The Movie Guru: ‘The Lego Movie 2’ not quite as much fun as the original
The Movie Guru
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
Rated: PG for some rude humor.
Screenplay by: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.
Story by: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Matthew Fogel.
Directed by: Mike Mitchell.
Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day and more.
Grade: Three stars.
As is the case with most sequels, “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” is slightly less awesome than the original.
Of course, that means it’s still pretty entertaining. A huge, sprawling adventure with plenty of laughs, the movie offers enough pleasures to be worth the trip to the movie theater. But the fact that it tries to do too much at once leaves it feeling overstuffed, without and crackle of creativity that made the first one so memorable.
“The Second Part” starts immediately after the end of the original, with the invasion of aliens from the Duplo System (the little sister’s Duplo blocks). It then promptly jumps forward in time to show Bricksburg as a “Mad Max”-style wasteland, with almost all of the characters adapting to their new, grittier world. Only Emmet continues to insist that “everything is awesome,” at least until a new group of aliens comes along and kidnaps Wyldstyle, Batman and other key figures.
The movie does do better than its predecessor in one key area, and that’s in its treatment of female characters. There are considerably more of them than there were in the original, for one thing, and they’re allowed to have stories more independent of Emmet. Wyldstyle gets important character development, and the new characters are fun. Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi, the new “villain” delightfully voiced by Tiffany Haddish, is a particularly entertaining addition to the universe.
There are other fun elements to the movie, too, including a character that is basically a parody of Pratt’s characters in the “Jurassic World” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchises. It’s also nice to spend time with the original movie’s oddball but loveable crew of characters again. I hadn’t realized it until I watched the movie, but I’d missed them.
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The problem is, though, that there’s too much movie here to tackle properly. “The Second Part” is much more thematically complicated than the original, and none of the different elements flow together quite as well as they should. They’re all worthy on their own, but here they crowd each other out to the point that you can’t really pay attention to any of them.
The movie also makes too much use of the real-world element that was such an interesting surprise reveal at the end of the first movie. There, I found the idea that the entire adventure was full of real-world elements filtered through a child’s imagination to be surprisingly moving. It seemed like the perfect statement on how powerful play can be.
Unfortunately, the creative team behind “The Second Part” seemed to think I wanted to get to know these people as characters. The movie doubles down on the real world scenes, and though they dealt with important issues, I couldn’t make myself care enough about any of them. The actress playing the family’s mother was a welcome surprise, but not enough to compensate.
In the end, it’s a relatively small issue. But it’s one of the reasons that “The Lego Movie 2” can never quite match the original’s shine.
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.