. There’s so many songs that roll into each other that it makes moments where characters are singing big songs not as special since you’re hearing songs all the time. Now, there are certain songs that make their mark because the performances are so good. As said before, Kelly and Williams have a heartfelt duet that slaps. Johnny has an interesting take on Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars” and Halsey makes the case for her to make a punk rock album with her awesome performance of The Struts’ “Could Have Been Me.” Even these standout moments can’t alleviate the song overload in Sing 2 though and its big moments get lost in a sea of songs.

Sing 2 is certainly the kind of sequel that will please fans who loved the original and shows Illumination as a force to be reckoned with in the animation space, but it just can’t take advantage of the potential of its material and music making it just a solid sequel.

Sing 2 opens in theaters December 22.

Tom Moore
Tom Moorehttps://mooreviews.com/
Tom is always ready to see and review everything horrifying and hilarious that hits theaters, television, and video games...sometimes. You can check out his other reviews and articles on his blog, Mooreviews.

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