Most animation studios can turn out great sequels, though sadly Blue Sky Studios, strangely enough, isn't one of them. While they do succeed at making very enjoyable original movies, their Ice Age sequels don't have a lot of rewatch value. With "Rio 2" however, I went in very hopeful. I really enjoyed the first movie with its beautiful colors, fun songs, likable characters, and a pretty good story and hoped the sequel could deliver. Sadly though, I walked out of the movie really disappointed. "Rio 2" just falls flat with a story that has way too many plot elements, new characters that are very unlikeable, and song numbers so forgettable and bland that not even Bruno Mars could make them fun. Let me explain why this is.
A few years after the first film, Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) have been living happily with their kids in the grand and glorious city of Rio de Janeiro. However, Jewel feels that her kids are acting a little too much like humans (due to Blu having lived most of his life with a human) and wants them to get back to their natural roots. However, when Blu's former owner Linda (Leslie Mann) and her husband Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) discover that more sphinx macaws might be out there, Jewel decides to go to the Amazon to find the tribe which Blu reluctantly agrees to. Along with their friends Nico (Jamie Foxx), Pedro (will.i.am.), and Rafael (George Lopez) they go into the jungle and find the tribe where they meet the leader and Jewel's father, Eduardo (Andy García) as well as Jewel's best friend Roberto (Bruno Mars) and try to get Blu to get into natures ways and also hold a talent show, unaware that a logging company is planning to bulldoze the entire forest and that Nigel (Jemaine Clement), the villain from the last movie has survived the encounter in the last movie and is planning his revenge while also bouncing back to Linda and Tulio from time to time as well have a soccer game that serves no point to the story. Yeah, it's a mess.
The story in this movie just has so many plot elements in this film that it just got so confusing and full especially compared to the first film's very simple story. I think the reason why this happened is that the writers of this movie thought that the film needed to be bigger and have some more elements added to it though sadly they had no idea how to do it correctly. I also thought some scenes weren't handled right, particularly the reunion between Jewel and Eduardo. It was so rushed and didn't feel very emotional. Speaking of which, let's talk about the characters. The ones from the first film still have their charm and likable personality, particularly Blu. The new characters, on the other hand, that's another story. They're all very unlikeable and even treat some of the characters harshly, especially Eduardo. Words cannot describe my hate for him. The way he treated poor Blu throughout the movie really angered me and finally by the time he called him "pet" I lost all faith in him. As for the others, Blu and Jewel's kids were just cliched and I also really wasn't fond of the loggers. I could understand what the writers were trying to go for, but they weren't funny at all compared to the smugglers and also didn't pose a legitimate threat. However, I think one of the biggest mistakes that the movie made was bringing back Nigel. He was a necessary villain for the first film, though bringing him back was pointless. Even his defeat at the end, which I won't spoil, was weak compared to the first film. In fact, he isn't defeated at all. Yeah, what a letdown. The song numbers, though nice, weren't as grand as the first film either. They didn't have anything especially memorable compared to the first film's Oscar-nominated song and not even Bruno Mars, whose songs are fantastic, could make it work. The only thing that I could find better than the first movie was the animation. The colors were more grand and eye-popping and could look realistic at times, but that was seriously the only thing that I found better.
"Rio 2" just disappointed me. This could have been a great sequel, but its jumbled story, unlikeable new characters, and forgettable songs just made it very unlikeable. I feel bad for Blue Sky as yet this is another sequel that they stumbled upon. If there's any proof from this movie, I think that there are two lessons that they should hopefully learn. Bigger isn't always better, and that they should also stick to making original stories and not sequels. We'll just have to wait and see if they follow that advice.