A fun action movie that is a bit too much style over substance. Like the first film, the sequel features stylized action that can be over-the-top at times. While most of it is visually stunning, there’s typically something off about it. The heavy hand of CGI is involved too often, even just for small touches, like humorous objects flying away from explosions. Aside from the opening of the movie and the conclusion, there isn’t really a lot of action. The previous film used this time for an origin story, giving us a hero’s journey. This film must fill these moments with beats that just aren’t as interesting. The story is decent and the villain’s plan has a certain logic to it, but there’s just something off with the pacing that keeps things from flowing properly. The new characters are colorful, but really don’t get fleshed out. Surprisingly, three of the biggest names (Channing Tatum, Halle Berry and Jeff Bridges) don’t get all that much screen time. Only Julianne Moore as the campy villain gets any major attention. (Although, there’s also a celebrity role that gets quite a few laughs.) The strongest thing this movie has is the emotional connection between the returning leads, which has some nice payoffs. You care for these characters, and that helps keep you invested through all the absurdity.
*** out of *****