Movie Review: The Lego Movie 2

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Movie Review: The Lego Movie 2

Old characters such as Emmet and Lucy, and new characters such as Rex and Queen Watevra embark on a new adventure.

Old characters such as Emmet and Lucy, and new characters such as Rex and Queen Watevra embark on a new adventure.

Old characters such as Emmet and Lucy, and new characters such as Rex and Queen Watevra embark on a new adventure.

Old characters such as Emmet and Lucy, and new characters such as Rex and Queen Watevra embark on a new adventure.

Anna Henning, Activities Beat Leader

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Adding more to the kid’s movie you know and love, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part extends the important themes and style of The Lego Movie. It contains a mostly solid plot and continues to have amazing characters. It indirectly addresses the division our world has today, and contains important life lessons that every high schooler can learn from. Overall, the movie was very good, but could have been better.

The Lego Movie first hit theaters in 2014, a movie which seems to say, “We can make advertising fun!” Although it is basically one big LEGO commercial, it contains an exceptional plot, fresh humor, relatable characters, and deep messages. It tells the story of Emmet, an ordinary person who must become “the special” in order to save the universe. Since The Lego Movie, Batman, another protagonist from the film, got his own spin-off in The Lego Batman Movie.

The Lego Movie 2 continues both stories by picking back up right where The Lego Movie ended. After being destroyed time and time again by the DUPLOS, the city of Bricksburg evolves into Apocalypseburg. This new city focuses on darkness, pain, and survival, and no longer believes “everything is awesome.” It contrasts the perfect society created in The Lego Movie, and seems as if it progressed backwards into a darker time. After a few master builders are kidnapped, and nobody believes Emmet can help, he sets off on his own to prove his worth. He is also trying to prevent “mom-ageddon,” as he saw a vision of all his friends ending up in the dreaded “bin of storage.”

Even as Bricksburg evolves, Emmet continues to be himself. He is the only one in the film who stays true to who he is during dark times, and refuses to give up who he is due to fear. He continues to see the good in everything, and his quirky, child-like personality shines through the grim reality. As the movie progresses, he doubts himself as he debates between growing up into what others want him to be or staying true to who he actually is. His character growth in this film was a great extension from The Lego Movie. Although I liked most of what filmmakers chose to do with his character, I did not like how he was portrayed at the beginning. After all the progress he made after the first film, and becoming a master builder, he suddenly became weak, ignored, and not special once more. I felt like his story took a step backwards here, and I think it was not very interesting to repeat that part of his story.

When things start going wrong for Emmet, he gladly accepts help from a mysterious new character, Rex. Rex acts as a mentor to Emmet, and shows him how to channel his feelings into actions, and teaches him to cope with his reality. He is the polar opposite of Emmet; he is collected, cool, rebellious, and does not answer to anyone other than himself. He operates a spaceship with a crew of velociraptors, and considers himself a “master breaker” instead of a “master builder.” Emmet and Rex are basically the before and after examples of Chris Pratt, who voices the two, showing Pratt before compared to after he became an action star. I love that this was included—it brings a lot of humor to the film when the two start comparing one to the other.

Although it is Emmet’s story in both movies, the story primarily belongs to those who created it. Clips of Finn, the boy who creates the entire story in Bricksburg, were shown in The Lego Movie. Seeing the interaction between Finn and his father are some of my favorite parts of that film. I am glad that side of the film continued into The Lego Movie 2, this time showing the conflict between Finn and his younger sister. The ways their interactions affected the LEGO world were fascinating, portrayed through the classic brother-versus-sister arguments that siblings know too well.

After the first twenty or so minutes of the film, I was disappointed. There is a certain level of cheesiness in The Lego Movie that makes it both more humorous and more entertaining, but at the beginning of the film there was too much of it. I liked the internal monologues and obvious narration during action sequences, but it was overdone to the point where it was no longer funny. The opening made me question if the rest of the film would follow suit, and if any of it would be good at all.

