Pigs might fly, and sometimes, a sequel might be an improvement on the first movie.

The plot of the animated production The Angry Birds Movie 2 has much more going for it than the feather-light first edition. Directed by Thurop Van Orman, the bright and busy adaptation of the popular video game sees the previously inimical multi-hued flightless birds and the fluorescent green pigs on a mission to save their islands from a disgruntled purple-plumed eagle. The birds and pigs spent the better part of the 2016 production locked in combat. This time round, they assemble an Avengers-style army to take on their common enemy.

She is the eagle Zeta (Leslie Jones), who is tired of living in frozen conditions. Unable to walk her pet dog or have a decent meal, Zeta and her flock rain ice bombs on the birds and the pigs to scare them away from their islands. That done, Zeta readies her cutting-edge weapon – a contraption consisting of massive lava balls.

Self-appointed hero Red (Jason Sudeikis) scurries to the rescue, and learns the value of teamwork from his buddies Bomb (Danny McBride) and Chuck (Josh Gad), Chuck’s sister Silver (Rachel Bloom) and the pig Leonard (Bill Hader). This enthusiastic, brave and mostly clueless bunch has a plan but it doesn’t unfold quite as expected.

Break-dancing eagles, a hatchlings-versus-python battle and an insight into the love life of Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) – the writing has a throw-it-at-the-screen-and-hope-it-sticks quality that ends up working in the film’s favour. It’s hard to take the messaging about treating women with respect and tackling mansplainers seriously, and the movie loses its manic momentum when Red is put in his place by Silver.

Fortunately, these earnest moments are shoved aside by a rampaging pig or a jiving eagle. Crammed into the 96-minute film are some excellent visual gags, slapstick humour, and a sub-plot with three adorable hatchlings that neatly ties up with the rest of the story and is begging for a spin-off.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019).