One might question the wisdom of making a sequel a decade after the original film premiered. Even if the first one was popular and financially successful, it may be difficult to hit that same special mark that made the first film a success. But the question really isn't how long you wait to make the sequel, the real question - is the sequel worth watching in the first place? If the answer is yes, then the film stands a good chance of success.
Zombieland was originally released in 2009. It came at a perfect time for the zombie genre. The market then may have seemed saturated, with The Walking Dead preparing to hit television on AMC and a host of other films in the genre either already released, or in production. However, that was not the case. In the same way Shaun of the Dead breathed fresh comedic life into the lumbering corpse of the genre five years before it, Zombieland took the serious edge off the horror and made us laugh at the antics of a mismatched group of survivors as they slaughtered the undead and enjoyed themselves much more than anyone should during an apocalypse.
A decade later and Zombieland 2 arrived. It does and does not pick-up where the last film left off. Yes, we're still following Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). But time has passed in their movie world. Little Rock has grown into an adult and Columbus and Witchita are a couple. They decided they needed a home and chose the most unlikely and impractical one around - the White House.
After a cinematic opening credits battle to kill the zombie residents of the one-time presidential residence, the gang moves in. There is a lot of humor in seeing the various national treasures and historic objects housed there being used for more mundane, and entertaining, purposes. Still, all is not perfect in their new sanctuary.
Time passes and they become complacent and even bored. Little Rock, in particular, is feeling constrained by Tallahassee who still sees her as the 13-year-old she was when she and Wichita met them. Wichita is also feeling the pressure as Columbus wants to make their relationship more permanent even when she's thinking it may be time to move on.
And so the boys wake up one morning to find the ladies gone. They’ve left nothing but a note saying they're sorry to leave this way and that they are terrible at writing notes. Tallahassee and Columbus both fall into a funk that lasts a month before Tallahassee declares he can't take anymore and they may hit the road. That's when they find Madison (Zoey Deutch), an air-headed party girl who won't eat peanuts because she says she's vegan. They find her - where else but the mall.
Madison eagerly joins the boys and almost immediately starts aardvarking with the 'on the rebound' Columbus. So, of course, Wichita returns the next day. She explains that she and Little Rock had met a peace love hippy type Little Rock's own age called Berkeley. While Wichita had not liked the young man's post-apocalyptic-hipster vibe, Little Rock was seduced by his talk of a peace-loving gun-free commune called Babylon. So Little Rock leaves Wichita a note and splits with Berkeley. Now Wichita wants help finding Little Rock before she gets killed following a hippy in a world where zombies run amok. Can anyone say road trip?
Zombieland 2 is a fun-filled romp through the zombie apocalypse. It holds just as many laughs as the first film, but with many more celebrity cameos. The film also manages to recreate the warm, family chemistry feeling that made the original film so entertaining.
Don't go into Zombieland 2 expecting it to break a lot of new ground in the zombie genre; it doesn't. What it does do is play on all of the tropes of the genre that have seeped into our pop-culture collective.
So if you're in the mood for a sequel that waited 10 years to happen, and feels like it's totally worth the wait, check out Zombieland 2. It's a film with a bit of gore and a lot of heart, though I still don't see what Wichita sees in Columbus, but to each her own.