When Christopher Miller and Philip Lord introduced The Lego Movie back in 2014, the imagery, pop culture humor, and overall entertainment factor hit a premium level.
Stellar voice work from the likes Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, and Will Ferrell contributed to the filmmakers' vision and ability to transcend human morals and emotion inside a film stuffed with toys. Make-believe at its finest. When done right, an animated film can crack the surface of ideals and poignant values that live-action films sometimes can't accomplish.
Well, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part doesn't hit that high. In fact, it's quite a bore and may register as the longest 106 minutes I've spent in a movie theater in quite some time.
Before you launch a cinematic heart with a sweet voice spear at my head, let's talk about the plot.
The sequel picks up five years after Emmett Brickowski saved the LEGO universe from an evil tyrant with the help of Lucy (Banks) and Batman (Will Arnett, stealing the show every time). Things don't look as hopeful these days, because if you remember correctly, Ferrell's live-action dad told his son who had just found his LEGO universe in the basement-his sister had to come downstairs and play too.
The result is LEGO invaders who threaten the utopia that Emmett and Lucy helped build, and a new war between the residents (including The Justice League and good old Abe Lincoln) and the sweet-talking yet dangerous invaders.
Commence the shoulder shrug.
Look, it's not a bad movie, but I can't find a lot of reasons to call it a good one and worth your time. Here, the writing isn't as sharp and the directing seems phoned in, like someone walking up to a world built by someone else, and finding it hard to play with.
Miller and Lord handed off the directing duties to Mike Mitchell while retaining the screenplay rights, but nothing new is introduced here. The cool ideas and inside jokes are tired and grow redundant by the 45-minute mark, and the imagery isn't as sharp as the first one. There's no dazzle here, and the lack of creativity in the "message" doesn't help.
Along the way, Emmett meets Rex Dangervest, an intergalactic warrior who aims to help him save the day against the invaders and their leader (Tiffany Haddish), who is trying to get Batman to marry her for unspecified reasons.
The film builds up to a grand finale and big battle between the two groups of LEGOs and then a fizzling climax just drowns all the fun out of the movie. A late plot twist (yes this film actually has one) is lame and doesn't add much to the plot. Again, a shoulder shrug will commence. I checked my watch an hour into this film and felt like I was watching Th Godfather 3 in LEGO form.
The endgame moral of the story doesn't differ from the first film, and can be better understood in a higher quality product such as The Incredibles 2 or either of the Toy Story films. Those were sequels that were uplifting, enjoyable, and added more stakes and sizzle to the party instead of presenting retreaded material and yearning for laughs from old jokes.
The voice work is just fine. Once again, Arnett fares the best, churning the most laughter from lines that seem to mean the same thing, but still register a laugh due to the delivery. There's a reason his character got his own movie and it did very well. Batman, against all odds, is just entertaining and carries plenty of room for comedy in its persona. In any form, it's worth a watching.
In the end, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part felt forced and tacked on, created for profit and not the allure of creativity. Some jokes hit the mark and got a laugh, but most of them missed. The end wasn't satisfying, and it was too long. You could have trimmed at least 15-20 minutes off this thing, and possibly produced a better movie.
Oh, and this one is a part-time musical, soaking up too many scenes with needless singing. Also, the "catchy" song in this film isn't that good and if it sticks in your mind, I apologize. That just had to stop.
While the first film was suitable for the enjoyment of just about any age, the sequel seems directed mostly at kids, and that's fine. After all, LEGOS are most enjoyed by young ones who just want something visually stunning to look at and be taken away for a little while.
Having said that, my son got restless towards the end, was tired of the singing as well, so maybe this one isn't even worth a child's time.
By the time the morning rolled around, I had mostly forgotten about The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. I remember watching it, but not much about it.
It was quite forgettable.