It’s been five years since the smash-hit ‘The Lego Movie‘ reached cinemas, garnering Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, winning the Bafta for Best Animated Film, and earning a 95% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Since then the pretty good Lego Batman Movie and pretty average Lego Ninjago Movie have followed, whilst we’ve waited for a proper sequel to the film that started the franchise.
With Phil Lord and Christopher Miller back in the writers’ chairs, exactly half a decade on the sequel has arrived. But is everything still awesome in Bricksburg?
‘The Lego Movie 2, The Second Part’ picks up exactly where the first ended, and exactly five years afterwards too, meaning real time and Bricksburg time are aligned. That’s quite important, but more on that later.
Finn, the boy whose imagination built the first story, has had allow his sister access his father’s impressive LEGO collection in the basement. The resultant Duplo invasion has led to the destruction of Bricksburg, and Emmett, Lucy (aka Wildsyle), Uni-Kitty, Batman, and a multitude of minor characters now live in the post-apocalyptic ruins under the constant threat of further invasion.
Emmett – hankering for the life he once knew – builds himself and Lucy a cottage outside the city, and unwittingly attracts the attention of one of the invaders, who promptly kidnaps the rest of the characters a departs through the ‘stairgate’ into another dimension…
Picking up exactly where the first instalment left off has a certain Back to the Future vibe, one that makes itself more apparent as the film progresses. Much of the original cast reprise their roles, with the addition of a slew of new characters joining them, voiced by Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Richard Ayoade, and many others.
The animation remains frenetic and joyous, quite unlike any other computer-animated franchise and all the better for it. There’s more time spent in ‘the real world’ too, with Maya Rudolf joining Will Ferrell in parental duties.
There are jokes aplenty, with more perhaps aimed at the adults in the audience than before, and there’s a wealth of movie references, from Mad Max, Mary Poppins, Superman and – as mentioned above – Back to the Future.
It’s this last reference that provides the story with its genius moment. We were wondering how ‘The Second Part’ could capture the twist of the first, and it’s safe to say that it does – with such surprising depth that we suspect it’ll be lost on The Lego Movie 2’s core audience, but we’re glad it’s there all the same.
Overall ‘The Second Part’ could never hope to appear as fresh and counter-cultural as the original ‘The Lego Movie’ did five years ago. However the ingenious explanation for Bricksburg’s troubles, a decision that Emmett must make that will resonate with every adult watching, and some of the catchiest (and cleverest) songs that cinema has ever created, make The Lego Movie 2 a gloriously enjoyable watch.
Watch it with an eye on the metaphors too, and you’ll be thinking it over for some time afterwards.