While its predecessor boasted a healthy share of allusions, Gremlins 2: The New Batch is a smorgasbord of shout-outs to seemingly anything and everything that popped into director Joe Dante and screenwriter Charles Haas’ heads. A manic free-for-all that exudes – from its pre-credits intro featuring Bugs, Daffy and Porky – the rambunctious spirit of golden age Looney Tunes cartoons, Dante’s subversive sequel functions as a playful satire of the media, cable television programming, classic cinema colorization, society’s reliance on consumer-friendly technology (a theme held over from the first film), fatuous celebrity (namely John Glover’s Trump-like Daniel Clamp), urban development, and – most amusingly – the original Gremlins. Phoebe Cates’ impromptu tale of traumatic woe remains my favorite tongue-in-cheek highlight, but that’s not to disparage other silly, self-conscious gags such as Leonard Maltin being attacked by the creatures for a negative review of the original, the meta interlude involving Hulk Hogan scolding the Gremlins who’ve hijacked the projector, or the myriad references to Universal and Hammer horror, Frank Sinatra, Rambo, Batman and Marathon Man. Overstuffed with quick-hit bits, the film wastes little time on its perfunctory plot and even less on Gizmo (again voiced by Howie Mandel), who spends the majority of his scenes being humiliated and tortured by his monstrous offspring. Substituting a mystical storybook ambiance with scattershot delirium and flippant wittiness, Gremlins 2 not only willfully undermines its precursor, but turns out to be both a loving celebration, and biting critique, of our pop culture-saturated times.