Back in 2013 when I first read that The Lego Movie was happening, I thought, “Really? A movie about Legos? Not even about a Lego property like Bionicles, just Legos in general?” I wrote it off almost instantly. Just another weird cash grab by Hollywood. Then I saw the trailer and was floored by the look of the film. Animation that simulated real Lego stop motion? The pieces having nicks and scratches as if they had really been played with? It immediately evoked memories of using an old digital camera to make my own stop motion videos as a kid, so I had to give it a chance. What I saw was one of the funniest and most unique animated films I had ever seen. So I had some high expectations when I went into The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.
The Second Part lives up to its name, jumping right in where the first left off, with the live-action Dad, Will Ferrell, playing with his son, Finn, and then informing him that now he’s gonna have to let his little sister play with the Legos. It then cuts back to the lovable cast of Bricksburg being invaded by the alien invaders of the planet Duplos! The film then fast-forwards, appropriately aligning the film’s timeline with real life. Due to the Duplos invasion, Bricksburg is now an apocalyptic wasteland aptly named Apocalypseburg, riffing on everything from Planet of the Apes to Mad Max. The film then follows Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) as he attempts to rescue Lucy/Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and all their friends from the Duplos invaders of the “Systar System.”
In case you couldn’t tell from “Apocalyseburg” or the “Systar System” (Get it?), the wit of duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller shines in full force in this film with their clever dialogue and story. From making fun of other Warner Bros. properties to even taken a dig at Marvel movies, they cast a wide net of references and jokes that will make kids and parents alike laugh out loud. Any writer that can seamlessly include a Batman joke by rhyming “Vicki Vale” with “Christian Bale” through song is a genius in my eyes.
The film definitely feels more like a “Part 2” rather than just a sequel. If you go into this film without seeing the first one, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice, as many of the character arcs, as well as some of the gags, are callbacks or continuations from the original. The first film went in a very meta direction, with the reveal that the majority of what the audience was seeing was all in the imagination of a young boy, and the sequel continues very heavily into its “meta” themes, bordering on Deadpool levels of self-awareness. The Lego Movie 2 is able to stand on its own plastic legs, but it’s much more enjoyable if viewed as a continuation of the original.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is, for all intents and purposes, a musical. Not like the first film, with it’s catchy song “Everything is Awesome,” which was just a pop song characters listened to in-universe, (although that song does play an important role in the film; like I said this film is very self-aware) but an actual musical with musical numbers sung by the characters to convey emotions and story information. While it may seem random at first, it all fits in perfectly within the story and universe Lord and Miller have created. If you don’t usually pay attention to things like that, no worries, they’re still funny, catchy tunes that’ll be stuck in your head for the next week.
The cast is just as outstanding as it was in the first movie, with returning characters like Will Arnett’s Lego Batman and Allison Brie’s Unikitty with even obscure side characters returning like Channing Tatum’s Superman and Jonah Hill’s Green Lantern. Newcomers Tiffany Haddish as Queen Watevra Wa’nabi and Stephanie Beatriz’s General Mayhem make great additions to the ensemble and Chris Pratt and Elizabeth Banks shine as always as Emmet and Wildstyle.The Lego Movie 2 is able to stand on its own plastic legs, but it’s much more enjoyable if viewed as a continuation of the original.
While I love the cast, story, and jokes of this film, by far the aspect I love most about The Lego Movie 2 is the message the movie conveys. The lessons the characters learn in this movie are ones that I believe any growing child should learn. Remaining true to one’s self despite what others think, as well as themes of family that will ring true for anyone who has siblings. These themes improve upon those presented in the first as if it were page two of the same lesson plan. Where the message conveyed from the first film is perfect for a child of eight, the message of the second film is perfect for one who is thirteen. Which further exemplifies how exceptional the writing of the films are considering they take place within the imagination of the same boy growing up over the span of five years.