I think people underestimate how much the first Lego Movie changed how we see popular cinema. What seemed like a large-scale advertisement for Lego surprised us all when it turned out to be an incredibly inventive film with something to say about imagination versus order. More importantly, it reflected the childlike feeling of playing with Lego. That’s why when films seem like it would be riddled with product placements, I take it with a pinch of salt. Now the audience has caught up with what The Lego Movie is all about, the question is can it replicate the same success? You be happy to know it can, but just about.
What I admired more than anything in The Lego Movie 2 is how much energy the film has. I felt this sequel wanted to aim more towards kids than the family audience and I know that because there is a lot of moving about embedded in the narrative. we’re always moving from one location to the other, there isn’t a moment where we spend a huge amount of time in one place. I guarantee if you were to look at the script, there would be tons of individual locations. This push to make the narrative go on reduces the chance of the film grinding to a halt which can’t happen in a film targeted to kids.
What elevated The Lego Movie from being just another animated film to teetering on genius is that the film is taking place in the midst of a family dispute between an imaginative son and a perfectionist father. The Lego Movie 2 follows this up by having the world be influenced by a sibling rivalry. Even though this step was hinted in the last film, the film makes this transition so naturally and easy to understand. Trying to explain how the world of The Lego Movie 2 works with words would be downright confusing but when it is shown, it ticks most boxes. You know how the world is set up, you know the rules and when you get to the realization that everything that happens is because of a brother and sister fighting, it just clicks and it’s a wondrous thing to behold.
It’s not just the impressive integration of live action sequences that are impressive, The Lego Movie 2’s animation is just as polished and stylistic as its predecessor. I also think the stop motion look has received an upgrade since last time, there is a bigger scope for it to stand out in complex scenery like the Mad Max-inspired world we begin the film in.
Emmet (Chris Pratt) and Lucy (Elizabeth Banks) are still fantastic characters you can easily draw yourself to, the plethora of additional characters are still exactly as you remember them, Batman is still keeping up his brooding personality, Unikitty is much more rageful this time but adorable and my favourite side character Benny still has an addictive desire for spaceships, sorry SPACESHIP! (that guy needs to find a new hobby). The Lego Movie 2 introduces to us new characters whose personalities are fun all the way through, take the films new “villain” Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish), she is a great example of characters being self-aware of their own roles in the film and can make fun of it. We’re also introduced to tough guy Rex Dangervest (also Chris Pratt), who is the much cooler, tougher person Emmet wants to be like to impress Lucy. This character gives a much need boost to the cool tone The Lego Movie 2 is going for.
That’s the awesome covered, let’s move on to the not-so-awesome. I expected The Lego Movie 2’s humour to be pop culture influenced, when you have a company that could even Disney jealous with all the rights to pop culture franchises they own, how can you not include these kinds of jokes? However, I think has ridden this particular train a little too long, now this isn’t to say that the jokes aren’t funny, but instead saying that maybe there is a little too much dependence on the jokes being the source of laughter rather than the scenes themselves.
The film is a lot more musical than I had anticipated. The film already had “Everything is Awesome” which in itself is already a catchy tune, but I never knew we needed more songs, one of which is literally called “Catchy Song”. Now I can’t say that the film is more upbeat with these new songs, but I think this is a bit too much. For a film that wants to balance heart with a kid-friendly tone, with every new addition it has to tip one way or the other, and unfortunately some of the heart is lost which is greatly disappointing.
In terms of being a successor, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is very worthy. Everything that impressed you from the last film is still going to impress you. However, the lean towards kid entertainment rather than family entertainment may not have been a wise move. A lot of films since The Lego Movie has tried to replicate the same success, and almost all of these films have missed the mark. The Lego Movie 2 is interestingly imaginative, but at the same time, it’s trying to catch up with its own runaway success.