The Lego Movie was one of the biggest surprises of the past few years. When it was first announced, I thought there was no way it would work and it would just come across as a lazy cash grab. However, thanks to the skill of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, The Lego Movie was one of the best animated films of the past few years, and even the spin-off with The Lego Batman Movie was just as good. So when a sequel to The Lego Movie was announced, with Lord and Miller writing the film, I was excited. After seeing the film, I have to say that it’s not quite as good as the first film, but it is still a great film.
The film picks up 5 years after the events of The Lego Movie, following on from the live action scenes where Finn is told his younger sister can play with the Lego as well. This is represented in the Lego world by the Duplo figures seen at the end of the first film turning Bricksburg into Apocalypse-Burg as they take pieces from Bricksburg to their own world, the Systar System. This culminates in General Mayhem of the Systar System kidnapping Lucy (aka Wyldstyle), Batman, Unikitty, Metalbeard and Benny so that the queen of the Systar System, Watevra Wa-Nabi, can marry Batman. Emmett sets off to rescue them, running into Rex Dangervest, a stereotypical action hero, who encourages Emmett to start breaking films aside from building them and to get Emmett to ‘grow up’ so he can please Lucy. Now there are a lot of plot points I don’t really want to spoil, partly to preserve the twists, but also to ensure the jokes have a strong landing. What I will say is that this film is an effective deconstruction of toxic masculinity and, by extension the difficulties that can be faced by siblings of opposite genders in trying to connect with each other. These elements are excellent and help to give the film a great deal of thematic weight, but I don’t really want to go more into it. The humour meanwhile, whilst not as consistently laugh out loud funny as The Lego Movie or The Lego Batman Movie is still excellent, with there being some parts where I missed jokes because I was laughing so much from the previous ones, including some really good fourth wall jokes. There are a few plot issues though, mainly in the way the Lego characters interact with the real world, but they are issues that I could overlook.
The voice performances are strong throughout the film. As both Emmett and Rex, Chris Pratt is a lot of fun, showing off the innocence and charm of Emmett well and as Rex, Pratt does a good parody of his roles in the MCU and Jurassic World series. Like with the plot, saying too much more about Pratt’s performance will give away the best plot points of the film so I won’t say too much more. Elizabeth Banks as Lucy meanwhile is a lot of fun at the start of the film and her character development in terms of how she views the Systar System is a great part of the film. Will Arnett as Batman is just as fun as ever, carrying over some of the character work from The Lego Batman Movie, and having the best jokes in the film. Alison Brie, Nick Offerman and Charlie Day are a lot of fun as well, although not used as well as they were in the first film, whilst Will Ferrell is only in the film for a few lines, which makes sense given the live action portions of the film, but I did want to see more of him. For the new cast, Tiffany Hadish as Queen Wateve Wa-Nabi is a lot of fun, bringing a great deal of charm and energy to the role that meshes well with the animation, whilst Stephanie Beatriz is entertaining as General Mayhem, and gets some good meta humour in the film. For the smaller roles, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as Superman and Green Lantern are always fun to hear in these films, this is probably the most I’ve like Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ralph Fiennes gets a few good comedic bits reprising his role as Alfred from The Lego Batman Movie and I found some of the best dry comedy in the film coming from the performances of Richard Ayoade and Noel Fielding (with it being great that a big blockbuster film has roles for Ayoade and Fielding). Solid work is also done by Jadon Sand, Brooklynn Prince and Maya Rudoplh in the live action scenes, but again I don’t want to spoil them.
On a technical level, the animation remains as excellent as the other Lego movies. The level of detail in making every single element of the film out of Lego is stunning and it keeps the smaller details like chipped parts and paint rubbing off, which gives the feel of the Lego having been heavily played with. The designs of Apocalypse-Burg, the Systar System and Rex’s ship also do good work with establishing the themes of the film, especially with Rex’s ship, which took me a little while to realise is shaped like a fist. The character animation has great little details as well, from most of the figures in the Systar system jumping everywhere since they’re based on things like the Lego Friends sets, to the constant movement of Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi with her constantly changing her form in a way that just feels natural. The music meanwhile is a lot of fun. There are a few more songs written for this film, with them all being a good bit of fun, especially the song playing over the end credits.
Overall, whilst The Lego Movie 2 does not reach the highs of The Lego Movie or The Lego Batman Movie, it is still a fun, smart film with incredible animation that really captures the feel of playing with Lego.
My Rating: 4.5/5