Review: Colorful 'Lego Movie 2' filled with steady laughs, not as awesome as the first
Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Everything was awesome in 2014’s surprise hit “The Lego Movie” the full-length film centered around the colorful bricks that was meta, witty, and one of the best films of that year. Combining stop-motion style animation to yield a cool aesthetic, the film taught children a lesson in sharing, and friendship. It had an obnoxious cinematic cross-over as the film featured the likes of: Batman, Green Lantern, Abraham Lincoln, Voldemort and Gandalf to name a few. But the directing duo of Phil Lord and Chris Miller knew the type of film they wanted to make, and in the time since its release their movie has become a moderate phenomenon.
It’s also given us two spin-offs in the form of “The Lego Batman Movie” and “The Lego Ninjago Movie” - all hilarious in their own hypercaffeinated ways. Which brings us to the cleverly titled: “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” - the not as “awesome” follow-up to its 2014 predecessor, but director Mike Mitchell (“Trolls”) introduces a slew of new characters, a couple of soon-to-be catchy songs (one such song is called “Catchy Song” performed by Dillon Francis and T-Pain) and solid belly laughs to give this early year movie slump a much needed boost.
While “The Lego Movie” was swell in its stylized animation and superhero cameos galore, the one brick standing at the center of the narrative was Emmet (perfectly voiced by then rising star Chris Pratt) - an everyday blue-collar construction worker who loved the world, and his surroundings. He lived in the fictional utopia known as Bricksburg and sang various covers and renditions of the number one song on every walking Lego’s playlist: “Everything is Awesome!” He was also “the chosen one” and tasked with becoming a master builder, even if that meant only creating a double-decker couch.
He’s front and center again as “The Second Part” literally picks up the pieces in the aftermath of “The Lego Movie,” jumping back into action where a weird squad of hostel building blocks have come to destroy Bricksburg, forcing Emmet and his squad - among them: Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Spaceship-Man Benny (Charlie Day), the rascally Pirate (Nick Offerman) and, of course, Batman (Will Arnett - continuing to be the hero we all deserve) - to try and fend them off. When that doesn’t work, it sends the community in panic, and fast forwards five-years into the future where the plot mirrors the dystopian world of “Mad Max” with the new city dubbed “Apocalypse-Burg” and it couldn't be funnier.
Now everyone lives in ruins, but Emmet is still making the best of the situation, despite the plot threading the same line as “The Lego Movie,” he’s still the happy-go-lucky worker who's the most harmless thing on the planet. Except, he doesn’t say “Everything is Awesome!” - he states “Everything WAS Awesome!” These earlier sequences are a touch darker than I was expecting, however, the introduction of Tiffany Haddish’s spunky Queen - who lives on Planet Sparkles and can morph into whatever the situation demands - livens up the tone.
Even more so in the form of scavenger Rex Dangervest (also voiced by Pratt) who is like a cross between Indiana Jones and Kurt Russell from “Big Trouble in Little China” and tag teams with Emmet to track down his friends who’ve been kidnapped for the Queen’s silly motives on Sparkles (which involve a wedding, jazzed-up Batman suits, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg).
Most of “The Lego Movie 2” is in good spirits, although, and it’s hard to put my finger on it, something is missing. Whether that be the spark of ingenuity or craftsmanship that made “The Lego Movie” well, awesome, “The Second Part” suffers from oversaturation. If not for “Lego Batman” or “Lego Ninjago” - the need for a sequel would feel warranted. Granted, “The Second Part” is still, far and away, the best kid offering we will probably get until the summertime, and for that it’s worth a look, even if “Lego Movie 2” offers less than what came before.