Way back in 2014, The LEGO Movie took global audiences by surprise with a smart, funny and beautifully animated story about imagination and creativity. Five years later, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part tries its very best to hit the same heights as the original with an even brighter, more outrageous story, and thankfully, it does not disappoint.
We pick up at the end of the first film, with the Lego Duplo invaders coming to threaten the Lego world. Fast-forward five years and the remaining citizens, including Emmet (Chris Pratt), Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and Batman (Will Arnett), are living in Apocalypseburg following repeated attacks from alien invaders. After Emmet’s closest friends are kidnapped and taken to the Systar System, he must make the treacherous journey through space to save them, and to save their entire universe.
When it comes to family films, there is a fine line between a movie that appeals to the whole family and one that just keeps the kids occupied. Over the past few decades, we have been blessed with an array of intelligent animated films. From Toy Story to How to Train your Dragon, these movies have raised the bar extremely high when it comes to fun, endearing and meaningful films for all ages.
The LEGO Movie 2 is definitely a fun ride; jam-packed full of fast-paced action, colourful animation and a constant slew of jokes that pretty much all land, there is rarely a moment to breathe as the movie fills both your eardrums and eyeballs with joy, even more so than the first film did. That may sound like a negative, but when the world outside is filled with so much doom and gloom, it was such a pleasant respite to just give in to the delightfully bright Lego universe.
One thing that was expected from the sequel was outstanding animation, and boy did they deliver. They seem to have improved on the original animation, rendering the new Lego themes beautifully. The standout here has to be Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi (Tiffany Haddish), a shapeshifting character in near perpetual visual fluctuation, who truly embodies the nature of creative imagination that Lego offers. The way that she has been animated is brilliant, but then the same applies to all of the characters, including those that come from the Lego Friends theme, once again making fun of the limited movement available to Lego figures.
Even though this sequel does carry a lot over from the original, there is something about it that makes it feel like an entirely different movie. For starters, The Second Part is full to the brim with original songs, at points comings across as an all-out musical. Where the first film had the highly infectious ‘Everything is Awesome’, The LEGO Movie 2 has ‘Catchy Song’; a tune that takes the annoying, catchy and fun qualities from ‘Everything is Awesome’ and dials them up to 20. Not satisfied with just one catchy pop tune, the filmmakers decided to throw in another three or four, each of which does actually serve the plot whilst feeling surprisingly natural.
Aside from the earworms, there are a lot of jokes throughout the runtime, all of which are tightly written and well-executed thanks to the great voice cast. In current popular culture, it’s become almost a necessity for films of this nature to get meta, making fun of themselves and the wider film landscape as a whole. While this produces some of the best jokes in the movie, there are moments where The LEGO Movie 2 does venture into ‘too meta’ territory and ever so slightly grates with its not so subtle wink wink, nudge nudge. Nonetheless, it’s still hilarious and doesn’t really affect the overall film.
When trying to think of the pros and cons of The LEGO Movie 2, the only other ‘con’ that came to mind was a sense that the film is slightly more aimed at adults this time around. The structure of the movie alongside some of the references and humour did seem as if it may go straight over children’s heads. However, there is plenty in there for kids to adore and there is so much going on all at once that I can’t imagine anyone, young or old, getting bored at any point.
As with any great family film, there is a great message here as we not only explore new Lego worlds and themes but also see more into the ‘real world’. It builds very well on the first film’s optimistic message of creativity and teamwork whilst opening up so many opportunities for the future of the franchise.
There is so much to love for both kids and adults in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. It’s silly, hilarious and heartfelt from the get-go and is sure to bring out the inner child in even the most sour-faced individual. Although it may not quite hit the super highs of the first film, it’s so much fun that it doesn’t really matter. Having seen the film with two very excited children, I can confirm that The Lego Movie 2 is a definite hit. Just beware that it will also leave children pleading for every related Lego set that exists. Who am I kidding…you’ll want those Lego sets too.
Jordan Duguid | ★★★★½
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part comes to cinemas on Friday 8th February 2019
Animation, Family, Comedy | U | USA, 2019 | 8 February 2019 | Warner Bros. | Dir. Mike Mitchell | Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish