The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part review by Mark Walters – everything is still pretty awesome

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part review by Mark Walters – everything is still pretty awesome

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The LEGO Movie became a smash hit in 2014, serving as one of three back-to-back films that propelled Chris Pratt into his megastar status (the others being JURASSIC WORLD and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY). It also spawned two successful big screen follow-ups in The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie, but a proper sequel was inevitable and only a question of when. This weekend audiences will return to the world introduced in the first film, following the fan-favorite characters on a very different sort of adventure.

After the events of The LEGO Movie, we find our heroes faced with a new and unexpected threat, some giant monsters with child-like faces spouting baby talk… the Duplo figures, symbolizing real life boy Finn (Jadon Sand) playing with his little sister Bianca (Brooklynn Prince), and the destruction that attempted unity causes. The “Everything Is Awesome” Bricksburg world inhabited by Emmet (Chris Pratt) and Lucy (Elizabeth Banks) has now changed into a sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland with broken and dangerous structures. Lucy seems to have accepted things are dark and dour in this new environment, but Emmet still exudes constant positivity, even building a dream home on the outskirts of town for he and Lucy to enjoy. As if things weren’t difficult enough, an alien visitor lands and easily overcomes our heroes, even stealing many of the key players and taking them to another universe, causing Emmet to desperately follow in a ship of his own. The strange new world the characters find is filled with song and dance numbers, led by Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish), a shape-shifting ruler who desires to marry Batman (Will Arnett) as a way of bringing the two worlds together. Along his journey, Emmet meets a strange tough guy hero named Rex Dangervest, who helps devise a way to rescue his friends and bring down the alien invaders.

If you liked The LEGO Movie, chances are you’ll enjoy The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part for what it is, but there are definite differences. The biggest and most obvious aspect that feels different here is the story structure, which is much more complex and layered, probably a bit more than most kids would likely understand. Concepts like the destruction of their city, a post-apocalyptic twist, an alien abduction, and even time travel… let’s just say the word “convoluted” could definitely apply. There’s also some weirdly adult humor in the film, not in the traditional sense of the word, but humor and jokes that only adults would likely appreciate… like a cameo of a major film star that kids today won’t know at all, but those who grew up in the 80s will adore. I’m not sure the movie is as accessible for audiences as the first film was, but it’s still a blast to watch. It’s got plenty of action and is packed with humorous situations, so it’s easy to forgive the shortcomings while you’re smiling from ear to ear.

One of the things about these films that is always a treat is the incredible voice cast, bringing back Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day and Alison Brie, and adding in Tiffany Haddish, Richard Ayoade, and Stefanie Beatriz. Pratt pulls double duty voicing two key characters, and two that spend most of their screen time talking solely to each other, so it’s interesting that it works as well as it does without being distracting or obvious – partly because the new character is made to sound more like Kurt Russell than Pratt’s typical voice. Haddish has fun playing the quirky Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi, and her scenes playing off Will Arnett’s Batman are pretty solid and effective, plus Arnett’s continues to prove his take on Batman in these films is a never-ending treat.

Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who wrote and directed the first movie, are back as screenwriters this time, but director chores have been handed over to Mike Mitchell (TROLLS). There’s a certain charm that’s not quite present this time around, but it all still feels familiar enough to be satisfying. This outing also expands the human element a bit, adding Maya Rudolph as the mother of the kids, and wife to the Will Ferrell character we saw in the first movie. The overall message of the previous film was making time to play and have fun, where as this new movie is more about the importance of playing together and coexisting. In today’s political climate which is strong with the concepts of diversity and inclusion, the messages are timely and important without feeling obvious or forced. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part may not be quite as good as its predecessor, but it’s a worthy follow-up that is worth a watch, and if nothing else delivers a very catchy new song and some rather desirable new figures and sets you’ll want to pick up at The LEGO Store.

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part opens February 8, 2019

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About the Author

Born and raised in Dallas, Mark has been a movie critic since 1994, with reviews featured in print, radio and National TV. In 2001 he started the Entertainment section of the Herorealm website, where he contributed film reviews and celebrity interviews until 2004. After three years of service there, he started, which has become one of the Dallas film community's leading information websites. Bigfanboy hosts several movie screenings in the Texas area, and works closely with film and TV studios and promotional partners to host exciting events and contests. The site also features a variety of rare celebrity and filmmaker interviews, and regularly covers the film festival circuit as well. In addition to Hollywood reporting, Mark has worked for many years as an advertising and sci-fi/comic book artist. Clients have included Lucasfilm Ltd., Topps Trading Cards, The Dallas Mavericks and The Dallas Stars. From 2002 until 2015 he managed the Dallas Comic Con, Sci-Fi Expo and Fan Days events in the DFW area. He currently catalogs rare comic books and movie memorabilia for Heritage Auctions, and runs the Dallas Comic Show conventions, but remains an avid moviegoer and cinema buff.