- Movie Rating -

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)

| February 7, 2019

Four years ago, Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s The LEGO Movie arrived in multiplexes with a response of candy-colored shock and awe.  What might have been a soulless corporate shell of a movie (see: The Emoji Movie) turned out to be a brilliant bit of creative thinking that made nearly every other kid’s movie look like lazy pandering.  It was a bright, colorful and smart adventure that spun its construction block characters into dimensions and realms that only the best and most creative minds could conceive.  Even better, it arrived at an ending that didn’t go on autopilot.  It was a jolt out of the blue, a surprise conclusion that seemed as logical as it was surprising.

Now, five years later there’s a sequel, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, and while it is very entertaining, its only possible drawback is that it doesn’t land with the same measure of surprise.  That’s a difficult point to criticize because no sequel could ever match the initial impact of that first movie.  Yet, one cannot avoid the fact that the movie sails rather than soars.  Even the attempts to create the same ear-worm as “Everything Is Awesome” ring with a bit of familiarity.

The good news is that this is still miles better than any family film you’re likely to see this year (I have my doubts about Toy Story 4, stay tuned).  The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part takes place five years later.  Emmett (Chris Pratt), Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett), UniKitty (Alison Brie) and the rest of the gang are living in a world where everything is not so awesome.  Thanks to an invasion by Duplo blocks, the world has become a cruddy mess, a post-apocalyptic Mad Max-style wasteland overpopulated by cyborgs and sewer babies.

Emmett remains positive but that comes to a halt when his pals are kidnapped by aliens working on the orders of the Duplo Queen (voiced by Tiffany Haddish) who seems to have a disturbingly positive effect on everyone in her realm.  Meanwhile Emmett falls under the spell of the uber-macho Rex DangerVest (also Pratt) who inspires the kid to grow up and take a manly loner approach to everything, including rescuing his friends (or not).

I am purposely being mum about the details.  There are a great many surprises here, many of them visual and some are just knock-down hilarious (one early sight gag involving UniKitty had me in stitches).  That said, while the film lacks the surprise of the original, it is never short on creative touches.  The speed of the animation is what works, just like the original things pop in and out of the frame with amazing comic timing.  And since this is a LEGO movie, things can bend and twist and reform themselves into almost any shape one can imagine so the texture of the film is always in motion and so are the characters.

The masterstroke here is the character of the Duplo Queen, a series of ten to twelve over-sized blocks that twist and turn and rebuild themselves based on whatever mood the queen is in.  She’s really a sight to behold and a lot of fun to watch especially as it matches Haddish’s delivery.  She has a musical number early on that is nearly perfect.

The only fallout is the ending which won’t come as much of a surprise.  Where the original kept the end a total surprise, this one plays it as a running joke.  All through the movie we know where it is going and what is happening.  When it does, the conclusion has been so foretold that nothing really happens that we don’t expect.  Although there is a very nice message about the importance of playing together that is not only the theme of the ending but also plays nicely into the closing credits.

Calling the movie unoriginal (as some early reviews have) is short-sighted.  As I said, nothing can match the shock and awe of the original, so you kind of have to take this one as it plays.  It’s not as original as the first movie but on its own it’s better than any other family film you are likely to see this year.  It works because of it’s creative thinking, it’s music, it’s humor.  It’s a fun piece of filmmaking, one that fits together beautifully.


About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2019) View IMDB Filed in: Kids