In ‘Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway,’ Peter Goes on a Quest To Find Himself

A beloved bunny goes on a new adventure and discovers a thing or two about himself in “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway,” the sequel to 2018’s “Peter Rabbit.” A modern story featuring the characters from the classic children’s books by Beatrix Potter, it picks up after the events of the last film, with Peter, voiced by James Corden, having trouble adjusting to his new domestic situation after his adopted mom Bea (Rose Byrne) ties the knot with his former foe, Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson).

After the wedding, Thomas has a hard time getting used to his new role of father figure to not only Peter, but also to Peter’s cousin Benjamin (Colin Moody), as well as Peter’s younger triplet sisters, Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki) and Cottontail (Aimee Horne). He and Peter have an especially hard time trusting each other, but who can blame them after the antics of the last film? Thomas works hard to grow tomatoes on the farm he inherited from his great-uncle, but Peter’s protecting the produce from the other animals leads to one of multiple misunderstandings. Adding to Peter’s worries is the looming threat of Bea and Thomas’ future human children, who he believes could displace him and his furry family.

A change of scenery could potentially do the family some good, but it only leads to more anxiety and chaos. Bea, who previously self-published a book about Peter and his friends, is invited to London by a charming and handsome book publisher, Nigel Basil-Jones (David Oyelowo), who brings out Thomas’ insecure side. Bea is excited about the prospect of her book being published by a major company, but the situation takes a turn when she discovers that Nigel wants to take out the more whimsical elements that make her work magical and turn it into something more commercial. Even worse, he has already started promoting Peter as the “bad seed” of the story. Needless to say, Peter doesn’t like this characterization of himself, and he runs off. Meanwhile, Bea goes through what so many creative people go through as she takes Nigel’s notes and debates if sacrificing her creative vision for profit is worth it. Sure, “Rabbits in Space” may make a lot of money, but is it really want she wants to put out there?

A running bit is how much Bea supposedly loves Charles Dickens, but it is Peter who finds himself in something of a Dickensian situation after he is taken under the wing of Barnabas (Lennie James), an older, streetwise rabbit who claims to have known Peter’s father. Together, they get up to some crazy hijinks in their quest to secure food, but the story really gets into gear when Peter and his family and friends join forces with Barnabas and his associates for a major heist at a farmer’s market. 

“Peter Rabbit” is a fun adventure for viewers of all ages. It’s full of adorable animated animals, including little Cottontail, who is a hoot as she gets up to trouble and stuffs her face with candy. Identity is a major theme, and while Peter figures out who he is, Flopsy struggles to carve out her own identity separate from Mopsy’s. There’s plenty of quality physical humor, and Gleeson especially really lets loose with his silly side, resulting in big laughs. Adults will also get a kick out of some of the more meta humor, as director Will Gluck plays around with the fact that he is satirizing commercialism in his major studio film.

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” opens June 11 in theaters nationwide.