"a solid, highly funny and at times hilarious piece of cinema that I'd recommend to anyone wanting a fun film"
Zoolander 2 is one of the more unexpected sequels which was announced mid last year. It surprised many for two reasons: firstly, it’s been 15 years between sequels; and secondly, whilst it has a huge cult following, the original wasn't the commercial success it was expected to be. So with that in mind, I was interested to see how the follow up would be handled.
As a person in their late twenties, I couldn't fault the opening, having a hooded protagonist being chased through the streets of Rome by unidentified antagonists. This only gets better when you realise that the hooded figure is actually Justin Bieber! As the trailers already show, he then gets shot, with his final act to be Instagraming a photo of him pulling one of Zoolanders trademark poses (although not quite Blue Steel).
The opening scenes and start of the film even appear to be a criticism of modern pop culture in that the youth of today are not aware of what has gone before them. This theme continues for a short while until about midway through, at which point - and without spoiling - it addresses ‘daddy issues’.
In my opinion, and for the most part, the fine line between self-awareness and comedy is done well until we reach the finale. It feels like a bit of a rehash of the original as well as being a little too over-the-top for its own good.
The main cast, excluding the overuse of cameos as per the first film, is brilliant. Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson & Will Ferrell, although known primarily for comedy, all have legit straight chops, all 3 are great, with Ferrell being a particularly highlight. It’s a credit to his acting ability that he can make Mugatu a believable bad guy.
Stiller and Wilson as the returning Zoolander & Hansel still play their male model counterparts hilariously, they're still stupid and still as dense as ever, even asking the question if someone is a bad person because they're fat.
Another addition to the main cast is Penélope Cruz as Valentina, where Cruz plays a rare comedic role and fits in well. This feels like a much bigger affair than the original and tries to add more of a narrative than it had. The story itself is deeper than the first, even with the amount of call backs it makes, but it just doesn't hit the same spot as the original. I would, however, be selling the film short if I didn't mention some the laugh out loud parts.
Benedict Cumberbatch as All is great and finding out what happen to The Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good and Who Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too will put a hell of a smile on your face.
In summary, Zoolander 2 is a solid, highly funny and at times hilarious piece of cinema that I'd recommend to anyone wanting a fun film. Its only fault is that it follows the original too closely, which has such a cult following it is always going to be extremely difficult to replicate. So close to magnum, yet so far.