Pitch Perfect 2 manages to live up to the hype by being as hilarious and entertaining as its predecessor (I actually slapped my knee at one point) and producing even more great, sure-to-be-stuck-in-your-head musical numbers. Here are 4 ways that the sequel improves upon the original:
1) More of What We Loved About the Original
The sequel features even more mash-ups, medleys, and mixes. Pitch Perfect 2 focuses on expanding the aca-world while still managing to develop the characters we’ve come to love. We delve deeper into the quirky characters of the Bellas as well as new addition, Hailee Steinfeld’s Emily. Smartly, it avoids the temptation to over-use the series’s breakout member, Fat Amy (although not to over-expose her), and she remains a highlight, rather than being burnt out.
While it lacks the surprise factor that made Pitch Perfect a sleeper-hit, the sequel manages to improve upon it’s weaker spots. As amazing as the first movie is, Pitch Perfect 2 benefits from the Bellas already being an established success. We still watch them fight for redemption and struggle to find harmony, both literally and figuratively, but thankfully don’t have to sit through the "I Saw the Sign" set over and over and wait around for them to get awesome.
2) Cameos and Supporting Bits
It’s not just the Bellas that rock Pitch Perfect 2. There are tons of well-known faces who show up in bit parts, both to sing and to scrutinize. Particularly fun is the surprise fifth team in the riff-off, the Green Bay Packers, football pros who manage to hold their own against singing pros. Also, Keegan-Michael Key is a scene-stealer as Becca’s music producer boss, managing to be hilariously mean without becoming a ridiculous caricature.
And everyone you hoped would return for the sequel does. We get more of Adam Devine’s Bumper, and more sides of the former Treblemaker are explored, and just the perfect dose of Anna Camp’s intense, drill sergeant Aubrey. We also, thankfully, get more of the commentators played by Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins, via their podcast “Let’s Talk-apella".
3) It’s More of a Musical
Before the film started, the person seated next to us, who hadn’t seen the first movie, asked if it was a real musical. My definition of a musical is a movie where the characters narrate or move the plot forward through song, so I wouldn’t call Pitch Perfect a true musical, because the songs are limited to performances and grounded in the world of reality. And while the sequel is still firmly set in the real world, we get more instances of characters singing their feelings and outside of the context of performances, making Pitch Perfect 2 lean more towards musical.
4) The Bar is Raised
Inevitably, comparisons will be drawn to the first film, and it is true that the sequel follows many of the same beats. But Pitch Perfect 2 challenges it’s characters and they embark on arcs of growth. Everything is bigger. Pitch Perfect featured original song “Cups” in a minor scene that turned into a major hit; the sequel makes a new original song a plot point (yes, it will be stuck in your head all weekend). The first featured a playful rivalry between the Bellas and the Treblemakers. The second raises the stakes and pits the Bellas in a do-or-die, global battle against German powerhouse Das Sound Machine (their acapella dubstep cover of Muse’s “Uprising” is both awesome and terrifying). There was some truly disgusting gross-out humor in Pitch Perfect and the sequel definitely doesn’t disappoint in this regard either.