Netflix just got a new No. 1 movie — and it's great for the whole family

Man watching Netflix on TV
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Update June 27: There's a new No. 1 Netflix movie starring Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson. Sing 2 is still going strong at No. 2. 

Sometimes, the highest-ranked Netflix top 10 list entries are a bit of a surprise. People can flock to a movie that came out of nowhere, or an old action-flick worth rewatching for its amazing stunts. This time, though, we're not at all shocked. In fact, we expected this one.

If you haven't noticed it already, the No. 1 movie on Netflix's "Top 10 Movies in the U.S. Today" chart is Sing 2. Yes, the highest-grossing animated film of 2021 and the tenth highest-grossing film of that same year, is very popular on one of the best streaming services. And it's taken this slot very shortly after its Netflix arrival on Wednesday (June 22).

One of the 9 best new movies to stream this week, Sing 2 arrives with plenty of competition. So, should you choose it over, say, Doctor Strange 2 or Downton Abbey: A New Era? Let's find out.

What is Sing 2?

Sing 2 is the second chapter of Universal/Illumination's series of films where animals know how to rock. And, of course, since this is a CGI animated movie, it's full of famous folks in these roles, singing songs that are similar to major pop songs.

So, for example, you'll get Taron Egerton, Reese Witherspoon and Nick Kroll singing Prince's "Let's Go Crazy." Scarlett Johansson takes a break from the MCU to perform the Yeah Yeah Yeah's "Heads Will Roll," and she also duets with U2's Bono on his song "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."

And as a way to make that all make sense, it's framed around the story of a group of amiable animals with a musical mission. Matthew McConaughey voices a koala named Buster Moon, who wants to run a big event. Reese Witherspoon voices Rosita, a pig who needs to convince her husband Gunter (Nick Kroll) to take care of their 25 kids while she performs.

Johansson voices the porcupine guitarist Ash, while Egerton plays the singing gorilla Johnny who you've probably seen in ads. And, yes, Bono's performing in this because he voices a reclusive lion named Clay Calloway that the gang want to bring into the fold.

What do critics think of Sing 2?

Yes, Sing 2's box office records might suggest it's critic-proof, but it's always good to have a look at what the pros thought. Sing 2 earned a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a decent-enough score for a bright and jovial family film that you might be worried will bore you while it entertains your kids.

So let's lead with the positive notes (though they're not as exuberant as the film itself). Kristen Page-Kirby, for The Washington Post, wrote that "No one over the age of 10 will ever accuse the film of originality," before noting its "voice acting is solid, across the board. McConaughey in particular gives Buster a sweet optimism that makes it irresistible to root for him." The back-handed compliments continue, as she ends her article stating "A cinematic masterpiece it is not. But Sing 2 is good enough. And as the farmer said in Babe, a much better talking-animal movie: 'That’ll do, pig, that’ll do.'"

Buster Moon and Gunter in Sing 2

(Image credit: Illumination via YouTube)

Brian Lowry at CNN begins his review by stating "Sing 2 mostly works on split levels, offering a jukebox assortment of popular songs that parents will recognize, and having cute animated animals belt them out to divert children. The result is a breezy exercise in karaoke for kids." His almost-begrudgingly approving review also states "It's empty calories, and a highly calculated musical sugar rush. Still, this franchise from Illumination ... doesn't really aspire to be anything more than fun, and on the most basic level, delivers just enough of it, especially for the pre-puberty demo."

A more-negative review came from Ella Kemp at Empire, who rated the film 2 out of 5 stars and stated that "when you take a step back from the blinding spotlights, it does make you wonder what the point of any of it is." She also states that Bono's performance "would be exciting if he was even slightly more convincing emotionally, and had been blessed with more personality than the tired clichés of a grumpy, grieving man."

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian pulled no punches, writing Sing 2 "feels like a screensaver, a movie generated by an algorithm, the same algorithm that calculated the likely profit on extending the Sing franchise."

Should you stream Sling 2 tonight?

This is a decision between you and probably your kids. If the tykes made up your mind for you, well, at least your expectations may have been set low enough for Sing 2 to pleasantly surprise you. 

If you want something to watch that's upbeat while you fold laundry and do other household chores, this animated jukebox seems like a decent bit of background noise. But there's so much other stuff to watch right now, though none of the newest arrives is quite the same as Sing 2. 

We doubt the kids care that Beavis and Butt-Head are back in town, but maybe that's something to watch after they go to sleep. 

Check out more new movies and shows to watch this weekend. and how the one show you need to binge watch right now is 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Plus, the superhero movie with an 87% Rotten Tomatoes score that just flew into the top 10

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.