When The LEGO Movie came out in 2014 it took everyone by surprise. Following the announcement, society let out a huge collective groan. A movie about toy blocks seemed like a long form commercial designed to hypnotize kids and torture their parents. To the surprise of pretty much everyone, the movie ended up being fantastic. It was everything that the average animated movie wasn’t: smart, vibrant, and even a bit emotional. People were livid when it lost out on an Oscar nomination the next year. It was also announced that audiences would have to wait four years for the sequel to be released. Four years for a sequel seems like an eternity in a world where we get three Marvel movies a year.
Well, it’s been four years and I have finally seen The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. I’m happy to report that it was worth every second of waiting.
The LEGO Movie 2 picks up from the exact moment that the first film ended on. Our main characters are celebrating after saving the world from Lord Business when aliens land in front of them, proclaiming that they will destroy their planet. Emmett tries to reason with the aliens but the aliens ignore his attempt to make peace. Emmett and the surrounding characters try to fight off the aliens to no avail. After five years of fighting and chaos, Bricksburg becomes Apocypseburg, a Mad Max: Fury Road style dystopia. The entire LEGO world is darker and broodier (Wyldstyle loves brooding). Everyone except for one special person, The Special himself – Emmett.
Emmett is still his over exuberant self, no matter how dire the circumstances. He still jams to “Everything is Awesome” no matter how many times Wyldstyle tells him that everything is in fact not. He tries to sway her into being optimistic by building a nice house for them to move into. Though moved by his actions, Wyldstyle is sure the house will attract unwanted attention. This is when an alien ship flies in and starts trying to capture them. Inside of the ship, General Sweet Mayhem announces that she is their to talk to their fiercest leader, and Batman steps in for that position. She ends up kidnapping Batman, Wyldstyle, Unikitty, and more of the gang from the first film. She takes them to the Systar System, built by the younger sister of the little boy who appeared at the end of the first film.
One of the best things that this movie showcases is sibling dynamics and how little boys and girls play together. It immediately took me back to how I played with others as a child. The younger sibling made her LEGOs insanely overpowered which consistently annoyed her older brother’s toys. This is so true to life, I always got mad at my younger siblings for not following rules while playing. Seeing this dynamic played out from the perspective of the toys was a blast.
This film is absolutely hysterical from start to finish. The humor ranges from simple to Batman referencing DC’s real life struggles to get a new Batman film made. It’s self-referential and witty, I never felt like I was too old to be seeing this film. There’s also great running gags, like everyone referring to their world as “heckish”, to which I giggled every time. And their are some really funny new songs, particularly and R&B style tune performed by Tiffany Haddish’s Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi. All of the jokes hit surprisingly well, I can’t think of one that didn’t land.
The visuals are also back in full force in this sequel. This film is a neon rainbow explosion mixed with candy a lot of glitter. If that doesn’t describe it well, I truly don’t know what can. Every frame makes you feel like this film is in an detailed stop motion LEGO world. I can only imagine the intricate animation is why this film took four years to make. There’s also the addition of cloth and glitter in the Systar System which adds another layer of vibrany.
Chris Pratt’s Emmett is just as lovable and cloyingly sweet as he was in the first film. Wyldstyle is darker in this sequel but given much more to do, giving Elizabeth Banks more time to shine. Batman is a standout yet again in this film, Will Arnett is consistently hilarious in this role. Tiffany Haddish and Stephanie Beatriz make wonderful new additions to the cast as well, they bring all weird charisma you could ever need.
The underlying plot of the now teenage boy from the first movie, learning to play with his sister is moving. It’s a well-handled storyline that is realistically done and very relatable. You’ll remember fighting with your sibling and making up with them all in a span of five minutes. And that is a special kind of nostalgia. Maya Rudolph has a nice cameo as their mother, who is moved by their arc of learning to appreciate each other. It all works effortlessly and I can’t deny that I teared up a bit at the resolution of the story.