The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.
When the first film came out, I was impressed with how they managed to make a film about arbitrary building blocks that could be anything. And it was not only a film that made sense, but one with surprising lessons built in and some spectacular visual effects. Now, this sort of magic happens every once in a while in animated movies and the sequels tend to not live up the greatness of the original (see: Wreck-It Ralph).
So was this sequel able to be truly special?
We once again follow Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt), as their once Metropolitan city now looks like a Mad Max film, in the wake of alien attacks. When a new threat arrives (General Mayhem, voiced by Brooklyn 99‘s Stephanie Beatriz), most of our heroes are swept on a journey to meet Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish) but Emmet must find his own way, allying himself with the adventurous Rex Dangervest (also voiced by Pratt). Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, and Charlie Day all reprise their original voices.
We also get much more ‘real life’ sequences featuring the brother / sister pairing of Jadon Sand and Brooklyn Prince, who’ve taken over their father’s (Will Ferrell) Lego sets.
Like the original, this is a witty film and has many excellent moments. You’ll laugh (hopefully) a lot. Chris Pratt and the back-and-forths between his own voices is pretty incredible, while everyone else shares their fair weight of comedy. Will Arnett’s Batman also steals the show, just as in the original, and builds on the momentum from his standalone Lego Batman film.
Visually, this movie also looks incredible, though it surprisingly doesn’t have the same sort of action setpieces that the original had. We get some stunning shots and some chase sequences, but nothing remotely like what the original film gave us, which were truly amazing sequences for any action movie, nonetheless an animated one.
What doesn’t work?
While this movie is good, it doesn’t succeed at all to the heights of the original. The focus on the real-life story here felt a bit obtrusive, taking away from the story we’re meant to be engaged with. And then there’s a twist towards the end that really can’t exist, if we’re assuming that these are all really the playsets of two children. So, I was confused and frustrated by the twist rather than intrigued.
I’m also on the fence about the addition of Tiffany Haddish. She wasn’t bad but they gave her character a handful of songs to sing, all which pale in comparison to the original Everything is Awesome, and you can tell they’re absolutely trying to recapture that magic.
The music isn’t as good, the movie wasn’t as funny, the action wasn’t as impressive, and the sentimental heart of the movie didn’t punch as hard as the reveal in the original film.
This is not a bad movie. When I give average reviews, it means average. Not bad. This movie has to live in the shadow of its incredible predecessor, and when most factors are not nearly as good, that means the score is going to suffer. You’ll still enjoy yourself here, no doubt, but I don’t think this sequel will the sort of long-lasting impact of the original.