Diminishing Returns: Our Review of ‘The Lego Movie 2’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - February 10, 2019
Diminishing Returns: Our Review of ‘The Lego Movie 2’

Everything is…fine?

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part reunites the heroes of Bricksburg in an all new action-packed adventure to save their beloved city. It’s been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are now facing a huge new threat: LEGO DUPLO® invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than it can be rebuilt. The battle to defeat the invaders and restore harmony to the LEGO universe will take Emmet (Chris Pratt), Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett) and their friends to faraway, unexplored worlds, including a strange galaxy where everything is a musical. It will test their courage, creativity and Master Building skills, and reveal just how special they really are.

Yeah it’s all a lot of fun and hits the expected beats and even though this is the ‘official sequel’ to the first film, after Lego Batman & Lego Ninjago the jokes, while still effective are starting to get a little tired.

With director Mike Mitchell taking over the reins from Chris Lord and Phil Miller (who still wrote the script and stay on as producers) the film is still in solid hands as it looks quite good and has a solid flow about it all.  The problem really is that it is just a recycling of an old formula, granted it’s a really good formula but you do get a little bored with it all pretty fast.

Adding a little more of a live action element from the previous installment did allow the material a little bit more of a chance to breathe and gave us a valuable narrative about not only the magic of playing and using your imagination but making sure to play with others to inspire them with the worlds that we can create inside our imaginations as well.

The animation is strong and even the transition into making big chunks of the film into various musical numbers is entertaining enough but the entire experience of the film really does feel like it is all just going through the motions.  It just might be one of the most entertaining ‘paycheck’ jobs which this has to be for so many of the people involved.  There’s still plenty of jokes for the kids and the adults but it all plays so safely that the entire thing has a problem rising above a level that is just ‘good enough’.

There’s a great dynamic between Chris Pratt and Elizabeth Banks and they continue where they left off from the first installment but the rest of the ensemble gets buried with them and the burgeoning pairing of Will Arnett as Lego Batman and Tiffany Haddish as Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi which takes up a lot of air in the narrative.  Even Pratt doing double duty here as Rex Dangervest doesn’t feel all that inspired as the script riffs on his previous roles in other films.  When Maya Rudolph as the live action Mom actually ends up feeling like one of the highlights of the film then you might have a problem with too many characters and just not enough for all of them to do anything.

Ultimately, there’s really nothing wrong with The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part but there’s not that much right with it as it all plays out as more of an obligation then a genuine creative endeavour, which means that the format and style of these films just might be getting a little played out.

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David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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