The LEGO Movie came in like a whirlwind of creativity and imagination. It felt revolutionary and the first time in years that there was an original and captivating animated film that didn’t originate from Pixar. After the first film and the spin-off, The LEGO Batman Movie, the cinematic world of LEGO movies doesn’t seem as fresh and groundbreaking. While it might lack the originality of its predecessors, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part does right by the franchise and its fans with a charming and fun adventure.
It’s been five years since the exploits of the first film. Finn (Jadon Sand) is growing up resulting in his LEGO creations to resemble more of a dark and brooding pre-teen world. Maybe it wasn’t intentional, but it seemed like screenwriters Christopher Miller and Phil Lord were poking fun at Warner Bros. Pictures’ gloomy take on Superman for some inspiration. Or just Hollywood’s endless fascination with post-apocalyptic settings in general.
Finn is feeling a little threatened by his father’s edict that his sister, Bianca (Brooklynn Prince, The Florida Project), should be able to join in on the fun too. This leads to some clever twists on Finn’s LEGO universe with the insurgence of an alien race that destroys any new creation. Since Lord and Miller can’t surprise audiences with the ‘real world’ reveal this time, they focus more of the twist on the events in LEGO land.
Despite the less than awesome setting following the invasion, Emmet (Chris Pratt, Avengers: Infinity War) has managed to keep his sunny disposition. Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks, The Happytime Murders) is loving the chance to continue to be a grade A bad-a$$. This time the alien invaders have gotten bolder as General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz) wants five of the planet’s greatest warriors to meet her leader, Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi (Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip).
Thanks to his cheery attitude, Emmet doesn’t make the cut, but he’s not about to let his pals get kidnapped against their will even if he’s no Wyldstyle or Batman (Will Arnett). But Emmet won’t have to go it alone as he meets up with the extremely charismatic and edgy Rex, who’s happy to teach him the ropes of being the kind of cool hero Wyldstyle would appreciate.
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Three movies in to The LEGO Movie universe means those novel moments like the item numbers popping up while creations are built aren’t as ingenious. Director Mike Mitchell, Trolls) wisely doesn’t try and tamper with the winning formula. Emmet’s world and the animation style doesn’t need to be reinvented when it still works. Instead, Mitchell doesn’t deviate too far from what’s already proven to be successful with a little more glitter bombs and colorful explosions. The charm of these LEGO films is how easy it is to envision all the proceedings from the eyes of a child’s imagination.
The effort is there with a pair of especially catchy songs, but none quite manage to reach the infectious mantra-level of ‘Everything is Awesome.’ But really, what could? Catchy Song, Not Evil and Gotham City Guys all featured some funny lyrics and good beats to guarantee I won’t get tired of hearing them anytime soon.
There’s a pretty inspired twist near the end that’s more effective than the first film. On the whole, I liked this story more as it’s not as reliant on cameos from pop culture LEGOs.
Lord and Miller work in a pretty sneak morale about acceptance and inclusion. The film is ‘intended’ for younger audiences, but maybe some adults could stand paying attention too?
While it won’t catch audiences by surprise this time, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part features a better story and avoids feeling like a warmed over rehash. Maybe it’s not entirely as original, but this sequel proves the future of the franchise is still pretty amazing.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.