I don’t know what it is about Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, but it seems that they can do no wrong. After helming The Lego Movie back in 2014, they continue to make monster hits that have won fans over, time and time again. Even the Academy has finally come around to their talents as 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse is their first film to earn what some would say is a long overdue Oscar nomination. Now, this dynamic duo has come together again to build on their original story of Emmet and Lucy.
Five years after a strange alien race has invaded the bright and colourful town of Bricksburg and left it an apocalyptic wasteland, Emmet (Chris Pratt) still thinks everything is awesome. However a mysterious figure known as General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz), takes Lucy (Elizabeth Banks) and all of Emmet’s closest friends to suspicious Queen Whatevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish). This springs Emmet into action as he must journey through space with the chisled and heroic Rex Dangerface (also Pratt) to stop the queen’s plans and save his friends.
From the very start, we are presented with a different kind of Bricksburg. The Mad Max styled world has angst in its air and a much darker atmosphere, that is until Emmet comes into the picture and becomes the magical heart and soul of this film. There’s something about the innocence and positive outlook on life he has that brings a smile to my face with his presence alone. He’s voiced perfectly by Pratt once again and his talents are doubled up with him also voicing Rex, who is pretty much the Lego amalgamation of Pratt’s best known roles. Together, the two make some fun meta humor and add some interesting conflict that comes in the third act.
The rest of the voice cast bring some laughs and fun moments, but also contribute some lacklustre songs and cameo-heavy humour that doesn’t always come off. While the remixes of “Everything is Awesome” are interesting and the songs work with the direction the story is going, the new songs lack a memorable punch. Haddish, Banks, and company do bring some laughs within the songs, but they never really stick, which doesn’t say much for a song titled “Catchy Song”.
I also found myself questioning who The Lego Movie 2 actually aims for. There’s plenty slapstick comedy and cute, funny moments that younger kids will enjoy, but a lot of the references feel more geared towards adults or older teens. While the twenty something in me enjoys a Die-Hard reference, an incredibly funny sequence of raptors talking about Wi-Fi passwords, and all of the DC comics references, I’m not really sure if it will resonate with the younger audience that the Lego movies are usually geared towards.
Even with these issues, The Lego Movie 2 wins over because of the thematic connections to the live-action world that are incredibly touching. Instead of focusing on the relationship between Finn (Jadon Sand) and his father (Will Ferrell) again, the focus is on an older Finn and his sister Bianca (Brooklynn Prince) and their rivalry to control the story. The way their story and Emmet’s adventure connect is clever and there are subtle hints to their connections throughout the film.
This also builds towards the film’s major theme of working through tough times with a positive attitude – even when everything isn’t going to plan. Displaying this through a troubled sibling relationship is great and the message is inspiring to anyone at any age and timely given the tough social climate. Not to mention, it is mirrored perfectly with Emmet and Lucy’s discovery of what makes them great and leads to an ending that is both final and uplifting.