Even though lovable minifigure Emmet saved the day in “The Lego Movie,” life in Bricksburg is most definitely no longer awesome.
The Lego world that Emmet and his friends live in has become a grim, post-apocalyptic wasteland, that not even Emmet’s eternal optimism can fix. When his best friend Lucy is kidnapped by an invader from outer space, Emmet has to find the courage to venture into strange new worlds and face a mysterious and dangerous new villain.
When “The Lego Movie” arrived in theaters in 2014, it was an unexpected hit. It could have easily come across as a cash grab or a really long toy commercial, but instead it managed to be wonderfully zany, surprisingly heartfelt, and a ton of fun. Chris Pratt voiced everyman minifigure Emmet, who sincerely believes that everything is, indeed, awesome (let’s admit it — even five years later, we all still have that song stuck in our heads). Will Arnett’s Lego Batman was a breakout star who eventually got his own spinoff, and the movie also had a nice message about rediscovering your childhood.
Right or wrong, “The Lego Movie 2” hasn’t quite captured that same level of buzz, boasting a lower-than-expected box office haul. Sometimes, it’s hard to replicate that same sense of magic with a sequel.
On the surface, “The Lego Movie 2” has everything the first movie had: wacky jokes, some fun cameos (my favorite was definitely the Bruce Willis “Die Hard” reference), and a surprising twist that shifts the way you think the story is going to go. But overall it doesn’t feel as fresh or fun as the original.
Maybe it’s because the script isn’t quite as strong, or maybe it’s because we know what to expect now; the concept no longer feels like an exciting novelty. Also, maybe five years was too long to wait to release the sequel, and audiences have moved on to other franchises.
However, I did still enjoy watching this movie. It’s fun to see famous characters like the Justice League pop up in the story, and there are some funny new songs. My favorite involved Batman performing a duet with another character, but to say more would be a spoiler (just know that it’s a fun play on the Batman vs. Superman rivalry).
I loved the Mad Max aesthetic of the washed-up Bricksburg in the beginning of the film, and there’s an entertaining new character (also voiced by Chris Pratt) named Rex Dangervest. He’s a space-traveling raptor trainer/cowboy/action hero etc., etc., etc. — a fun play on some of Pratt’s previous live-action roles. I loved all the scenes with the Lego raptors, especially when their squeaks and growls were translated via captions on screen.
This is turning out to be a shorter than normal review, but I really don’t have a lot else to say. As mentioned previously, I had fun watching the movie, and it was nice to get out of the house on a cold, dreary winter afternoon. Yet I probably won’t be rushing out to watch this movie again, and I don’t plan to add it to my personal DVD collection, like I did with the first one.
If you’re a fan of the first “Lego Movie,” then part 2 is still worth seeing…just go into the theater knowing that it’s more “okay” than “awesome.”