Better, if not as spectacular a follow-up is a surefire winner.
It’s hard to do the same trick twice.
With as many bricks and spaceships and metal beards to play with, you’d think that’d be the case with The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, but if you’re looking for director Mike Mitchell to do the same sleight of hand, then you’re on the mark.
Five years after the end of The Lego Movie, the lego citizens of Apocalyseburg (formerly Bricksburg) are at odds with the Duplo aliens and the new Systar System. Metaphorically, this film focuses on the disconnect between brother and sister instead of father and son. The stakes are higher with a sibling blood feud between the two civilizations. If a treaty isn’t brokered, Ar-mom-ageddon will happen.
Oh, yeah, and it’s a musical.
Written by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, the story is an organic and logical progression from the original. Not as many Lego jokes, sure, but the meta, fourth-dimensional jokes about the film’s entire premise is the stronger choice. Nice touch also to have multiple points of view as the narrator. It’s the little things that make this story better. Not having to worry about the world building of the film and the Lego world within that, every bit of the film is used to serve the main conflict. With that, we get to double down on the emotion while slightly expanding the worlds. The musical component breaks up the adult headiness with some childish glee. “Catchy Song” is Oscar-worthy
The voice acting is top notch. Kevin Conroy aside, Will Arnett may be my favorite Batman. Tiffany Haddish is an unconventional and inspired choice for Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi. Elizabeth Banks does the yeoman’s work as the voice of the audience, but let’s be honest, Chris Pratt is the star here. To play, not one but two, one-dimensional lunkheads that are as memorable as Emmet Brickowski and Rex Dangervest is truly outstanding. It’s like having a power pitcher who’s change-up is more killer than the fastball. Stay for the credits to catch who’s who.
Director Mike Mitchell does more than keeping the LEGO ship afloat. It has the Lord and Miller inside jokes but has more of an emotional depth; you see that more than anything. Slowing down the frenetic pace from the first film, you understand more of the jokes than understand that a joke is being thrown at you. With that, you understand the story rather than have a story wash over you.
Less shock and awe, more style and substance, “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” is an efficient slow-burn of a great movie.