The Angry Birds Movie 2 is a misnomer twice over. First, the onscreen title treatment and all of the advertising material state, clear as day, The Angry 2 Birds Movie. Second, the birds in this one are not angry. But I imagine that The Birds with Depression Movie would sell fewer tickets.

As you undoubtedly recall from that beloved family classic The Angry Birds Movie of 2016, the red bird Red (Jason Sudeikis) had just saved the avians of Bird Island from the invading army of neon green pigs of Piggy Island by having his fellow citizens launch themselves at the pigs' structures using slingshots. Now, former pariah Red has become a beloved hero, leading his people in an endless prank war against pig king Leonard (Bill Hader). But the pigs are about to have more on their mind than tormenting Bird Island: a giant ice ball crash-lands on Piggy Island, leading the terrified pigs to discover the existence of a heretofore unimagined third island, populated entirely by eagles under the leadership of the demented Zeta (Leslie Jones). She has grown tired of living on a block of snow and ice, and has decided that she deserves a nice tropical vacation, which will of necessity involve driving both the pigs and the birds from their homes. Leonard therefore calls a truce, which plunges Red into an existential panic: his entire sense of self-worth is based on being able to pose as the hero of Bird Island, and if that's taken away from him, he's convinced he'll return to the status of easily-irritated social outcast. In order to forestall this, he insistently forces himself into the role of leader of a new team of pigs and birds. The bird contingent is made up of his friends and fellow warriors Chuck (Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride), along cowardly ex-hero Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), as well as Chuck's sister Silver (Rachel Bloom), an engineering genius; the pigs include Leonard, his assistant Courtney (Awkwafina), and gadget designer Garry (Sterling K. Brown). Red is a terrible leader, and every single useful idea comes from someone else on the team, but his desperation and terror at ending up alone prevent him from seeing that he's surrounded by his closest friends already.

In a completely unrelated subplot, three baby birds sail out on a makeshift raft and use euphemistic swears.

The consensus of opinion is that this film is an improvement upon its predecessor, and sure, I don't have an investment in agreeing or disagreeing with that. The Angry Birds Movie 2 has more characters with more distinctive personalities; but it also has a much weaker voice cast. It commits the single most annoying sin of the last movie, which is to include a simply ghastly number of music cues that feel like they came from whatever the music supervisor happened to lay hands on with a couple of minutes notice; there are fewer of them here, I think, though they're even more random ("Margaritaville", "Space Oddity", and "The Final Countdown" put in appearances, and if you can think of the most clichΓ©d possible use for each of them, you're most likely right). The psychological themes are more complicated - Red's terrified spiral into self-doubt is called into duty as a commentary on masculine fragility, and Zeta is an explicit parody of self-care culture - and not handled well at all.

The point being, okay, fine, it's better than The Angry Birds Movie. But it's still pretty damn bad on its own terms. The screenplay, by Peter Ackerman and Eyal Podell & Jonathon E. Stewart, is a deeply broken thing: the most obvious flaw is the story about the three bird babies, which exists solely to facilitate random, not-very-funny gags, and which is sutured into the A-plot so arbitrarily that it would probably have been actually more satisfying if it had simply remained locked in its own bubble. But it is by no means the only bit of simply bad writing: another spectacularly deficient thing is the identity an eagle character voiced by Tiffany Haddish, who is suddenly given backstory about 90% of the way through the movie that completely alters one of the film's most important subplots, apparently just for the hell of it.

And then there's the more general problem that the movie has a terrible sense of humor. Like the first one, The Angry Birds Movie 2 is besotted with jokes aimed squarely at the parents in the audience, including far too many wink-wink sex jokes (the big showpiece is a gag about an eagle thinking that the heroes are trying to to spy on his junk at a urinal, a bit the movie extends through two different iterations over a couple of minutes), and a flashback romantic montage about 1990s pop culture that is one of the most deadly, dire things I've seen in an animated feature in a very long time. One gets to the point of looking forward to the simple "ha-ha, butts" jokes; they're trivial and bad and will result in a generation of dumb children, but at least they're simple and gotten over with quickly.

If the film is worth anything - and it's not, but if - it's that, like the first movie, it looks quite a bit better than you'd suppose it would. The animation isn't particularly sophisticated, or anything, and there appears to have been not one smidgen of technological evolution between 2016 and 2019, but it's got some fun bright colors, and the frozen laboratories of Eagle Island add some enormous tubes of multi-colored lava to kick in a few more colors on top of the ones present in The Angry Birds Movie. That, and this series is weirdly good at surfaces: the downy feathers of the babies is a nice contrast with the flatter feathers of the adult birds, and the film luxuriates over the differences between sand and water and snow and the sleek tiles of an interior space. It's nothing special, but at least it's more or less nice to look at, with a good amount of cartoony energy that understands that if this material is going to be engaging at all, it's going to be engaging on the level of squishy green pigs and squashy round birds getting smushed and walloped and looking bright and silly. It is not much - it is, in fact, not anything - but... nope, that's all. You won't be bored looking at it, but I hope before Christ you don't get roped into watching it at all, and if you have children in your life insisting otherwise, consider selling them.