It’s been over a year since My Little Pony: Equestria Girls hit theaters. When it was first announced it garnered many negative reactions from fans. There was so much pre-hate but when it came out it delivered a fun, exciting, and heartwarming story about friendship. Despite reviews for the most part being favorable, many thought it would be a one and done thing. Until of course Rainbow Rocks was announced. There wasn’t as much hype in comparison to the first one. There wasn’t much dislike, but it appeared that unlike the first one there wasn’t going to be any correlation with the pony world. It looked to be solely High School Musical in Equestria Girls format. But if it’s one thing fans have learned by now is that it’s best to never underestimate the MLP team. Rainbow Rocks isn’t quite as engaging as the first Equestria Girls for a few reasons, but overall it’s another solid trip into the MLP universe. (And a solid way to hold you over until Season 5!)
Here’s the official description from Hasbro:
Canterlot High is hosting a musical showcase and Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and Fluttershy are going to be performing with their new band, The Rainbooms. But when a new girl group, The Dazzlings, arrives at CHS, they convince everyone to turn the friendly showcase into a Battle of the Bands.
As tensions mount between the competing musical acts, a reformed Sunset Shimmer realizes that the Dazzlings may not be ordinary girls and are after something far more sinister than just being named Best Band at Canterlot High. The Rainbooms call on Princess Twilight to return to their world to help them perform a musical counter-spell so that they can win a battle that now determines the fate of the entire school.
If it’s one thing Rainbow Rocks lacked in comparison to the first Equestria Girls it’s overall excitement. There was a sense of danger throughout the first one. Arguably here it’s similar but at the same time lacks that big “Uh oh, how will they pull out of this one?” The villains are a trio called the Sirens. Thankfully during the middle they got some much needed backsrtory. Overall they were pretty solid, with Adagio, the leader, being the best. While they didn’t have a generic ending like Sunset Shimmer in the first movie, their ending is still a bit anti-climatic. Throughout the movie however they work. Their powers feed off the negative emotions of others, which is nothing new but still cool to watch.
Another thing furthering the gap between the two movies is the soundtrack. Almost every song in Equestria Girls was fun and different. In Rainbow Rocks, almost every one sounds the same. They’re wonderfully written, but sound exactly alike. There are no specific highlights, the only one that’s memorable is the end credits song, ‘Shine Like Rainbows.’ Moving onto characters, the big highlight is Sunset Shimmer. While I was personally annoyed they went the generic route and reformed her in the ending to the first movie, here she actually proves to be more interesting than the other main characters! It is awkward when you’ve been a bully (and her case she-demon!) so people will have a hard time accepting. Like the first movie, Rainbow Rocks hits some of the school culture pretty well.
The first 25% of the movie lacked Twilight and it shows. While the other Mane 5 are always awesome, for some reason here without Twilight the movie slowly started to turn dull. When she arrived it quickly picked up. There are a couple of negative things regarding her however. For one thing, why was she surprised when Flash Sentry was being rude to her in the hall? Didn’t she know that the whole school was being controlled by the Sirens? Also when has she proven to be bad at singing? In the practice she seemed so awkward when it reality she’s been singing for 4 seasons and a movie! Besides those, Twilight remains as engaging and funny as ever. Though once again, the romance is completely forced. It went nowhere and was there just to be there.
The writing remains solid as you would expect from Meghan McCarthy. There’s admittedly less funny scenes than usual, but still quite a few moments where even even the most hardened of fans will laugh. (The Maud Pie cameo scene was brilliant.) Trixie has a solid role, and one must give credit to her voice actress Kathleen Barr for perfectly saying “The great and powerful Trixxxieee!” every time. The climax involves a sing-off with some mild action. It’s not quite as engaging as the climax from the previous movie, but it’s still decent and delivers a pretty epic finishing blow.
Overall, Rainbow Rocks is a solid sequel. It’s not quite as engaging as the first Equestria Girls, but still a fun watch. The Sirens, mainly Adagio, make for not bad antagonists. (The other two get some good lines here and there, but one has to wonder why the writing would have Aria want to be leader, but never explored again.) (And another thing, wouldn’t one think that Twilight would let Princess Celestia know she would be traveling into the mirror again?) Sunset Shimmer is surprisingly one of the primary highlights as a protagonist. If they make a show out of this world I’ll be looking forward to seeing her again. At its core the story’s goal is to finish Sunset’s redemption story which began in the ending of the first movie. With that goal, it succeeds. The rest of the movie remains a solid, but sometimes flawed watch.