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It either speaks highly of the film, or badly of all the others, that Lego Movie 2: The Second Part has been my most anticipated movie this year. Let me check... no, its the other movies. Few things this year give me as much joy as watching plastic products tell jokes about tween pop music. Lego 2 picks up after where the last left off, where our Lego heroes are on the cusp of a war with Duplo. The gag is that in the meta-story, a kid sister is allowed to start playing with Lego too, which is having a ruinous influence on the boy's own adventure stories.
The most fun part of the movie is seeing the show go all out with this idea that the story and creator are inseparable, wherein the heavily gendered Lego sets result in a surprisingly nuanced battle of the sexes, boiled down to a boy and a girl fighting over toys.Within the story itself though, beat by beat I wasn't having the best of times with the movie. There are buckets of jokes, and whilst plenty of these don't land, there's enough of them fired off per second to eventually get a laugh. Also this one has a lot more songs than the previous movie, which felt after a while like time-filler rather than stuff aimed at progressing the story. There's a mystery plot here, and the movie spends a little too long dancing (literally) around it.
Part of the problem is that the original Lego movie managed to defy so many expectations. The humour was often surprisingly dark, catching the adults off guard in the audience. Also the film deftly subverts generic hero's journey stories, rejecting the idea of one guy coming to save the day, and replacing it with something far more positive. All of those smart ideas made it stand above all other kids (and adult) movies, and the fact that it was all so unexpected sold it far more strongly. The sequel tries to do something similar in that it gives us a red herring, generic rescue plot, but we can guess the subversion coming this time around. Also the cartoon cynicism is now expected, and the meta-gags are part of the established universe. The twists and surprises aren't that surprising anymore, the big ideas are expected.
The result is a movie that continues a lot of the things that made the original good, but it isn't anywhere as fresh or exciting this time around. I didn't have a bad time, but I kind of felt like I wasn't really getting into it, just waiting for it to go through the motions. It's an okay movie, but for someone with so much anticipation, an okay movie is a big let down.
Warning: Unmarked spoilers for the first movie
While Lego toys are something of a no-brainer when it comes to making a best-selling movie with merchandise, the original Lego Movie not only managed to make an entertaining film, but also one that managed to capture the spirit of building creatively with Legos. The sequel, while enjoyable in its own right, isn't quite as original as the first.
The plot takes place five years after the first movie, both inside the Lego universe and in the real world. Bricksburg has been invaded by toys from the Systar System (if you don't get it, read it out loud), who end up kidnapping some of Emmet's friends. Emmet then sets out for the Systar system to save his friends and prevent "Ourmamageddon" (again, read it out loud).
While the existence of human characters was a fairly surprising twist in the first one, the second one assumes you know about it already, so it's not as much of a surprise. If you've seen the previous film, you can probably guess what's going on in the real world even before the movie actually shows you. Furthermore, anyone familiar with the stock Be Yourself Aesop probably knows that the various characters putting pressure on Emmet to toughen up is not a good thing, even if it isn't immediately obvious how bad it is.
That said, the movie, like the previous one, is silly fun, loaded full of subtle references and jokes. A lot of the in-universe ideas and names sound like those that young kids would come up with, such as "Queen Watevra Wa'nabi" (once again, say it out loud) getting words wrong in her Villain Song.
The characters, both Lego and human, have changed a fair amount since the first one, and continue to change over this one. The change isn't always good, as it's shown that Finn's not entirely willing to share with his sister, and Emmet, as mentioned above, is tempted to cast aside his Nice Guy self to toughen up, but the development comes across as believable and organic.
In short, while the second Lego Movie is less original and more predictable than the first, it's still quite entertaining for the same reasons, so you should check it out if you enjoyed the first movie.
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