It's 1875 in London, and Alice (Mia Wasikowska; Crimson Peak) has returned from a year as sea captain of her father's ship to find that her mother (Lindsay Duncan; Birdman) sold their share of the shipping company and must now sell the family ship or lose their home. Despondent, Alice finds a portal that sends her back to Wonderland and the friends she left, including the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp; Pirates of the Caribbean).
Unfortunately, when she arrives in Wonderland, Alice is told the Mad Hatter is ill and she finds out he believes his family is still alive. Alice agrees to go back in time to stop the Hightopp family from dying and embarks on an adventure. Through her travels, she discovers what made Iracebeth, the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts I and II), so angry and vengeful.
Depp is a caricature of himself as he reprises the role of the mad hatter and doesn't disappoint. Wasikowska does a great job as a confident young woman, but the character, unfortunately, is unbelievable for 19th century England. Bonham Carter is equally as good, but, again, the character is poorly written, so she doesn't have much to work with and this film doesn't truly showcase her talent. The supporting cast is merely window dressing and Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) is annoying as Time (but I typically find him annoying).
The biggest problem with this movie is it tries too hard and falls short. There is no suspense in the film and the story lacks "heart". As mentioned, some of the characters are too unbelievable. Honestly, there was no way a group of male sailors was following a twenty-something, female captain in 1875, and absolutely no way society would even remotely accept her. I found it also ridiculous that Iracebeth only ever wanted an apology from her sister Mirana (Anne Hathaway; The Devil Wears Prada) and once she gets it all is forgiven and Iracebeth is no longer mean or angry (groan).
The graphics are certainly on par with other Disney films and the 3D version is very good. The film just is plain boring. Disney rushed to make a sequel to cash in on and, frankly, the script suffers because of it. I'm not sure if Disney is trying too hard not to offend anyone or they just don't know how to write a good story anymore, but this movie is a glaring example of what is wrong with the movie industry these days. They only look at the bottom line and the all mighty dollar and forget about quality.
In the end, everyone suffers and this sequel certainly isn't worthy of its 2010 predecessor.