Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Melman (David Schwimmer) and Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) are leaving Madagascar, but their trip ends short with them crashing in a reserve in Africa. There, Alex is reunited with his parents (Bernie Mac and Sherri Shepherd) and the rest find themselves fitting in with their kind a little too well.
This movie takes a step in the right direction. Having introduced the characters in the first film, this sequel brings a stronger, more personal story and a much slower and tighter pace. Each of the characters gets a decent amount of time to themselves, although admittedly Gloria once again has the least amount of time and does not get her own story. Everything feels a lot more refined as the characters have more to do and more other characters to interact with. This movie even has its own villain, voiced by Alec Baldwin, and he’s great as he always is when he plays the villain. They even found a way to bring humans into the mix that was funny and made sense.
I would argue though that these exact things that make it better than the first also bring with them their own problems. It does feel early on as if there are just too many story lines forming. There’s around six or seven stories all introduced in the first half of the film and it’s a little exhausting at first. As the movie goes on though, the stories begin to slowly melt into one another and create some great character moments. There are a lot of things I was expecting to not work, such as Melman’s sudden infatuation with Gloria, that ultimately work out really well.
There are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments as well as some hearty chuckles and best of all there are a lot less groan-worthy jokes this time around. In the first there were a lot of jokes pandering to the younger audience but here there is far less of that. All of the side characters, like Julian (Sacha Baron Cohen) and the penguins are not only funnier here but they work into the plot a lot better. The whole movie has the same feeling to it that Toy Story 3 did having come off Toy Story and Toy Story 2. It’s much more mature but still fun and entertaining.