After roughly 5 years of waiting, The Lego Movie 2 is here, but does it live up to the original film?
In 2014 Warner Brother released The Lego Movie, a film which brought the popular toy sets to life. No one knew what to expect from the film, but what we got was a fantastic family–friendly comedy that was one of the best films released that year. After the success of The Lego Movie, WB quickly greenlit a sequel and two spinoff films, The Lego Batman Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie. While those films followed formulas similar to the first Lego film (at times too similar), The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part expands on the original film in all the best ways. The result of which is a sequel that is not only as good as the original, but better.
Directed by Mike Mittchell (Trolls) with a script by Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Matthew Fogel, and Raphael Bob-Waksberg, The Lego Movie 2 picks up immediately where the first film left off. It steps back a minute or two into the original film to remind us that the world of Bricksburg was created by Finn (Jadon Sand) and his Dad (Will Ferrell), then moves into the invasion of the Duplo Legos. After Emmet (Chris Pratt) attempts to welcome the Duplo creatures with a large heart made of Legos, they quickly go on a rampage through Bricksburg, destroying everything in the city. The team of heroes from the first film, Emmet, Wyldstyle/Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett), Unikitty (Alison Brie), MetalBeard (Nick Offerman), and Benny (Charlie Day), attempt to stop the Duplos, but they’re too big and powerful.
The city falls, and over the five years that follow, Bricksburg becomes a Mad Max style post-apocalyptic wasteland. Despite the darkness that has enveloped the city and its inhabitants, Emmet is still his bright and cheerful self. Lucy tells Emmet that he needs to be tougher, as their world now needs them to be rough warriors that can keep everyone safe. But Emmet can’t seem to shake his softer side, and in the end, it leads to the aliens finding and infiltrating the extensive Batcave that everyone goes to for shelter. Lucy and the rest of the main group are soon kidnapped by General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz) and taken to the Sistar System, where they meet Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Hadish). Emmet then embarks on a one–man rescue mission to save his friends and prevent a new nightmare prophecy from taking shape.
The film is full of every single thing that has made the previous Lego films great. The animation is fantastic from beginning to end. The voice cast is superb, with the additions of Beatriz and Hadish as well as Richard Ayoade as an ice cream cone that serves Queen Watervra Wa’Nabi and Ben Schwartz as a banana that can’t stop slipping on its own peel. Pratt also does double duty as Rex Dangervest, a “galaxy-defending, archaeologist, cowboy, raptor trainer” that helps Emmet on his mission to save his friends. The music is also on point, with Mark Mothersbaugh returning to score the film and new songs by actor/comedian/musician Jon Lajoie (The League). But the biggest point in the film’s favor is how it expands on the original story and has a message that is full of heart and wisdom.
There are multiple lessons to be had from the new film, but the two most important ones revolve around the idea that we have to be true to who we truly are, and in doing so, need to acknowledge our past. Emmet’s biggest struggle throughout the film (which is shared with a few other characters) is his determination to become a harder and tougher version of himself and that he can’t be what Lucy and the world around him needs him to be without sacrificing the things that make him special.
The reason Emmet was able to be a hero in the first film is because he looked at the world differently than everyone else. At times he did fall in line with everyone else in Bricksburg as they were trained to trust Lord/President Business (Ferrell), but even then, he was an outcast. When he went to the master builders, they saw him as nothing more than another mindless drone in the crowd. But he had an optimism shining from within that helped save the world, and to say “the world has become a worse place so we have to become harder people” isn’t always right. There are times where we do need to fight or we need to be willing to do things that aren’t easy or may seem impossible, but in the end, it’s important that we stick to our values and what makes us who we are. If we sacrifice who we are to try to change things for the better, then what’s the point of having the better world?
The greatest element of the first Lego Movie was that it was a family-friendly film that wasn’t afraid to ask deep questions about who we are, what our place is in the universe, and how we work to make the world a better place. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part continues that conversation by asking who we decide to be when a battle is over but the war rages on? It also asks us to look at how we view people on the opposite side of things, and in turn, how our prejudice can blind us to what’s right and wrong. The film isn’t afraid to say, “Sometimes you make the wrong choice, but you have to work hard to fix it.” In doing so, it creates a story that is much more important than just selling toys.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part hits theaters on Friday February 8th.
Written by Alex Lancaster
(Alex is a life long film fan, and has dedicated his life to watching, making and obsessing over films. His favorite film is Big Fish, and he despises Avatar. He has a 4 year old son. And a bad habit of saying more than he needs to. Follow @alex5348 on Twitter)