The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)

The Lego Movie 2 The Second Part.jpgDirector: Mike Mitchell
Runtime: 107 Minutes
Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Maya Rudolph, Jadon Sand, Brooklynn Prince, Will Ferrell, Richard Ayoade, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Cobie Smulders, Jason Momoa, Ike Barinholtz, Ralph Fiennes, Will Forte, Bruce Willis, Ben Schwartz, Jimmy O. Yang, Noel Fielding, Jorma Taccone, Gary Payton, Sheryl Swoopes

It's hard to believe that five whole years have passed since Phil Lord and Christopher Miller took the popular Danish construction toys, and somehow turned into a feature film success. Much like the other successful Chris Pratt film of 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy, there's already an uphill battle for the sequel not being able to deliver on that element of surprise which made it feel so fresh, and be the joyous surprise it was. But that doesn't mean the sequel has nothing to offer, far from it.

Carrying on from the previous film's ending, the Duplo invaders have turned Bricksburg into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Everyone has hardened to accumulate to their new landscape, except for Emmett (Chris Pratt), who has remained as cheerful and upbeat as ever. When an invading force takes Lucy, Batman, Metalbeard, Benny, and Unikitty (Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day and Alison Brie), Emmett teams up with an adventurer named Rex Dangervest (also Chris Pratt) to save those close to him, and prevent an Apocalypse from consuming everyone.

This time around, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have taken a step back from directing, instead serving as producers and screenwriters, while the directorial reins have been passed onto Mike Mitchell, whose main contributions have been studio mandated sequels. One can't help but feel this has had a knock-on effect, resulting in a feature that isn't as adventurous, with a gag rate that should hit higher than it does. Granted, there are a great deal of funny moments (such as a brilliant reference to Marvel not being a part of these films), but when this series has previously woven inventiveness and hilarity so seamlessly, an out of date Twilight gag feels disappointing. Thankfully, it's more successful when addressing the themes, tackling toxic masculinity oh so well, while the narrative is centred this time around sibling relationships, in a manner that feels rather real.

One aspect that hasn't changed is how visually stylish it all is, as the brick built locations and the characters are wonderfully brought alive. It's an aspect that works well alongside the great characterisation, as we see the changes this harsh lifestyle has had upon these characters we had previously grown close to, while serving as a terrific parody of sequels going darker, brooding heroes, and the like. While Lucy embraces the lifestyle, Emmett keeps looking on the bright side of life, and their respective journeys lead to them assessing their outlooks, and what can constitute "growing up". This makes it a shame so many of the supporting characters are given so little to do, feeling just like extraneous faces in the landscape. Although, credit where it's due, Bruce Willis is wonderful in his limited screentime.

At one point, Lucy reacts to the vocal stylings of Tiffany Haddish by commenting "Is this a musical?". Her assessment is correct, as following on from the earworm that was 2014's "Everything is Awesome", the feature is packed with a wonderful assortment of original tunes, and a couple of different takes on the aforementioned hit song. It's a wonderful attempt to set this film apart from its predecessor, with the appropriately titled "Catchy Song" sure to get stuck inside your head. Special mention is also reserved for "Super Cool", an extremely witty tune which makes for a humorous time had over the end credits.

The laughs may not come at such a high rate, but The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part remains a wonderfully vibrant feature starring great characters, which brings thoughtful themes, and songs that'll stick inside your head.
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