The biggest problem for me with Dolphin Tale 2 was that it seemed like they were trying to hard come up with an additional inspirational story that would last the whole two hours. Thus this seemed like a cash grab. The first movie was a big financial success. Why not try again? And to be honest, they had a decent idea. The movie was advertised as a story about Winter needing a new female companion or else they were going to lose him. Another dolphin that they name Hope is rescued and they hope that this will be the solution to the problem. Sounds good enough, right? Winter + Hope? And that aspect of the movie was decent, but I was surprised to learn that this wasn't just a Winter + Hope movie. In fact, that only took up a portion of the last half of the movie. This was a movie about Winter, Hope, Mandy and Panama the dolphins. It was also a movie about a sea turtle they rescue and an annoying pelican.
But mostly, if I'm being honest, this was a movie about Sawyer and Hazel, our two teenage protagonists. Sawyer is given this impressive offer to go off on a Sea Semester, fully paid. But he struggles with this because he doesn't want to leave Winter. Meanwhile, Hazel is the daughter of the owner and also works at the aquarium and we spend a lot of time with her relationship with her dad. And then we spend a lot of time with the friendship between Sawyer and Hazel, which almost leads you to believe this will turn into a teen romance movie. So really, they could've named this movie Teenager Tale, because that's what it was for most of it. And it was all fluff. Uninteresting, forced fluff that was just there because the actual story about the dolphins wasn't long enough to fill a whole movie.
In the end, I went into the movie very skeptic about it's existence, but yet I hoped that it was leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside just like the first one did. And while the movie did have some touching moments and good performances by the whole cast, the story in this one was filled with a lot of unnecessary fluff that just made the movie fall flat. I wasn't inspired or touched at all. I was just bored. That said, if you are aching for a family-friendly movie due to the extreme lack of them for the last several months, this isn't a bad option. And if you are a dolphin lover and want to watch dolphins swim around, there will definitely be parts of this movie that you will love. But as it turns out, my personal opinion of the movie is exactly what I feared it would be. The world didn't need a Dolphin Tale 2. My grade for it is a 6.5/10