Everything is awesome. Everything is not awesome. A ‘Catchy Song’ is going to get stuck inside your head.
If only the newly-released Lego Movie 2 had kept it that simple. Instead, The Lego Movie 2 – The Second Part delivered a mishmash of entertainment that heavily relied on references to other material. Between recapping aspects of the first movie, dipping in and out of animation (as behind-the-scenes insight into how humans contributed to the Lego Universe conflict), and the random pop-culture references – the fundamental story and character development for Lego 2 was sorely lacking.
Confused? So was I during most of the movie. I’ll break it down:
Everything is Awesome:
The beginning of the film picks up where there the original Lego Movie left off. Everything is seemingly awesome in Bricksburg as the audience reconnects with cheerful Emmet (Chris Pratt), and is reminded of the trademark Oscar-nominated theme song from 2014: “Everything is Awesome.” Before long, however, cracks in the utopic brickwork begin to reveal themselves. The loveable but vapid narcissist Batman (Will Arnett) is lonely and unfulfilled. Emmet’s girlfriend Lucy (Elizabeth Banks) is surly and has concluded that things are decidedly not awesome due to the ongoing threat of attack from the army of Duplo Invaders. Thanks to Emmet’s dream-like premonitions that foreshadow the conflict to come, the audience is clued into the forthcoming “Our-Mom-Ageddon”.
Everything is not Awesome:
Lucy and Co. are kidnapped by Duplo Invaders and what follows is a hazy cornucopia of brainwashing, dazzling action, flashy animation, and a stellar soundtrack. The good guys might be bad guys and someone is getting tricked into marriage and no one can be trusted. [Spoiler Alert] Enter Bruce Willis (again) this time in an air duct.
This stage of the movie offers the most entertainment value as the audience meets Rex Dangervest the chiseled jaw ‘future’ Emmet, and Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish) who steals the show as far as I am concerned – that is, if you don’t get distracted by the cleverness of her name.
A ‘Catchy Song’ is going to get stuck inside your head:
Of course, in the cinematic model applicable to each and every children’s movie, all’s well that ends well. It turns out that there are no ‘bad guys’ or ‘good guys.’ Everyone is misunderstood and afraid and stuck in their ways to the detriment of their collective happily ever afters. Fade to the ‘real world’ where Our-Mom-Ageddon is Maya Rudolf in human form as a frazzled mom who banishes all Legos and Duplos following multiple threats to ever-bickering siblings.
Despite having asked at least four or five times during the movie whether it was “almost over,” my six-year-old co-reviewer assessed the film with a flat: “It was good.”
Upon further pressing about her favorite part, I was unwittingly met with a much more enthusiastic response, namely her rendition of “The Catchy Song” on loop. Touché.
My adult companion was more discerning and specifically called out having “loved” the Batman movies and Bruce Willis references. But even as a fan of the film, she reasoned it was likely that my six-year-old was restless because the dialogue and humor were “over her head” in this film. I couldn’t agree more.
Most simply, The Lego Movie 2 – The Second Part, serves its purpose as an animated kids’ movie in the February cinematic season of… zero other options. Having endured the initial disappointment and confusion in the weak plot, I wonder if I might appreciate the clever writing and pop-culture references if I were to see the film again. Maybe. But I can’t help but be reminded of the cliché: “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” So, unless the rainy season persists and screen time prevails – I’ll pass. Thankfully, there’s always another movie on the horizon. I’m holding out for Toy Story 4. That’s showbiz, baby.
Director: Mike Mitchell
Run Time: 106 minutes
Rated: PG for some rude humor