Gremlins 2: The New Batch is the 1990 sequel to the 1984 hit Gremlins, and features returning stars Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates. Although director Joe Dante was this time given a much larger budget to work with, the film struggled at the box office and with critics, but found a cult following in the home video market.
Kingston Falls is far behind us, as Billy (Zach Galligan) and Kate (Phoebe Cates) have moved to the Big Apple. After the death of his owner, Gizmo is also on his own, and through a twist of fate...and a scientist played by Christopher Lee...
You know what, I won't spend a lot of time summarizing the plot, because I'm not sure it's really that critical. This movie has two main goals in mind. The first is having fun at the idea of sequels in general, and Gremlins specifically. And the second is puppets; lots and lots of puppets.
The movie coasts along for about the first third with a reasonable, if shallow, story that brings all the main characters back together in downtown New York City, and then more or less traps them in a building with gremlins. And that's all you really need to know. At that point the story's job has been done, and it's time to let them run riot. From there the movie begins to play more and more like a demented monster movie marathon, only severely compacted for the heavily-caffeinated user base it was targeting. Gremlins are just all over the place - because yeah, someone accidentally watered Gizmo - and are doing the most silly of things. You half-expect to hear Benny Hill music as we watch them run around and cause hijinks.
Not surprisingly, the sequel is much more light-hearted than the original. Gremlins perhaps tried too hard to be the "good" version of a bad monster movie, and there was an over-serious layer that gave it both its darkness and its silliness. Gremlins 2 certainly doesn't have that. It takes itself zero-percent seriously, and as a result the movie is almost a live-action cartoon hour, starring whatever Gremlin has the camera's attention at the moment. And the laughably outdated late-'80s clothes and hairstyles (why didn't someone tell us we looked like that?) only add to the gleeful pandemonium.