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Review: The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)

Directed by: Mike Mitchell

Premise: A follow up to the 2014 movie. Five years after the events of the original film, LEGO Duplo figures invade Briksburg and kidnap Emmet’s (Chris Pratt) friends. He pairs with rugged space traveler Rex Dangervest (also Chris Pratt) for a rescue mission.

What Works: The LEGO Movie 2 is an amusing sequel that retains most of what was successful about its predecessor while also moving its characters and stories forward in some unexpected ways. There is a zippy and irreverent fun to the theatrical LEGO films and that continues to be true of The Second Part. The sequel is a zanier film than the first one with some goofy humor and a freewheeling absurdity. It also improves upon the original LEGO Movie in a couple of respects. The first film leaned heavily into the product placement but the sequel steps back from that a bit or at least incorporates the licenses into the action with more subtly. The LEGO Movie 2 also makes the reveal from the end of the first film work. The big twist unveiled in the climax of the 2014 picture was obnoxious and cheapened the story. The filmmakers of the sequel recognize that this surprise cannot be recaptured and so they commit to it from the outset. That allows this story to go in some interesting directions and The LEGO Movie 2 achieves some depth by playing on the connections between the LEGO world and the real world. The inner and outer frames are smartly intertwined and the crosscut action enhances both parts of the story.  

What Doesn’t: The original LEGO Movie was a surprise. While it certainly maximized the product placement, the 2014 picture was not the cynical cash grab that it might have been and the movie possessed a unique charm. That novelty was lightening in a bottle and The Second One is never quite able to replicate it. The opening of the sequel suffers from being overstuffed and confusing. It initially picks up right where the original story left off but then leaps forward five years. That transition is clumsy and it gets the storytelling off to a rocky start. The internal logic The LEGO Movie 2 is somewhat inconsistent. That’s especially the case in the way the fantasy world of the LEGO characters overlaps and interacts with the real world. However, these films are intended to imitate the spontaneous and associative and sometimes illogical qualities of childhood play, so the film deserves some latitude.

Bottom Line: The LEGO Movie 2 is an admirable sequel. The movie can’t recapture the novelty of the 2014 picture and it stumbles in places. But The LEGO Movie 2 corrects this franchise after the Ninjago misstep and offers a sequel that is different enough to justify its existence while retaining most of the appeals of its progenitor.

Episode: #738 (February 24, 2019)