The Secret Life of Pets 2 provides a grander adventure for our pets. There are returning faves and familiar furry faces that get to share the spotlight alongside Max and Duke. We delve deeper into what it means to care for our beloved animals.
Now that Max and Duke’s owner has a son, they’ve both put it upon themselves to care of the kid. Max takes it a little bit too far, not being able to handle being away from the child too long, leading to a very stressful episode. Actual parents, older siblings who are pseudo-parents, and anyone who’s had the blessing/misfortune of handling a child will relate so hard to Max’s paranoid tendencies. Max’s neuroticism was already established in the first movie when he got jealous over Duke joining his family. But how will this pan out for him? Can Duke to calm him down?
We appreciate that the movie directly addresses Max’s anxieties and doesn’t set it aside as a one-off. The owner herself brings Max to the vet in order to alleviate the stress and touches on the importance of a pet’s mental health and well-being.
Cat crazy bros and ladies will be hyped to know that there’s more feline representation in the sequel, including an increased screentime for resident lazy butt Chloe (Because everyday is Caturday for our feline friend).
One of the mini plots featured in the trailer shows Chloe teaching Gidget the ways of the cat. We appreciate the solid interaction between the notable female characters in the movie as it represents bridging the gap between rival factions. It’s a progressive step forward in improving dog-and-cat relations everywhere.
Snowball was an annoying pest that we loved to hate in the first movie but this time, he’s a good boi who occasionally suits up in spandex. We were onboard with his failed attempts at becoming a superhero and was glad to see him in action.
Once they announced Tiffany Haddish as a new member of this crew, we had a feeling she’d fight right in. As a frequent collaborator with Snowball’s voice actor, Kevin Hart, it was only right that they paired them up as a comedic dog-and-bunny duo as they fight crime. Their storyline alone was one of the meatier plotlines in the movie that kept us glued to the screen. We can already imagine a spin-off sequel with these two alone.
Harrison Ford was another amazing addition to the cast as the Alpha dog Rooster. He may not have the versatility of other voice actors but we don’t mind since the guy has a commanding presence even as a dog. (We would recognize that voice anywhere!)
We enjoyed the almost teacher-student relationship between Rooster and Max, especially since they have opposing views on how to take care of others. With one of them being more of tough love while the other is a helicopter parent. But more importantly, Rooster helps Max deal with his anxiety and both characters grow from their interaction.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 contains many sideplots that seemed forced to intersect in the culminating scene, but the overarching storyline remains engaging nonetheless. We can almost forgive the disjointed stories because the CG animation and the interspecies banter is just so darn adorbs. The movie imparts an important lesson for both adults and kids about proper animal treatment, how to support others, and having the courage to take on challenges head-on. We give major props to the technological marvel that is the extremely texturized and boopable snoots, um, snouts of the animals and the wonderful, glompable mobility of the fur. Almost purr-fect but it could be even more paw-some in possible squeakquels. (Okay, we’ll stop with the pet puns meow!).