While it includes “2” in the title, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is the fourth entry in the new series of theatrical Lego films. This series began with 2014’s surprise hit “The Lego Movie”, and continued with 2017’s Lego Batman and Lego Ninjago features. This year’s Lego Movie is the long overdue direct sequel to the 2014 film, and picks up right where it left off. Characters such as Emmet, Lucy, Batman and the rest of the supporting cast (with a few omissions) are back in the spotlight as their adventure becomes intergalactic. While the film’s comedy is not as consistent this time around, its story and themes come very close to matching the first Lego Movie’s cleverness and charm.
I don’t see enough credit given to how gorgeous these Lego Movies look. The first act of the film is what you’ve seen in the trailers; taking place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland that chiefly parodies Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s here that the craftsmanship put on display by the animators gets to really shine. I was impressed by the level of care and detail given to each of the character models, some of which have finger-prints and speckles of dust scattered around their face. It’s all artificial, of course, as these Lego Movies are almost entirely animated using CGI, but one could be easily fooled into thinking that this was a full blown stop-motion effort thanks to the frame-rate and the charming hand-made feel to the characters and the world they inhabit. One new character that stole the show for me was Queen Watevra Wanabi; a shape-shifting pile of lego bricks that constantly alters her physical appearance and has two outstanding musical numbers that help showcase her incredible character animation.
We’re also introduced to another major new character known as Rex Dangervest, who serves as a crystal-clear parody of actor Chris Pratt’s various action-centred roles over the last decade (most notably Jurassic World, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Magnificent Seven) I believe the film’s most powerful themes come into play through Emmet’s interactions with this character. The themes that this film tackles include gender roles, sibling rivalries, toxic masculinity, growing up and abandonment. Heck, one of the songs toward the end seemed to be expressing how many people feel about the state of our world right now, and yet the song finds a way to uplift without brushing off the struggles and pains as if they’re not there. it’s all done in a smart and thoughtful manner, and this is what helps set the Lego franchise apart from the rest of the family-friendly fare that’s currently out there.
Where the film falls short is in the humour, although this isn’t as damaging as it might sound. It’s to be expected that when a comedy throws a joke-per-second you won’t get a big laugh every time, but one of the remarkable things about the first Lego Movie was that nearly every joke was laugh-out-loud funny. Here, some of the jokes don’t have the same sense of timing, and maybe that has something to do with Phill Lord and Chris Miller only being co-writers on this project instead of taking on directing duties as they did with the first Lego Movie. That being said, when a joke lands, it’s hilarious, and once the characters set off on their adventure and reach the “Sis-Star System” it only gets funnier from there. I do worry though that some audiences may find that these Lego movies are simply too hyperactive and frantic. As much as I enjoy them, even l begin to feel exhausted by the end of most of them. With The Lego Movie 2 however, I never felt exhausted or overwhelmed, and I think that’s because this film takes time to slow down more often. The musical score itself (aside from the action scenes and musical numbers) is actually quite gentle and classical, leaving me wondering if it was meant to be somewhat of a homage to the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
I honestly think The Lego Movies are outdoing Pixar these days. While the films look and behave like visual sugar overload, they’ve each featured rich and emotional central themes that have been clearly resonating with audiences. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is not better than its predecessor, but it’s an enjoyable return to this world and I would even recommend seeing it in the theatre, if only to take in the remarkable animation on the big screen. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part overcomes most of its flaws and gets a recommendation from me.