The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part | Mike Mitchell | February 8, 2019
It’s hard to imagine now but there was a time when the concept of animated movies built around Legos sounded like a nonsensical idea that was doomed to fail. Then The Lego Movie came out in 2014 and quieted all the haters and put them in their place with a hilariously smart animated film that became so beloved that the internet was ready to riot when the film was unjustly not even nominated for Best Animated Film at the Oscars (that one still stings).
We have received two more films since then (the equally well acclaimed The Lego Batman Movie and slightly less so The Lego Ninjago Movie) all leading up to The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, the highly anticipated proper sequel to the original that started it all.
Things pick up five years following the first film, alien invaders have infiltrated Bricksburg, destroying their way of life and turning the city into a post-apocalyptic world known as Apocalypseburg that mirrors both Mad Max: Fury Road and Blade Runner 2049 – and what do you know, both are Warner Bros. Pictures properties as well.
Our loveable returning protagonist Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) is still as jolly and naive as ever, almost clueless to the gloom and doom that the rest of their world has adapted to. He gets a brutal wake-up call when a General Sweet Mayhem (Brooklyn 99‘s Stephanie Beatriz) arrives on a spaceship and is tasked with delivering five of their strongest people to Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi (Tiffany Haddish), the alien queen of the Systar System.
Emmet is not one of the chosen few, with General Mayhem opting to capture Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett), Princess Unikitty (Alison Brie), Benny (Charlie Day), and Metalbeard (Nick Offerman) instead. Once again, Emmet must emerge a hero and save the day. He gets a little help from a new character named Rex Dangervest (also voiced by Pratt) with many meta hints that the character is based on the film career of Pratt so far, mixing elements of his characters from the Guardians of The Galaxy and Jurassic World franchises.
The plotting is fine and provides for some colorful new worlds and exploration into this ever-expanding Lego Universe but it’s also probably the least interesting part of the film. While the story does lag in some parts of the middle act, there are enough energetic moments bursting with creativity and joy, even if they are mostly based on brand references.
This time around, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller only serve as screenwriters, with Mike Mitchell stepping into the director’s chair. Lord and Miller’s fingerprints are all over the film with their hyper-active meta humor, full of witty left-field jokes and references upon references. Mitchell does a fine job, but even though Lord and Miller are directing and executive producing, this still feels very much like their film. They are, in essence, the master builders, if you will.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part‘s plot doesn’t go to exciting new heights, which isn’t a big deal when you’re gifted with consistently hilarious and charming material from these characters. But where the film brings it all home is during the connective scenes to the real world characters, picking up five years later with the humans that house and play with these toys. The film ties back to them in a nice way that delivers a familiar yet heartwarming message that is perfect for the target audience that these films are really for. Not that there aren’t a fair share of moments for adults with the kid in them alive and well, but its message is one that has always been an important one, yet it feels even more essential today when our own leader is teaching them the exact opposite of how to behave.
While The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part doesn’t quite match the consistent highs of the first, there’s enough of the brand’s winning formula still there mixed with some positive messages that result in yet another film perfectly suited for master builders of all ages.