Forget everything you know about The Secret Life of Pets because the sequel sure does! Yes, Max and Duke are back (although, thankfully, Max has the new voice of Patton Oswalt, and Duke is still Eric Stonestreet), but they’ve completely forgotten the adventure in the urban jungle they successfully navigated in the first film. Instead, Max is full of anxiety now that their owner Kate (voiced by Ellie Kemper) is married and has a pup of her own. Duke is also there.
Meanwhile, in a completely different plot line Snowball (Kevin Hart) has also forgotten that he used to run the streets and was feared and respected by abandoned pets. He now spends his days playing dress up as a costumed superhero, but when newcomer Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) needs his help to save a Circus slave tiger, Hu, he’s ready to jump in – yet terrified of every encounter he meets.
The third plot line follows Gidget (Jenny Slate) as she attempts to infiltrate a crazy cat lady’s apartment after losing a toy Max asked her to watch over while he goes away with the family. Audiences are treated to a fun scene of a dog learning to be a cat. Actually, the sequel has a lot more feline love than the original. Eventually these three stories intersect, but their reasoning for coming together is kind of a stretch.
While there were complaints about the first film glorifying animals murdering their humans, The Secret Life of Pets 2 includes an unnecessary amount of animal torture. Hu, the tiger, is beaten by the Circus owner, Daisy strangles some of the wolves who were supposed to be guarding Hu, and there’s an entire fight scene between Snowball and the circus owner’s pet monkey who eventually ends up on fire. Why exactly the animals in the circus are vicious like their human owner is never explained. And although this type of cartoonish violence can be expected in most animated animal media, it’s surprising and feels out of place in a film about the Secret Life of Pets.
Will children enjoy this movie? Only if they aren’t afraid of animals being threatened to be turned into rugs or coats. Luckily, the movie is only 86 minutes.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 hits theaters June 7th
— Yael Tygiel