The first “LEGO Movie” proved to all the doubters out there that basing a film on a toy does not automatically mean that what is being put on screen has to be a disappointment. Now, after a spinoff movie starring LEGO Batman (Will Arnett), the main franchise is back and everything is still awesome.
Okay, honestly, everything is not awesome for the characters within the movie – Emmett (Chris Pratt), Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), and everyone else in their world has been dealing an ongoing apocalypse as anything they build that is bright and beautiful is destroyed by evil DUPLOs commanded by Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish). This has to do with the brother and sister in the real world fighting over the LEGOs now that they’re allowed to play with them.
This is also the basic brilliance of the way the franchise is established – wacky, weird, wonderful things can happen because the LEGOs are toys that are being played with by children using their imagination. Non-sequiturs abound. Jokes abound. Nothing is off-limits.
Once again written by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, who have turned the directing reins over to Mike Mitchell for the sequel, “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” really does feel like the sort of things kids would dream up. Whether it’s talk of time travel and it being easier to just accept its inconsistencies within movies or the impossibility of getting Marvel LEGO figures to appear alongside DC ones, the references work perfectly when one understands the external manipulations that are taking place on the figures.
This is a movie that begs to be seen two or three times simply to be able to get all the small mentions and various jokes that you may miss the first time out. Amazingly, this isn’t a movie where I would say “if you don’t like the first joke, don’t worry, there’s another five or six right around the corner,” because you will like the first joke. You will find it funny and start thinking about it and very well may miss the next few, which you also would have liked, because you’re still on the first one.
Impressively, “The LEGO Movie 2” also manages to have a soft and gooey center as the battle between the kids, necessarily, has to be worked out before the credits roll. And, while that is a given, the way in which the LEGO and DUPLO characters have their stories play out is largely unpredictable while remaining perfect.
The visuals are just as wonderful as they were in the first film, deftly mixing high- and low-tech moments in order to create something that feels exactly like it is LEGO minifigs that are coming to life, with all the limitations such figures have.
Finally, this movie is full of great songs, including updates to “Everything is Awesome,” and a truly spectacular piece, “Super Cool,” that runs over the end credits (from Beck with additional lyrics by The Lonely Island). The one big miss is “Catchy Song,” the point of which, as the song says, is to get stuck inside your head. Certainly someone’s idea of a joke (Jon Lajoie wrote it and is credited with original songs for the film), it is more annoying than funny.
But, all considered, one miss in the whole affair is still a pretty amazing batting average. “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” is one of those rare sequels that lives up to the promise of the original and which keeps you wanting to come back for more. Hopefully whatever is produced in the franchise down the line maintains the quality that we have seen so far.
photo credit: Warner Bros.