Several months have passed since Sanctuary City was introduced to Maggie, aka Combat Wombat (Deborah Mailman), and her sidekick Sweetie (Ed Oxenbould). Thanks to the latest technology developed by tech genius Lenny (David Wenham), the people within the city can now request urgent help using a new app on their phones. The request for urgent support for Combat Wombat and Sweetie is at an all-time high. However, they’re not reducing anyone. When the many within the city continually raise urgent calls for help, Maggie finds herself doing errands or even helping the elderly do their grocery shopping. All the outrageous call-outs give Maggie the idea that perhaps her days as a superhero will soon be over, given her continual frustration.
However, one call-out has a strange turn of events! After babysitting a baby for an older person, Maggie can’t wait to return the child; however, when the older person is arrested, not only is Maggie the carer of the baby, but she and Sweetie begin to raise suspicion and soon find multiple seniors within the city are being arrested for a crime they couldn’t have committed. On top of all the craziness, Maggie is also given Skylar (Elizabeth Cullen), a chameleon teenager ordered by local law enforcement to conduct community service on Maggie’s side. Maggie’s hands are full, but that doesn’t stop her from beginning to work a personal investigation, starting with going undercover at the local RSL. As Maggie continues investigating, she soon discovers someone from the city is using a controlling device, and thanks to technology, Combat Wombat is now up against someone who carries a desire to create a whole new world to obtain something they once lost.
For those unaware, Combat Wombat: Back 2 Back is a family animated feature and a second instalment from the original film released in 2020. Being a fan of the original movie for its fantastic animal characters and animation style and colours, as a grown adult and parent, I was excited to see what Maggie would be tackling next. Thankfully, Combat Wombat: Back 2 Back goes to the next level in all areas. Firstly, Maggie is attacking far more than ever before, mainly when being a superhero, while also trying to work with her sidekick, Sweetkick. In essence, Maggie has a lot on her plate, and it is easy to understand her frustrations; why would she even consider hanging up her mask? On top of Maggie’s challenges, we are also treated with new characters who welcome Skylar and a mysterious new villain. Speaking of villains, Combat Wombat and her team are up against a new kind of villain, and the film introduces technology on a whole new level.
The voice cast, once again, is a considerable strength of the film, and I’m highly pleased by the casting choices of new characters that are also introduced. Visually, this film goes up a notch compared to the previous movie and is unique as Lenny (David Wenham) is exceptionally detailed, and it’s impossible not to be amazed. As for the storyline, viewers will be treated to many great positive messages, including one where Maggie learns that even the small thing can make a massive difference in the life of another or the fact that Sweetie is small; he is capable of doing big things, and the list honestly goes on. As for the areas of comedy, I had a few chuckles in particular when Maggie goes undercover at the local RSL because some of the jokes here are just too real, but as a film, there are no real laugh-out-loud moments, nor does the sequel raise the bar with it jokes but in the areas of heart, animation, voice and characters, everything is solid next level up. Directed by Ricard Cussó, who also previously did Combat Wombat, Daisy Quokka and Scarygirl, it’s evident that Ricard continues to grow strongly with each new film, and I admire the culture and consistently, such as the use of loveable animals, fun characters, and clear messaging.
Overall, it is a wondrous delight to see Combat Wombat and Sweetie return to the big screen as a sequel; the film raises the bar successfully in the areas of voice work, animation, story, villain and, most importantly, its heartfelt messaging, which is highly applicable for viewers of all ages. I’m becoming a fan of this series and the talent that goes behind this film, along with the director Ricard Cussó, who continues to shine wonderfully in the areas of family animation, turning me into a true fan of his work. As a sequel, this film delivers everything I hoped for and yet I still found many surprises along the way. The whole journey truly is wom’bat-tastic!
Combat Wombat: Back 2 Back (2023) is Available in Australian Cinemas TBA.