An Affordable Full-Length Commercial for Legos
I enjoyed the first Lego Movie. It’s product placement writ large. But it’s also a goddamn delight, with lots of funny bits and some great voice acting. Because I’m a dad who at one time was able to afford the mid-range Lego sets for my kids, it appealed to my sentimental consumerist side. Did it need a sequel? Sure, why not.
THE LEGO MOVIE: THE SECOND PART ★★★ (3/5 stars)
Directed by: Mike Mitchell
Written by: Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz
Running time: 106 min.
The Lego Movie: The Second Part picks up where the last one left off. You’ll recall that Bricksburg was set upon by Duplo Blocks, which in the real world are Legos for very little kids and in the movie take the form of weird aliens. First contact does not go well, setting the stage for the Second Part. Lego World is a barren hellscape, a Fury Road in which the post-apocalyptic junk requires Choke Warning labels. Sunny optimist Emmet (Chris Pratt) remains a sunny optimist; his girlfriend Lucy Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) remains a badass. The other funny Legofolk from the first movie are in attendance, including Lego series MVP Will Arnett’s Batman.
The Second Part’s main problem is one that younger kids won’t really notice or care about. The frenetic humor, closer in spirit to a Chuck Jones Warner Brothers cartoon than any Pixar movie, is still intact. The problem is certainly not the new additions: Tiffany Haddish and Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Stephanie Beatriz are both great as two new…antagonists. Chris Pratt also pulls double duty. I’m being vague here because while there aren’t as many surprises and meta-twists in The Second Part, the ones that do occur are worth keeping under wraps, and a few of them are genuinely funny. The big surprise of the first film was the live-action stuff with Will Ferrell. That element takes more of a front seat here, shows up sooner, and doesn’t have as much resonance.
The Lego Movie: The Second Part is a good sequel. If you enjoyed the first one, you’ll like this one. Phil Lord and Chris Miller wrote and directed the original; here they just handle the writing duties, and happily they don’t phone it in. The problem with writing an honest review of this or any other Lego Movie is, of course, that the Lego Movies are 100-minute-long commercials. The real crime wasn’t that the original Lego Movie didn’t win an Oscar for Best Animated Feature; it’s that it didn’t sweep the 2015 Clio Awards.
Worse for parents: Lego toy sets can be really, really expensive. You want to feel like an asshole? Take your kid to a Lego Movie when you can’t afford to buy him or her the stuff they’re seeing on the screen. When I took mine to see the first Lego Movie, and then later to see the Lego Batman movie, I can’t tell you how happy I was that they’d both outgrown playing with the stuff. The movies are fine, and taking the kids to see them is considerably cheaper than buying them a Lego Death Star.