When it comes to the most recent disappointing animated films, one film that recently has lingered in my mind is "The Addams Family" from 2019. Despite some promising character designs, a talented cast, and even some funny jokes in the trailer, it ended up really disappointing me as I found it mostly unfunny, a little visually unappealing, and also somewhat dull. It's everything that Charles Addams' titular kooky family shouldn't have been. Only four days after the film came out, MGM announced they had green-lit a sequel to the film that has now officially shown up in theaters. I went into the film with low expectations but with a slight amount of hope that it would be better than the first film and instead, I came out exceptionally perplexed and baffled at how bad it was. "The Addams Family 2" is a really bad sequel that barely fixes any of the problems of the first film and ends up making tons more resulting in a sequel that is very uninspired and derivative that I struggled to comprehend how it was released the way it was. It might honestly be one of the worst animated sequels I've seen in a long time.
After the events of the first film, Morticia (Charlize Theron) and Gomez Addams (Oscar Issac) are starting to worry that their children Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Javon Walton) are growing up too fast with both children skipping family dinners and Wednesday being embarrassed after her family caused havoc at her school's science fair. Wanting to reconnect with his family, he proposes that the whole family including butler Lurch (Conrad Vernon) and Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) go on a family road trip across America seeing ghoulish sights before reaching Death Valley. Just as they are about to leave, a man named Rupert Strange (Wallace Shawn) arrives and states that he believes that Wednesday might be the daughter of his son, scientist Cyrus Strange (Bill Hader), due to a mishap in the maternity ward where she was and wants to test her DNA to prove it. Morticia and Gomez brush it off as a joke and travel across the country unaware they're being followed by the strange man and that Wednesday is suspecting there might be something amiss.
This is one of those animated sequels where almost all of the choices made in the film are perplexingly wrong and baffling. I couldn't believe what I was witnessing before me as it's a sequel that usually comes only once so often. It could be due to the film's crazy short production time as the film was green-lit only two years ago and animated films usually take twice that long to make. Needless to say, I was unprepared at how shockingly bad this film would end up being. As soon as the film opened on an awkward note with Wednesday doing an experiment on Uncle Fester at the science fair, I knew the film was off to a bad start but I couldn't anticipate how out of control the story would get. It has a really rough first act with the film feeling rushed as the family quickly heads out on the road after a quick decision at the dinner table and doesn't spend a lot of time contemplating how it led to this but rather having the characters explain their kids have been skipping dinner through expository dialogue. Not to mention, the scenes felt very chaotically thrown together and doesn't seem to calm down until the family reaches the Grand Canyon. Alongside having a lot of tiresome tropes and cliches, it also happens that the film feels somewhat rather derivative of other animated films and doesn't do a lot new to make it stand out. The plot point of a father planning a cross-country road trip to reconnect with family was done much better this year in the excellent "The Mitchells Vs. The Machines", the way Cyrus Strange was introduced via hologram was similar to Chester V's introduction in "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" (and the casting of Bill Hader sadly didn't help matters), and there's a scene where Wednesday and Lurch enter into a biker bar and charm the bikers that's pretty much similar to the Snugly Duckling scene from "Tangled". There's really no uniqueness to the film whatsoever and it also ends up copying the first film as well. Rather than going in a unique direction, the film decides to instead repeat the same plot point from the first film with Gomez and Morticia having trouble connecting with Wednesday about things except its rather involving her not be the daughter rather than be different from the way she was. The film doesn't do anything quite different from the first film regarding their relationship and it was rather frustrating as other members of the family are also once again brushed aside in favor of this plot point that I couldn't care about. It all builds to a ridiculous fighting climax with monsters and a tiresome dance party ending that I felt so perplexed by the end of it. Even the jokes mostly sadly fell flat. They were a handful of chuckles it got from me like where the family get to San Antonio and stop at a sight to "pray for the Alamo" only for it to be revealed that it's a motel named the Alamo. Stuff like that was funny, but there were far more duds including Pugsley talking in his sleep about Taylor Swift and Beyonce for some strange reason and lots and lots of toilet humor that made me groan. There are some decent elements to the animation. For one, I think the film does look slightly better than the first film as the landscapes and lighting are absolutely gorgeous. The team behind both deserves a lot of praise because they did a stellar job on both. As for the character designs, I can say the Addams still look good and I do think they slightly improved a few of the human designs, but there's still a little bit of this off-putting plastic look to them that's still prevalent that it came off as distracting. It didn't bother me as much as the first film, but it didn't astonish me either. There's also not much to say about the characters. I do think Wednesday is still great and Moretz is terrific as her even if her plot arc is too similar to the first film. There's not much to say about the rest of the family though since they feel very underwritten and un-unique. Pugsley has a subplot about trying to get the attention of girls, but it's mostly thrown aside, Uncle Fester as a result other Wednesday's experiment is turning slowly into an octopus, but it has a lame payoff in the end, and Gomez and Morticia are pretty much the same as they were in the first film with little changes though Gomez is more worried about losing touch with Wednesday and not Morticia which again, makes me highlight how much better the father losing touch with his daughter in "The Mitchells Vs. The Machines" with Katie and Rick. The villain was also unimpressive and uninspired as he was neither threatening nor funny and not even Bill Hader could save him. It's really crazy.
In all, "The Addams Family 2" is a really bad sequel. Despite the animation being somewhat decent, it's sunk by a story that is derivative and unfunny, and characters with very little development and plots are thrown aside. This was not a good sequel at all and I have no idea how it could end up being as bad as it was, but here we are. It's a film I cannot recommend in the slightest. This is everything the titular family is not. It's not kooky or creepy, it's simply just dreadful and not even in the fun kind of way.