Guillermo del Toro’s Tales of Arcadia continues to impress, with another snappy family adventure.
This review of 3Below: Tales of Arcadia Part 2 is spoiler-free. You can check out our thoughts on Part 1 by clicking these words.
3Below: Tales of Arcadia Part 2 is one of those rare shows that makes my job pretty easy. As the second half of what feels rather like a truncated single season rather than an actual second season in the traditional sense, one can quite simply say if you liked Part 1 you’ll like this follow-up outing just as much and then knock off for lunch. It’s also virtually critic-proof. It’s an animated family-friendly adventure with DreamWorks talent, Guillermo del Toro’s ever-present abundant weirdness and storytelling panache, and it slots neatly into an overarching mythology that will presumably conclude with Wizards at the end of the year. It’s a surefire hit, and nothing I can say will change that.
Luckily, I wouldn’t want to change that anyway. I enjoyed Part 1, and I enjoyed Part 2; they’re both great family shows that combine elements of science-fiction and fantasy with fish-out-of-water comedy, timely social commentary, and meditations on home, family, and immigration. They’re parables neatly wrapped in flashy adventures, crafted with care and attention and enthusiasm.
Can’t argue with that. In 3Below: Tales of Arcadia Part 2, royal aliens Aja (Tatiana Maslany) and Krel (Diego Luna) are left to clean up the mess of Part 1’s climax, including their betrayal and subsequent self-sacrifice by bodyguard confidante Vex (Nick Offerman) and their battle against General Morando’s bounty hunters. General Morando is poised to invade Earth with the intention of wiping out the House Tarron line for good. It’s more of the same, but when the same was great to begin with that scarcely matters.
Fans of the material will be happy with this 13-part follow-up. They can be on the lookout for Trollhunters crossovers, for more sentient motherships, and for the return of old faces alongside some new ones. This is lively and enjoyable storytelling of a variety you only achieve when working with true masters of their craft, and from del Toro to the skilled animators who bring his visions to life, 3Below: Tales of Arcadia Part 2 is the work of fine craftspeople who seem to truly care about what they’re making. And it’s rare you can say that.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.