The Secret Life of Pets 2
The Secret Life of Pets 2 is a 2019 American computer-animated comedy film produced by Illumination and the sequel to The Secret Life of Pets and the second feature film in the franchise. It was directed by Chris Renaud, co-directed by Jonathan del Val, and written by Brian Lynch. The original cast (except Louis C.K., who didn’t voice Max unlike the original and is replaced by Patton Oswalt) returned from the original movie. The film was released in the United Kingdom two weeks earlier on May 24, 2019, before it was theatrically released in the United States on June 7, 2019, by Universal Pictures.
Max, the terrier, encounters canine-intolerant cows, hostile foxes, and a scary turkey, faces some major changes after his owner Katie gets married and now has a child named Liam. Luckily for Max, he visits the countryside and soon catches a break when he meets Rooster, a gruff farm dog who tries to cure the lovable pooch of his neuroses. Meanwhile, Gidget tries to rescue Max's favorite toy from a cat-packed apartment, and Snowball sets on a mission to free a white tiger named Hu from a circus.
- One of the biggest problems is that there is no overarching story here; instead, the movie is split into three segments focusing on Max, Gidget & Snowball, none of which are connected to each other until the climax of the movie, a problem similar to Rio 2.
- On the topic of this, all three of the plots are also unoriginal, predictable, and extremely boring.
- Poor grasp of the first movie.
- Missed opportunity: Before Katie had a new child, they never showed Katie getting married to Chuck in the actual movie. It might be shown as one of the film's deleted scenes instead.
- The first film, while not the best film, was pretty enjoyable and can have its moments; this one, however, isn't at all that funny, as some of the jokes come off as awkward, juvenile, childish, and occasionally a bit uncomfortable. Some also either tend to wrap up too quickly or drag on for too long.
- Duke, who was the secondary protagonist of the first film, as well as other characters from the first film, do practically nothing throughout the film.
- Rooster only serves as a one-dimensional Doc Hudson-esque mentor who only really exists to get Harrison Ford's name in the promotional material.
- The stakes are ridiculously low for a theatrical film.
- The film hints at a fourth plot with Pops hosting a school for puppies, but they almost instantly forget about it, leaving it as a few minutes worth of useless filler.
- Max's arc of becoming brave is insanely cliched, mainly because he is going through the overused "overprotective parent" archetype.
- Sergei is a stereotypical "animal abusing ringmaster" villain that does not have any real motivations or even that much screen time, making him seem like more of an obstacle than a legitimate threat.
- The film's animation, while quite good, contains little of the original's grand scale of New York and only takes place in smaller locations.
- The main plot point, Max's new kid Liam, gets hardly any screen time in most of the trailers.
- Very inappropriate content for a PG-rated movie. For example:
- The mid-credits scene is essentially Snowball singing a censored and cringe-worthy cover of "Panda". Not to mention, Panda is also an explicit song that appeared in a children's movie.
- On a side note, there is an infamous scene where Pops swears at Snowball by saying "Pickles is pissed". This is shocking and inappropriate to hear in a children's movie. Fortunately, this was censored in the UK version.
- While the new additions to the cast are mostly good, actors like Nick Kroll and Harrison Ford give off a relatively weak performance.
- Albert Brooks' character Tiberius does not seem to even exist anymore along with most of the Flushed Pets. It already must be why his pet owner died right before this sequel existed.
- Some of the backgrounds do feel reused from the first film.
- Continuity error: Max jumps onto the circus train just as it is going into a tunnel. While he and Snowball are subsequently fighting the wolves in the driver's cabin, you can see through the windows from the lights that the train is still all the time inside the tunnel. Next, when the driver stops the train and immediately everybody gets out, they are in an open landscape.
- The film's animation is still pretty good, although not much is improved and the scale is reduced. There's even a traditionally animated sequence in Snowball's fantasy, which is honestly fantastic.
- Like the first movie, most of the characters are at least still likable.
- Patton Oswalt makes for a great replacement for Louis C.K. and gives a surprisingly good performance.
- The cast, both old and new, does a great job in this sequel, even with the weak material.
- A couple of funny moments here and there.
- Alexandre Desplat's score is still pretty decent, and a good selling point at all.
- Snowball in his superhero outfit is just wholesomely adorable and cute.
- Gidget's subplot does supply the film's best humor.
- There were no plot holes in the movie.
- One of the new characters, Daisy, is absolutely hilarious thanks to Tiffany Haddish's performance.
- Hu the White Tiger is a pretty cute and interesting character.
- Despite their flaws, the concepts for these three segments in one movie is an okay concept.
- The writing is tolerable, though not as great as the first film's writing.
- The beginning of the film is really heartwarming.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics, audiences, and fans of the original film. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 61% based on 154 reviews with an average rating of 5.71/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Secret Life of Pets 2 doesn't teach its animated stars any new narrative tricks -- but for fans of the original, this funny, energetic sequel should still satisfy.". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 55 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale, the same score as the first film, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 4.5 out of 5 stars.
- Patton Oswalt and Bobby Moynihan previously started together in We Bare Bears.
- Max's original voice actor, Louis C.K. did not return due to him getting fired by Illumination Entertainment because of personal issues, so Patton Oswalt had to be Max’s new voice actor.