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‘The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part’ (review)

Produced by Dan Lin, Phil Lord,
Christopher Miller, Roy Lee, Jinko Gotoh

Screenplay by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Story by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller,
Matthew Fogel

Based on Lego Construction Toys
Directed by Mike Mitchell
Starring Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks,
Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish,
Stephanie Beatriz, Charlie Day,
Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Maya Rudolph

 

2014’s The Lego Movie was surprisingly entertaining for an hour and 40 minute toy commercial. It’s witty writing was the very definition of “meta” while having a chewy morel center at the heart of it’s story that somehow avoided being saccharine.

So, how do you follow up the super-successful hit that was The Lego Movie?  You do everything that worked in the first film and turn it up to 11 times 2.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part picks up right as the first film ends, with the invasion of the Duplo blocks invasion. The destruction of the city ushers in a Mad Max-esque era. A dystopian society rises from ashes, and everyone has adapted to the dog-eat-dog world except for our loveable, innocent Emmett (Chris Pratt) who still tries to see the awesome in everything.

When Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett) and the rest of Emmett’s friends are kidnapped by a new invader, General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz), Emmett must find his inner tough guy to save his friends and stop the Momapcolypse.

Writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have outdone themselves. I have literally never seen a film pack as many pop-culture references into such a small time frame as The Lego Movie 2.

Yet, through a combination of clever writing and good delivery, the jokes never become groan worthy. Instead they land every time to get that laugh. There is enough kinetic, visual stimuli to keep kids entertain, but the comedy writing is all for the adults and comes at such a brutal pace that I sometimes missed the punchline of the next joke because the laughter from the previous joke hadn’t died down. There are Easter Eggs for comic fans, cinegeeks, and lovers of all pop culture.

Predictably, the filmmakers still deliver their chewy moral center. Where the first film was all about finding that inner child and not letting growing up keep you from seeing the fun in life, Lego 2 approaches it from the other angle of a child like innocence giving away to exploring or having to deal with a grittier world.

I actually saw a parent leaving the theater explaining to their son that sometimes not everything is awesome, but it’s getting through it with your friends and family that makes things better. I never thought I would see an 8 year old have an existential crisis from watching the Lego Movie. Good art starts conversations. This probably won’t be the typical moviegoers experience, but it was still a cool thing to see happen.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part avoids the downfall of being a sequel that loses the charm of its predecessor. It far surpasses The Lego Batman Movie spin off, and is as good as the original The Lego Movie.

I give it a solid 22.

 

 

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