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The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

Platform(s): Movie
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Warner Bros.
Developer: Warner Bros.
Release Date: Feb. 8, 2019


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Movie Review - 'The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part'

by Adam Pavlacka on Feb. 7, 2019 @ 2:00 a.m. PST

It's been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are facing a huge new threat: Lego Duplo invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than they can rebuild.

When "The LEGO Movie" was first announced, there was skepticism all around. Would it be good? Was it just a quick cash-in? How could you make a movie out of plastic bricks? In the end, the duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller delivered a story that was a winning combination of heartfelt emotion and exciting action. The sequel is a strong follow-up, but it doesn't quite match the high bar set by the original.

Starting where the first movie left off, we see the effects of the initial Duplo invaders before skipping five years to the present day. In the interim, Bricksburg has become a Mad Max-inspired wasteland, with nearly everyone having an edgy teenage vibe. Emmet (Chris Pratt) hasn't changed, though. He's still the happy-go-lucky kind of guy he always was: optimistic to a fault. Wanting to do something nice for Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), he builds a normal house in the wasteland of Apocalypseburg, which once again attracts invaders.

This time around, the invader is a LEGO minidoll, Sweet Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz) of the Systar system. She's there to capture the leaders of Apocalypseburg and bring them to her leader, Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi (Tiffany Haddish). Depending on your point of view, the Queen is either an evil tyrant who's attempting to bring about the end of the world or a caring ruler who's trying to save her people. It is that duality that is at the center of the film, as the underlying story is about the conflict between an older brother and a younger sister.

For the most part, the parallel storylines — what's happening at LEGO scale and what's happening in the real world — both work, but neither has the heart of the original, when young Finn had to help his dad relearn the value of play. A big part of that is this movie's hesitation to dig below the surface.

There are a number of allusions to bullying, feeling left out, and the harm that can cause, but none of them are really addressed in detail. The real-world conflict between Finn and his sister would have been a perfect vehicle to drill into and still come out with a solid story. Yes, it would've been a risk, but it would've been one worth taking. Instead, Lord and Miller played it safe with the story, keeping the major threat one of Ourmomageddon (AKA mom is going to be pissed if the kids can't behave).

The animation in "The LEGO Movie 2" is just as fantastic as it was in all the other LEGO movies, with every individual brick piece being rendered. No, the sets weren't all built in real life, but they were built virtually in the computer before being animated. It's an extra level of attention to detail, and it shows.

With that said, the music is another area where the second film falls short of the original. Try as they might, the "Catchy Song" is nowhere near as memorable as "Everything is Awesome." Walking out of the film, I found myself thinking of the remix of "Everything is Awesome" that is used near the end of the movie, rather than the new "Catchy Song."

Because the world of LEGO lives in the imagination of the real-world characters, a number of pop culture references appear throughout. Bruce Willis makes a cameo as a LEGO minifig in an air duct (a reference to "Die Hard"). There are "sparkle vampires" (hello, "Twilight") and plenty of time travel name-dropping ("Back to the Future," "Doctor Who", "Hot Tub Time Machine"). It's a cute take on how a pre-teen or a teen would see the world.

As an adult fan of LEGO, I've enjoyed all of the films, and if I had to rank them, it would be (from best to worst) "The LEGO Movie," "The LEGO Movie 2," "The LEGO Ninjago Movie," and "The LEGO Batman Movie." The screening was filled with kids, and I don't think they cared about rankings. The entire audience seemed to enjoy the film, with plenty of cheers and laughs throughout.

Ultimately, that's what really matters when it comes to "The LEGO Movie 2": what the kids think. As an adult, there's more than enough here to keep you entertained, even if you never saw the other films. If you have kids, they're probably going to love it.

Score: 7.5/10

"The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part" is rated PG and has a running time of 1 hour and 46 minutes. It will be showing in 2-D, 3-D, IMAX, and IMAX 3D.

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