I really enjoyed the first Lego movie and had doubts that they could pull off something as good a second time. I was wrong. This movie is fun, funny, smart and unexpectedly touching. It teeters close to schmaltz a few times, but the endless sight gags and jokes plus the earnestness of the story overcome any such weaknesses.
The story picks up some time after the end of the first film with a satisfying recap of the events and what lead to the current state of dystopia the Lego world has become. Apocalypsburg is now a Mad Max-style world of brooding tough guys and gals where anything pretty gets taken away by the Duplo invaders from the Sistar System. Everyone is committed to being tough and hard-hearted except Emmett (Chris Pratt), who still retains his sunny disposition, and people call him immature for it, urging him to grow up and get tough. When his friends are kidnapped to attend the marriage of the Duplo Queen Whatevra Wan’abe (Tiffany Hadisch) to Batman (Will Arnett) he has to find a way to save them and prevent the Armamageddon (Our-mom-ageddon) with the help of the suspiciously familiar Rex Dangervest, a grizzled tough-guy, macho-hero who flies a spaceship shaped like a fist and crewed by velociraptors.
The film has the same madcap energy and near-improv tone of the first film and I thought it was nonstop fun in that regard. The film breaks into the real world more often than the first film, and while I felt at times they were coming close to spending too much time there, the story makes it work really well because a large part of it is about the estrangement between siblings. Another theme I loved was the exploration of maturity and how superficial a lot of our ideas about maturity tend to be. Fortunately, the film does not fall into the trap of promoting endless childhood even though it looks like it might in places. I think it’s more about how a lot of the positive qualities we tell our children to invest in (such as co-operation and compassion) often become sacrificed in our rush to appear grown up and toughened to the world later on. It’s surprisingly complex and rich for what appears to be a children’s movie, but I love films whose scope goes beyond whatever genre they appear to be and The Lego Movie 2 is a brilliant example.
I really like this movie. I think it is exceptional family entertainment in that it plays to two audiences – the kids who love Lego and the adults who may recognize personal truths in the narrative, with lots of laughs for everyone along the way. The film deals with themes of maturity, disillusionment, community and optimism in ways that were unexpectedly complex and moving. I found myself quite affected at times by the storyline which is basically about how things aren’t always what you’d like, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pull together and make it better, and that’s a sentiment I respond to quite strongly.
As usual, Mark Kermode’s review hits the bull’s eye.