The Addams Family 2 (2021)
"The Addams Family 2" stars Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Javon Walton, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler, Bill Hader, and Wallace Shawn. Released on October 1, 2021, the film has the Addams going on a family road trip.
The film was directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, who also directed "Sausage Party", and it is a sequel to the 2019 film, "The Addams Family", which was also directed by Vernon and Tiernan. It is based on the characters of the same name created by Charles Addams. Summer vacation may be over, but that doesn't mean we can't squeeze in one more road trip before the fall weather kicks in. It's always delightful to get away from home and see the amazing sights with the family…unless your family happens to be kooky and loves things that are spooky. Last weekend brought us another sequel that's sure to scare and delight its audience. Unlike "Venom", however, this one appeals to the young kids who aren't ready to witness Carnage's wrath on the big screen. I mean, do you see how terrifying he looks? For those who don't know, my experience with "The Addams Family" came from just the 1990s live-action films. That alone was the main reason why I went to check out the 2019 animated version with my family. While it wasn't the best thing I've seen from the macabre family, I enjoyed it enough to give its follow-up a shot. It is the month of October, after all. So was the sequel goofily creepy enough to justify its existence, or was this vacation a disastrous piece of gloom, but not in a good way? Let's find out.
The film follows the Addams family as they are still adapting to life in the modern world. One day, Gomez (Isaac) and Morticia (Theron) noticed that their family was drifting apart, especially their daughter Wednesday (Moretz). They then decided to reclaim their bond by going on one last family vacation with the entire crew in tow. Their vacation quickly turns into an adventure as they see (and disrupt) the sights and are pursued by Cyrus Strange (Hader), a scientist who has his eyes set on Wednesday. If you grew up with "The Addams Family", you would already know what to expect from the animated sequel. There's a family who adores all things grim and plenty of dark humor to fill your gruesome soul with joy. Those elements alone should be enough to captivate and frighten the younger fans of the 2019 adaptation. Sadly, it may not do any favors for those who didn't like its predecessor. While the first film was a pleasing and welcoming cartoon that depicts the importance of acceptance, "The Addams Family 2" is a heavily cliched and bland road trip comedy that only served as a cash grab and nothing else. Thankfully, it's not the worse animated film I've seen this year since it contained the stuff I enjoyed from its predecessor. Plus, I happened to like how it placed its focus on Wednesday's journey of self-discovery amid the family's road trip antics. Unfortunately, the direction it took for those ideas was so uninspired and painfully formulaic that the viewers would wish that they should've stayed home instead. Remember the direct-to-video animated sequels that provided below-average quality in their storytelling compared to their counterparts? That's how I describe "The Addams Family 2". A mediocre direct-to-video-like sequel that couldn't quite match the macabre charm of its predecessor and the live-action films. It's no wonder why the studio decided to release it both in theaters and at home. The comedy was also one of the weakest parts of the film. It did provide the spooky and weird humor we've come to expect from an "Addams Family" film. Sadly, they were quickly overshadowed by the overabundance of eye-rolling puns and pop culture references. This is another film that throws a lot of kid-friendly jokes at the wall to see what sticks. Spoiler alert: Almost all of them didn't stick. Once again, the live-action "Addams Family" films knew precisely how to do dark comedy justice. The way the comedy was handled here was more like any other average animated film in existence, but with the Addams slapped in there. The only two things that got me through this road trip were the voice cast and the animation. The main cast from its predecessor returned to reprise their roles as the Addams Family, except Finn Wolfhard, who was replaced by "Euphoria" star Javon Walton for Pugsley. Once again, they did a marvelous job bringing the kookiness into the Addams, with Oscar Isaac and Chloë Grace Moretz being the highlights as Gomez and Wednesday, respectively. Javon Walton was a suitable replacement for Pugsley since he sounded much younger here than in the 2019 film. It's too bad that the writers couldn't do anything else with Pugsley besides being a comedic target for Wednesday's torturous ideas. Bill Hader and Wallace Shawn were also acceptable as Cyrus Strange and Mr. Mustela (a lawyer who chases the Addams), respectively. Although, those new characters were about as one-dimensional as a villain from a corny spy film. As for the animation, it's pretty decent in capturing the accurate designs of the original cartoons they're based on and the slapstick, but not enough to provide anything too spectacular outside of that. It's another ordinary CGI cartoon that's more on the silliness and less on the frights. It's similar to the 2019 film but much more irredeemable.
Overall, "The Addams Family 2" is a narratively bland road trip that's about as fun as putting your head inside the Addams' pet lion. The voice cast and animation still succeed in portraying the Addams and their macabre characteristics. However, everything else was massively inferior to not just the 2019 film but also the 1990 live-action adaptations. With its overly formulaic story, mediocre characters, tedious humor, and poor direction, the animated sequel lacks the "ooky" in "spooky". It's okay for young kids who enjoyed its predecessor, but this is by far the worst thing to ever happen to the franchise and directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon. Maybe they should rethink the idea of making it more animated and light-hearted than the live-action films?
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