It has been five years since Taco Tuesday and Bricksburg is in ruins. Now a dystopian Mad Max style world, the survivors adapt to their harsh conditions except Emmet (Chris Pratt). Everything is still so wonderfully awesome and positive for The Master Builder; much to the frustration of his friends; especially Lucy (Elizabeth Banks). However, when Duplo invaders from beyond the stars kidnap Lucy, Batman and all of Emmet’s closest friends, The Master Builder is determined to provide his doubters wrong again and he might just do it with the help of a charismatic action tough guy known as Rex Dangervest.
Lego Movies, as a franchise, are hitting a decent stride. The original outing for The Lego Movie was unexpectedly a solid family film that worked with both young and old. Following that success, we’ve had the light surge of spin off movies under the Lego Movie brand. Some were entertaining (The Lego Batman Movie) and some were utterly dull and forgettable (The Lego Ninjago Movie). I’ll be honest, going into viewing Lego Movie 2, I had zero expectations. There was something about the trailers or the concept that just didn’t hook me. Honestly, it felt we could be getting a lazy story which is something a lot of animated sequels are guilty of in the cinematic world. Even worse, this film’s early messages were telling me that the Lego novelty had finally worn off.
Thankfully, I’m happy to say that The Lego Movie 2 was a delight and just as entertaining as its original outing.
The film doesn’t wait around to get going; which I think was a bit of problem with the first film. Previously, the story slowly built around Emmet’s attempt to be the Master Builder and it became very stop-start in nature. For Lego Movie 2, there’s very little time between catching up with our returning characters and the arrival of General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz) from the stars. Once Mayhem has captured our lovable side characters, the film just goes for it.
As usual, with a Phil Lord and Chris Miller penned script, the humour hits satisfyingly well. As expected, there’s a good mix of standard slapstick comedic moments for the kids and the added joy of meta jokes for the adults. The meta once again spanning franchises like DC, pop music and even – for some brief laugh out loud moments – action icons.
Just like the original, the voice cast do their part with everyone returning to their roles. Chris Pratt does a commendable double duty performance as Emmet and Rex. The dynamic interestingly gives us the “what-if” of what happens when the sum of all of Pratt’s lovable naive characters (think Andy from Parks and Rec) meets the sum of all of Pratt’s rugged hero characters (a big nod and an army of raptors, literally, from Jurassic World).
Music played a good part of the first Lego Movie’s success; just look at Everything is Awesome. Funnily enough, Everything is Awesome returns in different forms as a nice nod to the original. But the sequel gives us a few new imaginative songs including one that is virtually on the same level as catchy as the original movie’s standout. Suffice to say, revealing it spoils a great sequence featuring Lucy. Unsurprisingly, a few of these have now been loaded onto the Bunkazilla music library.
If there are faults to be found in this outing, you could look to the lack of surprises. I don’t mean the cameos, there are plenty of them as usual and they’re always delightful but don’t actually impact on the story. Main story line surprises are where I’m focused here. I think one of the trump cards the first Lego Movie played was the fact that Emmet’s story was being played out by a strict father and his imaginative son. It came from nowhere and was a pleasing and genuine twist to proceedings. That trump card is gone from Lego Movie 2.
If you’ve watched the first Lego Movie, you’re now guessing where the live action element of the story is going and how it all plays into the animated proceedings. That’s not to say it’s a terrible thing, the live action elements once again focus on the family sentiment about coming together – that’s a good thing.
Another slight knock against Lego Movie 2 is perhaps one fantastical plot development in Act 3 to give reason to our ultimate antagonist’s goal. While unsurprising, it’s interesting, yet still a bit of convoluted revelation for the sake of the fantastical nods, winks and fairly quick laughs. Sure, it’s a funny moment but when you think about the plot – it’s hard to see how this development actually works. I’m trying not to over analyse it too much – it doesn’t damage the film overall.
Ultimately, the Lego Movie 2 succeeds comfortably as a very solid sequel that continues on where we left off. Considerably feeling more tighter in its pacing, new laughs for young and new audiences, reliable voice acting and a new medley of ridiculous and “catchy” songs, The Lego Movie 2 continues to make this unique film universe entertaining.
The Lego Movie 2 is now on general cinema release.