Written by Octaviano Macias
Are losers gonna be mad that this tackles toxic masculinity.
Did people forget about how great The LEGO Movie was? I mean I know people like it, but it feels like the last two films in this universe came and went, which is surprising given they were both pretty good. Now we’re here with the official sequel, The LEGO Movie 2:The Second Part, and it seems that it’s not receiving the hype I expected years ago. Is something missing? Did I not notice a backlash for the film and it’s spin-offs? I know Ninjago wasn’t as good, but it was still a fun time, why is there little fan fare for this movie? Well I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know this is a sequel that lives up to the expectations.
Is the Second Part as good as it’s predecessor? That’s a question I know the answer to and my answer is yes and no. Simply put, there is no recreating the surprise and magic of the original film, it was unique, we already saw it and there was no way this would feel as fresh as the first installment. That having been said, where the film truly delivers is in it’s message and approach, I won’t spoil much here, but that a family film is tackling existential and toxic masculinity themes is pretty impressive. Also appreciated in the film is the decision to make the story feel like it’s coming from two different visions, understanding that fans of the original would already know the big twist, this entry wastes no time to acknowledge the last twist to build it’s emotional core out of. Simply put, that the film’s biggest issue is not being as fresh as it’s predecessor aesthetically is a pretty high mark for it.
Speaking of not as fresh, “Everything is Awesome” was a pretty great song, which isn’t topped this time around, but that’s okay because the film instead becomes a fun musical in this outing. I won’t say much as the reason why is tied to some spoilers, but I liked that this film included songs to help create the world we were viewing. Despite never reaching the heights of our favorite LEGO song, the new additions are all charming and funny in their own right, a particular stand out being saved for the credits.
Moving away from the music, it is so refreshing to see an animated sequel that builds on the message of the predecessor. While I’m not saying that no animated sequel has ever done this, I am saying that it’s rare when the themes and messages are naturally progressed. While the first movie was definitely about the freedom to imagine and play, this time it’s about pushing those ideas to sharing, accepting change and building upon differences. It doesn’t sound much different at first, but experiencing the story allows you to understand why this needed to be said, because similar as it may be to the first, the message here is increasingly relevant in our world. I remember thinking back to the original, thinking if done right a sequel could make this series like a modern Toy Story, especially if the sequel was about growing up, thankfully I was right on the money. If we do get a third film, this generation will definitely look back at this series the same way my generation looks at Toy Story, it grew up alongside us, tackling themes we only began to understand as childhood moved further away from us.
And what of the new characters this time? Well, I trust you won’t be too surprised given Phil Lord and Chris Miller are involved (this time only as writers though) but they’re all great. The returning cast all do terrific jobs (Will Arnett is still the perfect Batman... satire) despite some getting less to do, they gel well with the newcomers and add to the fun, so no complaints. Going over the newcomers though, the best are easily Tiffany Haddish as the Queen (her name’s an obvious silly pun) and Rex Dangervest, a parody/fusion of Chris Pratt’s movie roles voiced by Pratt in a funny, intense and surprisingly emotional way, I expected a twist there, but I’m glad my theory was wrong... which the film kinda acknowledges...
So to wrap things up, yes, The LEGO Movie 2 is a worthy sequel, not sure if I’d call it superior to the original, but I’d consider it an equal upon this viewing. It’s fun, charming, emotional and a surprising takedown of toxic masculinity, which I can appreciate.
3.5 OUT OF 4