The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

They come in pieces.

Trolls director Mike Mitchell helms this sequel to the smash-hit original, with Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett and Tiffany Haddish among the stellar cast.

LEGO DUPLO® invaders come from outer space, wrecking everything faster than they can rebuild. The battle to defeat them and restore harmony to the LEGO universe will take Emmet (Pratt), Lucy (Banks), Batman (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.

After the creative, comedic and emotional highlights of 2014’s The LEGO Movie, this sequel had a lot to live up to. But even when factoring in the difficulty of lightning striking twice, The Second Part still comes as a colossal disappointment. Where its predecessor captured the joy of playing with LEGO and was filled with an overload of anarchic, irrepressible humour this sequel feels laboured in its worldbuilding and—damningly—barely elicited a couple of chuckles out of me.

The LEGO Movie’s conclusion saw DUPLO invaders arrive in Bricksburg, the consequence of live-action kid Finn having his sister sent to play with him in “the real world”. Picking up from this point, The LEGO Movie 2 quickly sees Bricksburg reduced to the dystopian Apocalypseburg by the visitors, the film riffing hard on post-apocalyptic vibes including most prominently Mad Max: Fury Road, in what will prove hardly the last of many references destined to sail over kids’ heads. Which would be fine if jokes were landing, but the barrage of humour writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller brought to the first film is depressingly absent, despite the pair sharing some writing credits (re-writing credits, it seems) with the LEGO Ninjago series' Hageman Brothers here. Visual gags, puns and non-sequiturs abound, but just don’t land right, and tend to amuse at best.

Will Ferrell’s fun-police character Lord Business (aka Dad) was an inspired element of the first LEGO film, but sadly this installment’s narrative struggles with a tale of siblings playing—and struggling to play—with one another. Where deviations into live action elevated the original, here they come as a grind, and while the theme of sibling play will be relevant to many viewers, its execution here leaves a lot to be desired.

There are still a bunch of enjoyable moments. Will Arnett is always a quality Batman (even when finding himself stuck in one of several sub-par musical numbers), Chris Pratt has a great time taking the mickey out of his action hero personas, and Elizabeth Banks’ Wyldstyle continues to be an inspirational hero, even if she’s not quite the brooding bad-ass she makes herself out to be.

But tellingly, if the end credits are one of the highlights (not because they signal the end of a bad time, but because The Lonely Island rapping about the contents of the credits amid a Beck and Robyn song is great) then that kinda says it all. Two chuckles is not nearly enough to get out of this—and a surprisingly quiet audience seemed to concur.

Hollywood Reporter

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Proves every bit as repetitive and uninspired as its glib title, bringing little that's fresh or funny to the interlocking brick table despite boasting a script penned by originators Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.

The Guardian

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The second Lego Movie is even better than the original: a sophisticated new adventure that gives us a new look at how the universality of the Lego universe was more gendered than we thought.

Variety (USA)

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What amounts to a really entertaining feature-length commercial.

Los Angeles Times

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"The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part" becomes an amusingly derivative space opera, where the hallways and stairwells of an American suburban home become portals to so much intergalactic mayhem.

New York Times

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What distinguishes this from the better Lego movies is that they're good commercials.

Rolling Stone

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Is Lego 2 as good as the original? Not really. Few things take the bloom off a creative concept like a sequel. But the movie has a knack for throwing pop-culture references at the screen with a wild abandon that's hard to resist.

New Yorker

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Viewers reared on "The Lego Movie" will find plenty to nourish them anew.

Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)

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This is an animated adventure that demands your attention and doesn't let it go.

Catering more for a younger audience, it entertains but nothing actually happens...

Now the first Lego Movie was hugely successful, The Lego Batman Movie was pretty good, and The Lego Ninjago Movie was adequate. With a gradual downward trend in quality, I went into this film uncertain of what to expect. While it doesn't have the same impact that the first film did, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is certainly on par with The Lego Batman Movie at a minimum.

Following on as a direct sequel to the first Lego Movie the film adds another dimension with the introduction of a new source of characters. For those that have forgotten, the entire first film was effectively a story acted out in the imagination of eight-and-a-half-year-old Finn. In this sequel, as parents do, they encourage Finn's younger sister to join in and we get an actual dimension added in the form of the "Systar" System.

While a direct sequel, it goes through a quick timelapse with the majority of the film taking place 5 years in the future. A great decision by the writers, as this allows a shift in tone to occur with the human, Finn, growing from the happy-go-lucky eight-and-a-half-year-old, into an angsty teenager. His sister also growing up from the pre-Lego age. This allows a large quantity of relatable visual content to occur as we get to watch the various ways in which different age groups use the different Lego systems; from the simple Duplo to the added complexities of Lego and the more feminine Lego Friends.

Watching the film you can't help but be reminded of all the scenarios, buildings, and vehicles we would create in our youth. And for those that have siblings, you will know full well the battles that will frequently occur over who gets to play with what.

While an enjoyable film, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part isn't quite as mature as it's predecessor. There are certainly a few adult jokes that we would be glad that the kids cannot understand, but the movie as a whole has shifted more towards the younger audiences. There are still some good themes, looking a lot at not only family but at gender roles too. One thing that I can't get passed, is the nagging feeling that the end of the film was decided before the rest of the script. By this, I mean that many of the events feel like they were forcing the film in a certain direction, rather than being organic to the characters personalities.

Screenplay writers Lord & Miller try to throw off the audience by inserting various twists, like young M. Night Shyamalans; while they do catch you off-guard and surprise you, the execution of some of them leave a lot to be desired and end up reducing the effectiveness of the climax. It is the execution that really holds the film back from reaching its full potential. There are some great jokes, but there are also some lazy jokes and others that are poorly timed and fall flat. The storyline becomes rather convoluted in the third act, which is an odd direction considering the film seeming to target younger audiences. You can see what they were aiming for, but the way in which they went for it leaves a lot to be desired.

Overall, it's a fun film. It still has great moments, engaging characters, and it brings something new to what would have become an overused premise. Some creative song and dance numbers are also included which are well written lyrically, even if they are more common in the movie than you would have otherwise expected. It doesn't reach the peaks of originality that its predecessor was known for, but it does a great job at remaining relevant, having an endearing message, and keeping the young'uns in the audience squealing in glee throughout.