4YE’s Big Movie Binge: The Lego Movie 2

Credit: Warner Brothers

The Lego Movie, the first part, thrilled me when I finally watched it nearly a year ago. I thought it was innovative and original and the caliber of the voice cast surprised me. I watched the film in the middle of a Chris Pratt kick and thought that his character Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) was adorable.

While he wasn’t entirely original, and nor was the premise, I thought The Lego Movie was a step in the right direction for children movies. It appealed to both adults and children and presented children with the example that their movies could be innovative and interesting while still teaching important themes.

The Lego Movie 2 drops the ball, or the brick, in that regard. While the lessons of acceptance, telling the truth, getting along, and confronting hidden feelings were included and hidden behind truly hilarious passages, I felt that there was something lacking in Lego Movie 2, but other than that it was a solid installment in the franchise.

The film picks up immediately following The Lego Movie. After defeating Lord Business, Emmet and the other citizens of Bricksburg are excited to continue their lives. Emmet and Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) are looking forward to becoming more involved as “special friends” and the other citizens of Bricksburg are excited to continue being awesome. Creatures from the planet Diplo beam down and announce their intent to destroy everything in sight.

Five years later, Bricksburg is now Apocalypseburg. Everyone is some amalgamation of their former, chipper, Lego selves, and madness and brooding from Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s a great juxtaposition where Wyldstyle fits in well, but poor Emmet doesn’t. He’s the same mini-figure he was in the first film.

When General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz) comes to Apocalypseburg and kidnaps Wyldstyle, Batman (Will Arnett), Benny (Charlie Day), Unikitty (Allison Brie), and MetalBeard (Nick Offerman) for a matrimonial celebration, Emmet makes it his mission to save them. However, a new, dashing, mini-figure named Rex Dangervest (also Pratt) sweeps in and attempts to change Emmet which might derail his plans to save Wyldstyle and his friends.

Of course, Finn and Bianca, the humans who control this world make an appearance along with their mother (Maya Rudolph) and the voice of Will Ferrell as their father and Lord Business.

I think the biggest problem with The Lego Movie 2 is Rex Dangervest. Sorry Pratt, but while the twist in the film was brilliant and trippy, for children, maybe, I saw it coming and Rex wasn’t up to snuff with the other characters. He fell a little flat and it felt like he was simply a character to reference other Pratt characters. I feel he was simply there so Pratt could have more to do. I love Pratt, don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a great actor, but Rex wasn’t well written and thus Pratt couldn’t do what he does best.

I will admit that the inclusion of the velociraptors in Rex’s posse was a great touch, but I think that’s because I love the nod to Owen Grady and Jurassic World. That and the velociraptors are always doing funny things in the background when they’re in the shot. Like, for instance, there’s a moment in Rex’s ship where the raptors are working out with weights and for some reason, that struck me as hilarious.

There are many moments in this film where the humor is dialed up to a ten. A few of the moments, I won’t mention because they’re spoilers, but one thing’s for certain, The Lego Movie 2 is just as funny and charming as the first.

While the franchise is starting to feel like a self-reverential Deadpool-esque, pop-culture, orgy, I think it works, but only if it’s done in moderation and that’s another thing I had a problem with. The film had so many pop-culture references that I didn’t know where to look and when or what was supposed to be a reference and what wasn’t. Some of the references I did catch were shoehorned into the plot and while children might get a kick out of it, the adults in the audience might groan a bit. There’s nothing wrong with a slew of pop-culture references, just dial them down.

Despite the overstuffed references and the inclusion of Rex, The Lego Movie 2 was a solid kid’s film. The writing was done well, and the twist was still a wonderful twist. I thought it was a great way to explain the importance of consequences and the importance of loving someone as they are and not trying to change them because once you change them, you might not like what they are anymore. It’s a lesson even adults need to learn.

Shelby Arnold
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