Three stars

Directed by Thurop Van Orman and John Rice, computer-animated caper The Angry Birds Movie 2 feathers its nest with an achingly predictable journey of self-discovery and timely lessons about collaboration and acceptance across the cultural divide.

While the original film, released in 2016, felt like a glossy promotional tool for the puzzle-oriented games created by Finnish company Rovio Entertainment, the sequel has the freedom to invent its own stories and colourful supporting characters.

It’s disappointing that the screenwriters don’t seize this opportunity and rely on obvious visual gags (a flashback to a Flockbusters video store) to embellish a linear narrative that lacks dramatic tension or jeopardy, even when cute birds are being pelted with balls of molten lava.

The script seldom plays to the strengths of a starry cast of gifted comic performers including new arrivals Awkwafina, Tiffany Haddish and Leslie Jones, and they respond with muted vocal performances that barely take flight.

Throwaway interludes involving a trio of fluffy hatchlings on the hunt for three wayward eggs are cast in the same mould as the Minions in Despicable Me and Scrat in Ice Age, with an unexpectedly dark pay-off involving a slumbering “boa constructor”.

Residents of Bird Island and Pig Island are locked in a war of attrition and pranks.

Feathered heroes use a giant slingshot to propel a bottle of hot sauce across the sea that separates the two communities and their porcine adversaries retaliate by dropping hundreds of angry crabs from a flotilla of airships.

Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis), speedy livewire Chuck (Josh Gad) and self-combusting worrywart Bomb (Danny McBride) spearhead the birds’ efforts to stay one cluck ahead of the pigs’ rotund leader, Leonard (Bill Hader), and his second-in-command Courtney (Awkwafina).

These frenemies are shocked to discover the existence of a third colony, the frozen wasteland of Eagle Island, where embittered ruler Zeta (Jones) and her daughter Debbie (Haddish) are plotting to overthrow birds and pigs using a steam-powered superweapon.

“We need to put our differences aside and work together,” Leonard implores the birds.

Consequently, Red assembles a crack team for a daring mission to Eagle Island, which includes Chuck’s inventor sister Silver (Rachel Bloom) and Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), who has good reason to fear Zeta’s wrath.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 is punctuated sparingly with broad slapstick like Bomb’s hilarious attempt to sneak unnoticed past eagle guards but there are noticeably fewer giggles than the first film.

Visuals are gleefully saturated with retina-straining colour and co-directors Van Orman and Rice deliver outlandish set-pieces with gusto including a deranged breakdance battle to Harold Faltermeyer’s electronic instrumental Axel F and the hunt for a security pass that culminates in a hysterically awkward encounter at a urinal.

For once, toilet humour is the height of comic sophistication.

FAST & FURIOUS: HOBBS & SHAW (12A) Three stars

Turbo-charged action thriller The Fast And The Furious starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker revved its engine in 2001, setting in motion one of the most lucrative franchises in Hollywood history.

Two final films in the series will shift into top gear in summer 2020 and 2021.

In the meantime, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham flex their muscles as (un)friendly rivals in this testosterone-fuelled spin-off, filmed on location in London and Glasgow.

Former British Special Forces operative turned assassin-for-hire Deckard Shaw (Statham) answers a call from his mother (Dame Helen Mirren) to assist his little sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby). She is a crack MI6 agent, who is on the trail of rogue operative Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), who has enhanced his body with the latest cyber-genetic advancements to attain superhuman strength and speed.

A shootout on the streets of London brings federal agent Luke Hobbs

(Johnson) to the capital and he confirms that Lore is in possession of a deadly biological agent, which could trigger a global extinction.

As humanity’s fate hangs in the balance, Hobbs and Shaw are compelled to put their differences aside to wage war on Lore and his gun-toting underlings .

ANIMALS (15) Two stars

Sisterly solidarity is tested to breaking point in a booze-soaked dark comedy adapted from the novel by Emma Jane Unsworth.

Laura (Holliday Grainger) enjoys the nightlife in present-day Dublin to excess with American best friend Tyler (Alia Shawkat).They often wake in the same bed and are inseparable as they chart a haphazard path through their early 30s.

When Laura falls in love with classical pianist Jim (Fra Fee), she contemplates turning her back on the parties, drugs and debauchery to settle down and follow the sensible, suburban example of her sister Jean (Amy Molloy), who is expecting a first child.

Tyler is deeply resentful of Jim and his hold over Laura. She schemes to break up the happy couple by tempting her best friend to stray with handsome writer Marty (Dermot Murphy). Tyler’s calculated effort to break Laura’s heart rather than sever their special bond could backfire spectacularly.

CHARMING (PG) Three stars

Fairytale princesses don’t get their intended happy-ever-afters in a computer-animated musical fantasy written and directed by Ross Venokur.

When Nemeny Neverwish (voiced by Nia Vardalos) is denied the hand in marriage of the king, she curses his infant son to make every woman in the land swoon with a single flutter of his eyelashes.

As he grows into a strapping lad, Prince Charming (Wilmer Valderrama) is the bane of every man because he has women falling at his feet including his three fiancees, Cinderella (Ashley Tisdale), Sleeping Beauty (Chinese singer-songwriter G.E.M.) and Snow White (Avril Lavigne).

They are blissfully unaware that they are engaged to the same man until feisty thief Leonore (Demi Lovato) intervenes.

She has also been cursed by Nemeny and is the only woman in the realm impervious to Charming’s intoxicating gaze.

She pretends to be a young man called Lenny in order to accompany Charming on an epic quest to break Nemeny’s spell and restore the power to love to his subjects.

Leonore starts to develop romantic feelings for Charming, which could lead to true love’s kiss – the only force that will neutralise Nemeny’s wicked enchantment.