Who wasn’t surprised and delighted by The LEGO Movie when it sort of came out of nowhere a few years ago? An animated film based on a line of toys, it had every right to be an utter cash grab with few in the way of redeeming qualities. Instead, it was creative, hilarious, and touching, with a wealth of emotion buried beneath the surface. Now, Friday brings the inevitable sequel in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, which can’t fully recapture the magic, though still offers plenty for fans of the first one. Lightning hasn’t struck twice, keep that in mind, but the end result is undoubtedly a lot of fun.
Obviously, this is a sequel to The LEGO Movie. Set five years after the first one, Bricksburg is full on under siege by the threat that the DUPLO invaders represent. Everything is decidedly not awesome, though Emmet Brickowski (voice of Chris Pratt) keeps on keeping on. Everyone else, especially Lucy (voice of Elizabeth Banks), has adjusted to a world closer to Mad Max. Then, an even newer danger emerges, leading many of our beloved characters to venture out into space, in order to save the day. Obviously, it will ultimately be up to Emmet, as well as what’s going on in the real world. but the charm remains in seeing these silly characters all bouncing off of one another. Mike Mitchell directs a script that Matthew Fogel penned with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Mark Mothersbaugh contributes the score, while the supporting voice cast includes the likes of Will Arnett, Ike Barinholtz, Stephanie Beatriz, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Will Ferrell, Ralph Fiennes, Will Forte, Tiffany Haddish, Jonah Hill, Jason Momoa, Nick Offerman, Maya Rudolph, Cobie Smulders, Channing Tatum, and Bruce Willis, plus Brooklynn Prince in a live action role.
Though not as stunning as the first one, this is still a very fun kids flick that adults can also easily enjoy. The movie has heart to spare, some major laughs, and doubles up on the live action elements that gave The LEGO Movie its extra oomph. There’s a degree of diminishing returns, to be sure, and this film loses steam around the midway point, but it recovers before all is said and done. It’s a good example of how something so surprising can never be duplicated. At the same time, the visuals are so carefully executed and the style is so enjoyable, the complaints are few and far between.
Quietly, Lord and Miller have become forces in the world of animation. Between The LEGO Movie, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, and especially Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, they’ve fueled animated works with a creativity and uniqueness that we just don’t see elsewhere. Pixar sits on the animated throne, though you can make the case that right below them are whatever Lord and Miller choose to do in the cartoon world. They truly are visionaries. When this flick is “lesser” Lord and Miller, you know they’re doing something very right. Whatever they choose to do next, with either franchise, they will have my full attention.
On Friday, audiences who loved The LEGO Movie will almost certainly be up for more adventures with Emmet and company when The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part opens up. The originality of the first one won’t be the same here, but more of the same is what we’ve got on hand. That may end up wearing thin eventually, but for now, it’s still largely a delight. Lord and Miller are a reliable brand in animation now, so they’re names here in the credits should be more than enough for you. Go see it and prepare to spend much of the running time with a big smile on your face…
Be sure to check out The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, in theaters everywhere this weekend!