However, as the film progressed, the plot improved with it. It became less cheesy and more complex as the movie goes on, creating a plot climax that is just as worthy of praise as its prequel. It contained a plot twist I never would have expected, and brought elements I unexpectedly enjoyed into the movie. Towards the end, the plot felt too busy at times, and felt a bit hectic and unorganized. I do think that this is part of the beauty of this movie, though, and it’s chaos did not completely ruin the film.

I found myself equally loving and being incredibly frustrated by the antagonists in The Lego Movie 2. The villains were a combination of DUPLOS, explosive hearts, stars, and other random characters. They brought even more imagination to this universe, as they are controlled by a younger kid. Every aspect of them is adorable, from their starry eyes, to their high voices, to barfing glitter after spinning too much. They do not show the same maturity as the other characters, and defy normal survival standards by claiming, “you missed me,” when the protagonists really did not. They are manipulative through their adorableness, yet contain unexpectedly destructive capabilities. All antagonists reside in the “systar system,” a play on the idea that they come from Finn’s sister.

The LEGO movies are, at their core, connections to the real world today. They show what we care about, how we feel, and put everything together in an extremely fun presentation. Hilarious references to popular culture made The Lego Movie 2 feel just like The Lego Movie, but an updated version for current times. The references were countless, tied in well to the story well, and made it that much more entertaining. The film brought in Justice League characters from DC, and even included the most recent addition to the DC universe, Aquaman. It mentions movies like The Matrix and Back to the Future, bands like Radiohead, and celebrities like Oprah and Bruce Willis. Batman can be seen flossing, to his own horror, when catchy music starts to play in the systar system. Also, the film references Harry Potter by saying Emmet is a Hufflepuff.

All of these small, subtle notations make LEGO movies so special because they bring together so many elements of our culture into one place. They capture where our society is at this time, and recognize so many elements of pop culture. It may just be a kid’s movie, but I believe the LEGO movies are a way to recognize what is popular today. From films to dance moves, these movies document who we are, so we can have a fun way to look back at all these trends when they are things of the past.

Just as The Lego Movie 2 makes little things look big, the little details of this film add to a larger quality. The scratches and paint chips on the LEGO figures show that they are not perfect, they are toys, and they are worn from being played with so much. Although most of the film is shown from the direct perspective of being in the LEGO universe, taking a step back is equally as fun. Once in a while, a spaceship would be hung from a string to show how the kids make them fly, reminding the audience of what the true reality is. Additionally, the continuation of showing the characters’ understanding of the physical world makes the film feel more creative and unique. For example, characters pronounce “bin of storage” incorrectly in a similar way to how President Business referred to objects in his Hall of Relics in The Lego Movie.

We can make it more awesome if we remember we’re not alone in this world. We’re in this together.”

— Emmet

Once again, The Lego Movie 2 puts major world problems and life lessons into an entertaining form. The Lego Movie is an allegory for anti-communism, and has similar qualities to George Orwell’s novel, 1984. This time, the characters are searching for unity, as it is the only way to escape their impending doom. It speaks of having an imperfect world, one that can only progress if everyone sticks together. It shows that people have different points of view, but common goals. Emmet talks about the imperfections of his society, saying, “We can make it more awesome if we remember we’re not alone in this world. We’re in this together.”

There was an unexpected theme of growing up in this film. It felt similar to Toy Story 3 in the sense that it spikes nostalgia through the inevitable process of getting older and leaving child-like ideas behind. Emmet once again as a new perspective on this, by instead speaking of how it is not always a bad thing. He says, “I will grow up and see the world differently, which isn’t bad, it’s inspiring.”

In under two hours, The Lego Movie 2 is a packed, action-filled journey. Although not starting off strong, it redeems itself with its plot twist, references, and hidden messages. It takes serious things, and puts them into a positive form, all while capturing elements of our culture today. I rate The Lego Movie 2 a three out of five stars, as it was not as good as its predecessor. However, it is still worth the watch, and a lot of fun.