Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Attack the Blocks: “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” is a Solid Follow-Up

Fair warning: there is a song in “The LEGO Movie 2” that is called “Catchy Song.” It’s a catchy song. It contains the lyrics This song will get inside your head. It did. And I’m ok with it. I’d also be ok if the Academy nominates it at next year’s Oscars and opens the show with it whether it’s nominated or not. In fact there are many new songs in this second LEGO film and they’re all fantastic and fun tunes. It’s probably because the film’s story while still pretty fun and original has a bit of a been-there-done-that feel after the astonishing originality of the first film. There are sequels that are better than the first film but they’re never quite as original. “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” does pretty much hit it out of the park thankfully.

If you recall from the end of the first film, everything is awesome again in the world of LEGO and Emmet (Chris Pratt) and Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) are happy together. Until the Duplo toys show up. In a uniqe reveal in the first film, the animated world we’re witnessing is actually a live action boy playing with his LEGOs. In the end he’s forced to allow his younger sister to play which is where the second film picks up. Now these jumbo, pastel blocks begin attacking Emmet and his friends until they’re living in a desolate “Max Max” post-apocalyptic wasteland. Then a mysterious general shows up to kidnap Batman as he’s gonna be forced to marry Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish).

As much as things in this sequel feel like “oh we’ve seen this clever meta humor before” (and for the record this is now the fourth theatrically released LEGO movie) there is still plenty of unique material to be had here. Haddish lends her delightful and memorable voice to Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (and even sings!) and is one of the most unique and fun characters to come out of this entire franchise. She’s a really cool shape-shifting alien creature that is really cleverly designed. I’ll credit co-writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, writers and directors of the first entry (Mike Mitchell took directing reigns this time around) who must be two of the most creative people working in Hollywood today. The clever things they’re able to stuff this film with is pretty amazing. They don’t quite outdo the first film but there is certainly no sophomore slump to be found here. If anything doesn’t work it’s because there’s a lack of sheer surprise that we got the first time around. But there’s so much good material here – story-wise and character-wise – including expanding the role of the live action characters in a really fun and meaningful way.

“The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” is a fantastic sequel. All the returning and new voice actors are great. The songs are fun. The animation is gorgeous. And even if its just “a cartoon”, adults will probably love it even more than their kids. Seeing the first film is probably a must before moving on to this entry but who hasn’t seen the first film at this point? That film, like everything, including this far out sequel, is awesome.  GRADE: A-