Back in 2014 when I first reviewed The LEGO Movie I not only gave it full marks but also named it the best movie of that year. It was succinct, perfectly timed, deconstruction as well as perfection of a classic adventure story. So naturally, there are high expectations for the sequel.
We pick up exactly where the first movie left off, with the day won but a new threat has arrived. Strange, large blocked creatures that speak with a toddlers voice. Emmet (Chris Pratt) who just dealt with Lord Bussiness (Will Ferrell) believes he knows how to deal with these new creatures, he constructs a large heart and gives it to them as an act of good faith, they eat it, so it’s battle. But our heroes are unable to combat them and the mysterious blocks devour all the shiny constructed things, eventually, the land becomes a barren, brutal desert wasteland like that of Mad Max: Fury Road. The characters now have become hard and grizzled Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) looks out on the horizon and narrates dramatic voice-over. Meanwhile, though Emmet continues to be the happy-go-lucky, always looking to the positive guy he’s always been. Though all the other characters Benny the Spaceship Captain (Charlie Day), Batman (Will Arnett), Princess Unikitty (Alison Brie) and MetalBeard (Nick Offerman) have all adapted to this new grim environment and mentality.
One day a ship comes out of nowhere, the characters try to bring it down but to no avail, stepping out of said ship is General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz) a tall figure in a space suit that is there to gather the groups leaders, being that everyone is much more competent than Emmet so she takes them leaving Emmet stranded.
Emmet seeks to rescue his friends, he gets into space but when he collides with an asteroid field it breaks up. Luckily he is saved by another ship, shaped like a giant fist, piloted by the rough, manly, confident Rex Dangervest (also played by Pratt). He is always up for an adventure, especially one with risks and the possibility to shoot something, so he and his crew of raptors assist Emmet on his quest.
General Mayhem takes them through the stars and to the planet of her master Queen Waterva Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish) a creature that is made of building blocks and able to transform into…well, whatever she wants to be (get the name now!). From a unicorn to a cloud, to something that looks like the kid-friendly version of a Lovecraft nightmare.
Being that all the characters return for this movie as well as introduces new ones it is crowded. All the characters get their moment to shine and it never loses focus on Emmet as the central character. But it seems more rickety than the previous movie. It’s as tight as it can be but there is just so much story to tell and so many characters to put into the mix that it feels like their moments are more paper thin.
Like with the last movie they abide by the mentality that if it the image on-screen cannot be made with actual Lego’s then it is not going to be there, so every piece you see is an actual Lego piece and could conceivably be built. Again this time they cut down on the frame rate to make the movements more choppy. A few times they really embrace the fact that they are toy pieces and cut to them as little toys moving across the screen as if on the string and the with someone making noises off-camera.
The story and script were handled by Phil Lord and Chris Miller who wrote and directed the last movie and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Both have plenty of wonderful flourishes that seem to be spontaneous moments that serve as mere surprise laughs, there are a few of these but most of them actually tie into the overall plot or come back to serve a purpose later on. deceptively great structure
This movie has everything that made the first movie great and expands the scale and pushes the characters forward with new questions and trials. It has big laughs throughout and is expertly written. There may be a little too much in it for its own good though how can you argue with a generous serving. If you have little children they will love the colours and fast passe, if you are older you’ll most likely be taken in but the sharp wit and clever use and subversion of troupes.