More wacky and experimental than its predecessor, Gremlins 2: The New Batch willfully celebrates film references and iconography within an absurd interior space of dysfunctional technology and communication. Joe Dante, always the master of subtext, plants some stunning critiques of big business under the guise of mainstream entertainment.
This time out the Gremlins take over a corporate mega-building in New York City, hatching, playing, and destroying with reckless abandon, hollowing American Capitalism from the inside out. The disjointed narrative isn’t as finely tuned or focused as the original, but Dante seems more concerned with set-pieces of debauchery, even the complex blocking of the Gremlins themselves, best on display in the genius Busby Berkley-inspired musical number. Even when Gremlins 2 skirts along the edge of flimsy ridiculousness, the overarching themes regarding corporate ethics, greed, and synergy feel especially current and provocative, a potent reminder how little our destructive economic practices have changed over the years.