Everything’s Still Awesome, Just Not Quite As Awesome As Before
One of the biggest surprises back in 2014 was The Lego Movie. Chock full of genuinely funny jokes and a dizzying array of well worked set pieces, this charming little animation went on to be a huge success, helped along by a highly enjoyable story. 5 years later our lovable Lego heroes are back in their sequel adventure, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. While the film does well to capture the essence and feel of the first movie, it doesn’t quite nail the same lofty heights of the original, falling short of the excellence delivered the first time around.
The story this time picks up several years after the events of the first film. Back in the real world Dad has let younger daughter Bianca into the basement and with her, a flurry of new Duplo and sparkly Lego pieces to play with. After reducing Bricksburg to a wasteland, the battered and bruised inhabitants we’ve come to love adjust to their newfound life, running in fear of the Duplo pieces that threaten to destroy them all. That is, until a strange new Lego piece arrives and promptly snatches up 5 of Emmet’s friends (including Wyldstyle and Batman) for a strange matrimonial ceremony in a distant galaxy in the universe.
From here it’s up to Emmet to save the day, helped along by a new hero, charismatic tough-guy Rex Dangervest. As they fly from planet to planet, the film plays out in a relatively predictable manner, chock full of jokes and various musical numbers as Emmet tries to save the day while the others escape their fate. There are a couple of nicely worked twists here too, especially during the final act, and these actually serve a purpose too, changing the entire complexion of the film and echoing the overall themes being shown.
Aesthetically, Lego Movie 2 looks just as good, if not better, than the first film. With numerous different planets and hundreds of individual Lego characters, there’s so much to look at and admire. This, combined with the constantly evolving, hedonistic colours, make Lego Movie 2 quite the trip. While the first film has synonymously been known for its catchy theme “Everything Is Awesome”, the Second Part really doubles down on this self-awareness, parodying the song a few times with a couple of cleverly worked remixes. I won’t spoil them here but suffice to say they work really well.
While The Lego Movie 2 is perfectly enjoyable with some really nicely worked set pieces, it’s not quite at the same level as the first film. Some of the jokes fail to hit and at times it feels like the film is trying a little too hard to replicate the success of the first film. Still, it’s fair to say The Lego Movie 2 shows this franchise is still awesome. Just not quite as awesome a second time around.