After two spin-offs, our favorite construction-worker-turned-hero, Emmet, is returning to the big screen in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. Set five years after the events of the first film, the story follows Emmett as he sets out to rescue Lucy and the gang from a new threat and stop the oncoming apocalypse.
Believe it or not, there is a lot going on in this story, especially for a film aimed at a younger audience. Warner Animation Group is quickly moving its way up the chain in terms of making intelligent and thought-provoking animated fare for families. That niche was previously reserved for Disney-Pixar, but that is no longer the case.
Although the core of the narrative is a hero’s journey tale, it manages to feel mostly unpredictable. There are quite a few twists in the film that are rather unexpected. Of course, there are a few beats that can be called early on because of casting decisions or simply because you can tell that is the direction in which the story is going, but it is easy to be drawn into the world nonetheless.
It was great to see the stories of these characters continue. Someone who hasn’t seen the prior film may not be able to get absorbed as easily because some of the returning supporting characters, like Batman, Benny, MetalBeard, and Unikitty, don’t have as much development in this entry, but the two main characters, Emmet and Lucy, continue to grow. The new characters are interesting, particularly General Mayhem.
The humor in the film takes many forms, as it did in the first film. That being said, the style of this film is less varied and entertaining. There is plenty of silly slapstick humor that will appeal mostly to younger audiences. The film also uses quite a few puns, which you will either love or hate, depending on your tastes. Perhaps most funny are the subtler pop culture references, which, although not in abundance, will get the biggest laughs from adults. The funniest line in the film is one involving Abraham Lincoln.
This film assembled a huge group of comedians for its voice cast, and for the most part, benefits from it. Chris Pratt is great at the lead, bringing his goofy charm to the character. Highlights in the supporting cast include Charlie Day, Nick Offerman, and Will Arnett. That being said, Tiffany Haddish, a new addition to the ensemble, was entirely miscast. She isn’t funny, and her voice sticks out. She would have been better fit for a different role.
The animation of the film is great. There is a lot of detail in the facial expressions that the characters have, making them more sympathetic. The level of detail in the sets is also thoroughly impressive. The post-apocalyptic setting in the beginning of the film, an obvious homage to Mad Max, is beautifully-done.
The biggest disappointment with this film is its music. Although it is an annoying earworm, you have to admit that “Everything is Awesome” from the original film has a great message and is catchy. The music from this film is much more forgettable. There are a few variations on “Everything is Awesome”, a few songs from the new character Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (not memorable at all, and not particularly well-sung), and a song misleadingly called “Catchy Song”. Although it is a commentary on the catchiness of “Everything is Awesome”, it just isn’t as unique or meaningful as the song at which it pokes fun.
Overall, even though it isn’t quite as memorable as the original, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part has a great story and enough laughs to make it far better than most of the other studio-produced animated films that come out today.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part opens in theaters February 8.