In the first Pitch Perfect, audiences fell in love with the Barden University Bellas (Anna Kendrick as Beca, Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy, Brittany Snow as Chloe, Anna Camp as Aubrey, Alexis Knapp as Stacie, Hana Mae Lee as Lilly, and Ester Dean as Cynthia Rose) an ambitious, all-girl college a cappella group.  They are ambitious because most a cappella groups feature at least one male group member for his baritone pipes.  But, the Bellas are a determined bunch.

Based on the novel of the same name by Mickey Rapkin and the script written by Kay Cannon, Pitch 2 has the Bellas back and as refreshing as ever.  With newbie director/actress/executive producer Elizabeth Banks at the helm, the girl power has been kicked up a notch to make Pitch Perfect 2 just as good as the first film; if not better.  The Bellas sound, look, and dress better, and they have their own house on campus since there’s probably a bigger budget this time around.  The Bellas seem to be doing pretty good and enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Well, they were until Fat Amy garnered national headlines for an unfortunate wardrobe mishap during a performance for President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Shonda Rhimes.  Angering the a cappella council that consists of Gail (Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins), the Bellas must win the world a cappella championship to win back the good favor of the council and regain their national respect.  This time, their greatest adversaries are the fierce leaders of Das Sound Machine: Kommissar (Birgitte Hjort Sorenson) and Pieter (Flula Borg).  Wilson likens the pair to Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Gary (Tony Hale) on HBO’s Veep, as they are scary good at being great performers and bad human beings.

Back in 2012, Pitch 1 was just supposed to be a one-note film in the vein of Glee.  But, something interesting happened: people loved this film about sisterhood and great songs.

In the first film, the Bellas managed to silence the naysayers on the screen by winning the national a cappella championship against the all-male a cappella group The Treblemakers (which included Skylar Astin as Jesse, Adam DeVine as Bumper, and Ben Platt as Benji).  Off-screen, the Bellas silenced all of the movie analysts who made the mistake of thinking that a film about an all-female a cappella group wouldn’t attract a large audience.

Thanks to its success in DVD and digital download sales, Pitch Perfect has become a cult classic.  Naturally, the Hollywood machine decided it wanted to take a stab at a sequel (read: collect big box office dollars from a recognized hit).  Thankfully, their efforts worked.  Pitch 2 is just as awesome as its predecessor.  Partly because it adhered to an already established formula: give the audience a group of young women who are representative of their target audience, add great song and dance routines, and let Wilson steal the show as Fat Amy.

Likewise, John’s commentating has gotten creepier and racier (read: racist and sexist).  But, his nice-nasty verbal sparring with Gail is still hilarious. The addition of Keegan-Michael Key as Beca’s new internship boss is awesome.  Not only can Key rock it as President Obama’s angry translator, Luther, but he’s got great comedic timing and enjoys being mean.  And, then there were the awesome cameos of Snoop Dogg, Robin Roberts, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Pharrell Williams, and the Green Bay Packers doing an a cappella rendition of their own.

No doubt about it, the Pitch sequel is bigger, better, and a great addition to the franchise.  In a sea of films where the group dynamics are about mostly men who drive fast cars or are superheroes and superhumans, it’s refreshing to see a film where female camaraderie is an ensemble’s greatest asset.  Girl power indeed. I can’t wait to see what Banks does with Pitch 3.