Gremlins 2: Doesn’t Quite Live Up to the Original


In late 1984, Gremlins hit the big screen to significant box office success. It garnered many fans and established its place as a classic film. Just six years later, the minds behind this movie created a sequel, dubbed “Gremlins 2: The New Batch”. Does this successor live up to its predecessor, or does it fall flat in comparison?

Our movie stars the same protagonist as the first film: Billy. He recently moved into the big city and hooks a job as a city design artist. Trying to make ends meet, he’s working towards a big promotion that could allow him and his girlfriend to have their wedding. Billy hadn’t had any contact with Gizmo, his Mogwai friend, since he was confiscated by his original owner.

The main story is spurred by said original owner dying and leaving gizmo to fend for himself in Manhattan. While he’s wandering the streets, a man from an animal genetics lab discovers and takes Gizmo for testing. By sheer chance, this genetics lab works for the same company that Billy does, and in the same building at that. Gizmo and Billy are brought together by fate. Hijinks ensue when Gizmo escapes the genetics testing lab and somehow gets wet, spawning many new Mogwai that aren’t quite as kind as him.

In general, “Gremlins 2” is funnier than “Gremlins”. It’s significantly more self aware than the first film, and it makes fun of itself often. Most issues that people had in the first film were made into jokes in the second film, and they all turned out really funny. “Gremlins 2” certainly leans more into the comedy side of its genre, while still keeping a lot of the horror scenes the original “Gremlins” was known for. A scene in particular that stood out was when the Mogwai were all set loose in the genetics lab, and it was discovered that they can use animal DNA to evolve parts of their bodies. This was used in a horror sense to create spider and gargoyle gremlins, but it was also used in a funny sense to make a smart gremlin who could talk and an especially alluring gremlin. Overall, the balance of horror and comedy was extremely well done in this movie.

However, it didn’t necessarily feel like a true sequel. At times it felt as if the movie’s only purpose was to reference its predecessor, which can get old after a bit. Although I appreciate the old faces coming back, such as Billy and his girlfriend, the plot seemed as if it would work with just about any other characters. If another child would’ve found Gizmo instead of Billy, the plot could’ve worked out similarly. Another unsatisfying part of the plot was that no one believed Billy when he said the gremlins were going to massacre the building. It was obnoxious to see people so clearly send themselves to their doom, especially when Billy was right there telling them how to live. You’d imagine a new species of animal ravaging a small town (such as in “Gremlins”) would make the news to some degree. The fact that not a single security guard or police officer in or around the building believed Billy is frankly annoying. 

Disregarding this, the film still undeniably made me laugh at several points. It chose to lean more into comedy, and it pulled it off very nicely. Although the film had its bad points, you could tell that it was all meant to contribute to the greater plot, so, although a bit contrived, it can be excused. As a sequel to the first movie, it’s frankly just alright. Seeing some old characters was nice, and seeing new personalities interact with the gremlins was nicer. As a stand-alone comedy, however, it’s amazing. If you enjoyed the comedy aspects of “Gremlins”, “Gremlins 2” will absolutely be for you. The horror aspects are certainly still there (and choosing to eat during the movie was likely a mistake), but they obviously feel less impactful when the rest of the film is essentially one big joke. 

Overall, I think the film lives up to the original. It’s certainly hard to compare them since they feel as if they belong to completely different genres, but I’d say “Gremlins 2” continued the legacy rather well. Although I had problems with both films, they weren’t enough to soil the entire experience, as I still felt satisfied and happy when the screens went black. I’d recommend “Gremlins 2” to anyone who prefers the comedy aspect of “Gremlins”, or anyone who wishes for additional closure for the characters of the first movie. 

Overall: 7.5/10

Categories: Entertainment, Opinion

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