Collin's been a movie critic since 2009. In real life he works in marketing and is also a novelist ("Good Riddance" published in Oct 2015).
Back in February 2014, The Lego Movie arrived and gave the world of animated movies a big ol’ kick in the pants. Cram-packed with meta-humor and delightful animation, and oozing creativity from every pore, it was one of the more flat-out enjoyable flicks of the year. Three years later Warner Animation Group tried to bottle lightning again with The Lego Batman Movie, and though it wasn’t nearly the accomplishment of its predecessor, it certainly didn’t stink up the joint.
Now we’re going back to good with The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, and though it doesn’t quite top the original, it remains a welcome change from some of the more stale animated movies we’re grown accustomed to lately. With gobs of eyeball-popping chaos, more bright colors than a brand new Candy Land game, and a heap of fresh, fun musical numbers, it’s a genuine hyperkinetic thrill ride.
Overlapping with the ending of the original film, the sequel reminds us that everything is transpiring in young Finn’s human world as he plays with his Legos, and that his Duplo-loving sister has now joined the fun. Then a five-year fast-forward in the play world reveals that things in the Lego-land have gone downhill—Bricksburg is now a dystopian wasteland called Apocalypseburg (a “heckish place to live”), inhabited by people straight out of Thunderdome. Emmet (Chris Pratt) is still as cluelessly cheerful as ever and has even built a cute little house for himself and Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), but things go south when General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz) arrives on the scene and announces that her leader, Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi (Tiffany Haddish), wants to marry Batman (Will Arnett). Mayhem then kidnaps Batman, Lucy, and a couple others and whisks them off to the Systar System—where the soundtrack du jour is this film’s version of “Everything is Awesome”, the aptly-titled “Catchy Song”.
(If you were paying attention as I rattled off all those those names and places, you already know where this thing is cleverly headed.)
Meanwhile Emmet (who keeps having nightmares about something called Our-Mom-ageddon) is hot on Mayhem’s trail when he bumps into Rex Dangervest (also Pratt). The two of them agree to team up to rescue the gang, and madness and hilarity ensue.
There’s plenty more where that pun-laden fun came from—including a ticking countdown dolphin, a flight crew of dinosaurs, and a banana who can’t stop slipping on his own peel—and though none of it makes a lick of sense, it all somehow feels right at home in Lego world. Director Mike Mitchell (Trolls), working from a script by renowned nutballs Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (who wrote and directed the original), keeps the insanity turned up to eleven, providing plenty of eye candy for the young crowd and more than enough in-jokes for the adults. Since most of it is thrown at us at light speed, however, with all the subtlety of a marauding T-Rex, it’s easy to blink-and-miss a lot; this is clearly a film that will continue to entertain with repeat viewings.
Much of the original film’s success came from the plethora of self-aware meta-humor and the surprising turn that brought us into the real-people world at the end, and since both are reprised in the sequel, their freshness is inherently— well... not quite as fresh. Fear not, though, The Second Part is still a winner.