by Ausstin Cassey | Staff Writer
The cute little building bricks are back, and they’re ready for another round of adventure. “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” is actually the fourth installment of this Lego franchise but just the second featuring Emmet (Chris Pratt), Lucy (Elizabeth Banks) and their band of eccentric friends in their unique part-real part-imaginary world. While “The Second Part” has some of the charm of the first movie, it falls a peg short of the standards it set of creativity, comedy, and social commentary.
The first third is the weakest portion of the movie. Just like “Incredibles 2” last year, this film picks up right where the end of the first one left off (a battle with Duplo building bricks), which is fine by itself, because it puts the viewer back into the world of the first movie. Minutes later, we take a five-year time jump and need to get visually readjusted to a post-apocalyptic landscape and become aware that all our characters have changed for the tougher in that span, with the exception of gentle Emmet. And then 90 percent of the movie doesn’t even actually take place in that “Mad Max”-style world anyway, or the creative worlds established in the first movie either for that matter, instead opting for scenes in outer space and a hardly-utilized young girl’s room.
Something that got on my nerves was the use of beats that have been present in other animated movies. Emmet gets knocked underneath a washer/dryer and forgotten about at one point, exactly like Jessie’s backstory in “Toy Story 2”. One scene is almost a carbon copy of “Inside Out,” where a group of characters ascend from a low dark place using the power of song. A theme of growing up and being mature is present throughout, and is a common staple of the genre. This movie does have some ideas unique to animation and to the franchise (a character of continuously morphing Lego pieces was fun), but it would have been stronger if it did things we’ve never seen before.
There are plenty of positives to defend this movie with as well. The first film’s main message was about the tension between conformity and being special, and this one does not retread that path, instead it explores the power of collaboration and bringing ideas together versus closing one’s imagination off to the world. One cool note is that the movie is framed where is no real “bad guy,” instead everyone (both human and Lego) have differing motivations and ways of going about them. It also importantly rebuts the song from the first film by singing “sometimes, everything’s NOT awesome.” Just like a Pixar movie, people in different age groups will take different lessons from the movie, and that’s a great quality.
More of the comedy was dependent on references than original jokes or commentary on life like the first film, which was a bit disappointing. But on the flip side, the music and some fun elements of the plot keep it easy to watch. Some of the characters hit interesting new arcs while some stay static, but to be honest all were welcome back in my life, and the new characters and voice actors worked. It isn’t as strong as the first one for the reasons I brought up, but “The Second Part” is a well-made, positive-messaged, fast-paced continuation of this series, and I personally welcome more of these to come.