“Everything’s not awesome…,” half-way through the second act of The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, some characters join forces in a choir to sing this bleak rendition of Oscar-nominated ‘Everything Is Awesome.’ At some points, the chant admits what might have gone wrong with the direct sequel of Christopher Miller & Phil Lord’s 2014 masterwork. However, the lyrics that follows—“…doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try… to make everything awesome…”—confidently shows how this sequel acknowledges its weakness and making a leap out of it, then moves on with its awesomeness that hasn’t rusted off.
After three similarly LEGO-based movies (including the first LEGO Movie, The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie), a feeling of LEGO Movie fatigue begins to take its toll. While the winning formula—comprising of clever pop-culture references; slick word-plays consisting of rhymes, palindromes, idiosyncrasies; and intriguing visual details with carefully staging set-pieces (for both action and comedy part)—still works, the sense of thought-provoking from the first movie has never arrived again (even in the deadpan character study of Batman). The most apparent proof is that panned Ninjago (a.k.a. a reminder that the creative team behind LEGO franchise should come up with fresher ideas soon, or the whole franchise will sink quicker than it became a hit).
The good news is: the creative team learns. Miller & Lord stepped down from the directorial duty, but they are still working as producers and in the writing department. Meanwhile, the director’s chair is passed on to Mike Mitchell (Shrek Forever After, Trolls), whose creative mind has helped a number of Hollywood’s finest animated movies. Miller & Lord’s influence is strong with this one as they literally let the audiences see their SWOT analysis panels, which they injected into the narrative.
The LEGO Movie 2 models its kick-starter after the big revelation in the first movie—laying the foundation of the story upfront. From there, the movie radically changes the setting and the tone. Since the Duplo invasion (as seen in the final scene of the first movie), the cheerful and vibrant Bricksburg is no more; it evolves into the grim, bleak Apocalypseburg where everyone’s full of sorrow. Everyone’s hardened, but one—Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt), the ‘Special’ from the first movie. Meanwhile, a new shape-shifting enemy arises from Systar System threatening the life of Apocalypseburg’s citizen (including Will Arnett’s Batman, Lucy Wyldstyle, Benny the Spaceman, Princess Unikitty, and MetalBeard the Pirate—all recurring characters). At the same time, an apocalyptic nightmare of Our-Mom-Ageddon starts haunting Emmet. All those plot-points are reflecting the early flashback on the beginning of the movie.
Lord & Miller, with certain kinds of confidence, mocks up the trend of making darker sequel, while at the same time, criticizes how people often lose their inner-child for the sake of growing up. Therefore, they created a new character that becomes the antithesis of Emmet while at the same time becomes closely attached to him, Rex Dangervest (also voiced by Pratt). This new character adds another layer to the story and to the movie’s joke-fest (Imagine a character that amalgamates all Chris Pratt’s on-screen personas); at the same time, Rex becomes an integral character to bring up Lord & Miller’s mission to launch their criticism.
With crowded word-play, iconic comedic moments and stop-motion details as in the predecessor, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is a solid proof that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are the new kings of FUN. All the major credit goes to the feats; without neglecting Mike Mitchell, whose exhilarating direction works perfectly for the younger audiences while Lord & Miller’s script works for the older audiences.
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)
Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Sequel Directed by: Mike Mitchell Written by: Christopher Miller, Phil Lord Starred by: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish Runtime: 107 mins