Off the bat, I didn’t walk out feeling as WOW’d as I did the first time exposed to the LEGO animated world, but pleasantly surprised and glad at how it didn’t steer away from what made this franchise appealing.
Animated features are badasses in their own right. Some fail. Some succeed. And then there’s “The LEGO Movie.” A unique form of animated feature that stole our hearts, while metaphorically expressing no shame in the game when it comes to playing with toys. Even though the LEGO world has existed for decades, it was that one film brought to you by the minds of Chris Miller and Phil Lord (“Into The Spider-Verse”) that introduced a beautiful world of imagination gone wild, sprinkled with a melting-pot of some of the most vibrant and unique characters ever to hit the sliver screen. Starring the voices of Chris Pratt (Emmet), Elizabeth Banks (Lucy/WyldStyle) and Will Arnett (Batman), “The LEGO Movie” was one of 2014’s surprise hits financially, critically, artistically and cinematically. Followed by two LEGO-laced pieces (“Batman” and “Ninjago”), the Bros at Warner proved Disney and/or Pixar aren’t the only dogs with a loud, animated bark.
If you recall, in a town called Bricksburg, a super-friendly, upbeat and endlessly optimistic guy named Emmet (Pratt) rose from a most ordinary life to become The Special in the mega-hit adventure. Overcoming his doubts and an apparent lack of any notable skills or experience, this LEGO minifigure bravely followed his destiny to become a Master Builder and (with the help of his friends) saved the city, won Lucy’s (Banks) heart and helped make “Everything is Awesome” an irresistible dance-party singalong the world over. You’re singing it right now, aren’t you? Don’t lie. Now, five years after that fateful day, Emmet still has a spring in his step, a smile on his bright, shiny face and 25 sugars pumping up his coffee every morning. But everything else has fallen to pieces. The surprise DUPLO invasion that threatened destruction at the end of the first movie’s happy ending has reduced Bricksburg to a wasteland of rubble known to its battle-weary (but still quite witty) citizens as Apocalypseburg. A twisted destruction spearheaded by Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi (Tifanny Haddish), Emmet finds himself (literally) having to strategically connect the pieces to save the day and make things awesome again.
Under the direction of Mike Mitchell (“Trolls”), Chris Miller and Phil Lord return as producers and writers for “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part.” And what a second part it is. I’m a happy camper! Cute, fun, witty and adventurously engaging would be the best way to describe it. Others may beg-to-differ, but I don’t think it suffers the dreaded sequel curse. It’s just as gorgeous to watch and endure as the first. I really love that they took it from where it left off and expanded within its world. If you recall before the first movie ends, Will Ferrell (President Business/Father) mentions to his son how he’s gotta play with his sister now. Well, that sister throws quite a monkey-wrench among everything her brother’s created. Hilarious cameos, cute twists, fun new characters, intergalactic action and great to see the studio not take itself seriously and allow the narrative to pay humorous homage to lots of its films and franchises.
While some of the gags and personality traits may seem rehashed as it still has the same style of humor one can expect from Chris and Phil, it’s still enjoyable. It’s quickly paced and utilizes every moment of every scene to touch on some sort of franchise gag that ties into a another, while running parallel to watching the kids have the time of their lives making this animated world possible. As inclusive as the film may be with all its original and new characters, “LEGO Movie 2” still belongs to Emmet (in typical Emmet fashion) as he’s forced into hero mode with all the grit he can muster up on a perilous journey to the outer limits of the universe to save his friends.
The soundtrack is fantastic as well. Catchy tunes once again that stay “stuck in yourhead,” including an updated version—due to circumstances—of “Everything is Awesome.” As a whole, “LEGO Movie 2’ once again displays the perfect example of what it’s like when a child pours his/her LEGOS all over the floor and let their imaginations go wild. Total charm.
Grade: A | Genre: Animation, Action-Adventure, Sequel | Rated: PG | Run Time: 1:45
Starring (VO); Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish
Directed by: Mike Mitchell