“The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” stars Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Tiffany Haddish, Will Arnett, Stephanie Beatriz, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, and Nick Offerman. Releasing on February 8, 2019, the film has Emmet traveling to the Systar System to rescue his friends.
The film is directed by Mike Mitchell, who also directed films such as “Sky High”, “Shrek Forever After”, and “Trolls”, and it is a sequel to the 2014 animated film, “The Lego Movie”. It’s been five years since the Lego brand first made its way to the big screen and surprised both critics and audiences alike (myself included). The success of “The Lego Movie” paved the way for more Lego-based films to be released in theaters as well as more animated films that are based on different toy brands, such as “Trolls” and the upcoming “UglyDolls” film. This animated sequel that I’ll be talking about today serves as the fourth film in the “Lego Movie” franchise after attempting to expand the so-called “Lego Cinematic Universe” with “Lego Batman” and “Lego Ninjago”, with the latter being the less successful of the four. If you’re wondering how I was able to see it a couple of weeks early, I was able to attend a public advanced screening of the film courtesy of Warner Brothers, a similar tactic that I used when I reviewed “Bumblebee” early last month. So, for the sake of those who decided to wait until its official release, this will be my non-spoiler review.
Taking place five years after the events of “The Lego Movie”, “The Second Part” finds the main characters in a rough situation after the Duplo invaders turned their home into a bleak wasteland. Everyone and everything has been filled with elements that came straight out of a “Mad Max” film, all except Emmet Brickowski (Pratt), who still thinks that everything is awesome. When an intergalactic general named Sweet Mayhem (Beatriz) shows up and captures his friends, including his girlfriend Lucy (Banks), Emmet will have to rely on his Master Builder skills once again to travel to the outer reaches of space to rescue them from a shape-shifting alien queen (Haddish). Along the way, he teams up with Rex Dangervest (also voiced by Pratt), who is practically every famous Pratt character rolled into one Lego figurine. The Lego films are known to be classified as kid-friendly acid trips that are energetic, humorous, and colorful, and “The Second Part” is no exception. Featuring a well-paced structure that’s a bit similar to “The Lego Movie”, the film is an entertaining and chuckle-worthy cosmic adventure that not only expresses the creative minds of those who grew up with the Lego brand, but also offers some well-portrayed messages that many Lego fans young and old can relate to. Even though its storytelling fell a bit short at being as effective as its themes, it was able to provide enough meta-humor and twists to build its way past its predictability. The main actors once again delivered some very impressive voice work, especially Chris Pratt as both Emmet and Rex Dangervest and Elizabeth Banks as Lucy. Will Arnett is also back as Batman and, while he had some enjoyable moments here and there, I thought his humor in this film didn’t quite live up to his hilarious measures compared to his humor in “The Lego Movie” and “The Lego Batman Movie”. Tiffany Haddish was also a delight as Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi, one of the new characters in the film. It sounded like she was having a good time bringing this character to life onscreen, especially during her musical numbers. If you liked Haddish in her other movies, this one will suit you quite nicely. Another element I would like to mention is the animation. Similar to the other Lego movies, the animation style in “The Second Part” represented what a person imagines when they play with their own Lego toys in terms of how the figurines move and its colorful backgrounds, and it was just as awe-inspiring as the Systar System. The addition of the different types of Lego toys, such as General Sweet Mayhem, helped the film gain a bit more variety with the character designs and movements. Despite the fact that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller didn’t return to the director’s chair for the sequel, I can tell that their fingerprints are on it when it comes to their screenplay. The film featured a couple of plot twists that I wouldn’t explain because spoilers as well as some witty meta-jokes that will hit people’s funny bones in all the right ways. A bit overdone at times, but still hilarious. I think the one that got me the most was an original song that could rival the first film’s “Everything is Awesome” and “Let It Go” from “Frozen” as the most catchiest song in animation history. It’s something that you have to hear to believe.
Overall, “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” wasn’t able to reach its creative standards compared to the first film, but it’s still an amusing and thoughtful follow-up to the family-friendly franchise. Thanks to its solid voice cast, its vibrant and energetic animation, and a screenplay that’s well-crafted and comical, the film will give you another reason to dust off your old Lego collection. It might not win any awards for best animated film of 2019, but as the first major animated film of the new year, this is a strong start for the genre. Special thanks to Warner Brothers for hosting the one-day preview event for the film reviewers and the general public.