Everything is average, everything is lame when it feels unnecessary.
Following from the closing moments of the first film, the constructed heroes do battle against the cutesy forces from the Sis-star System, and only grisly determination can overcome the cuteness.
Warning: this review contains overblown praise for the first Lego Movie.
This film is a great example of “try-hard”. 2014’s The Lego Movie was a startling success with both critics and audiences, with a lunatic animation style, a peppy musical number with “Everything is Awesome”, and a surprisingly compelling theme within. Even the hardest critic can surely see that movie as a great definition of what the product is about, without being brutally marketable.
It really, really didn’t ask for a sequel.
Lego has had a massive urge of attention since 2014. We’ve had The Lego Batman Movie, as well as The Ninjago Movie, and of course heaps of video games with huge intellectual properties attached to them. It is quite hard to ignore now. So when this sequel rolled around, there was a sense of “is this necessary?”
Perhaps what is most obvious about the new movie, is how manic it is. Now the 2014 feature has already been described as “lunatic” in this review, but be assured; this is more. A little like the first film had snorted a whole packet of glitter. We are onset by one manic battle followed by another, immediately, as our heroes bafflingly turn their world into a Mad Max style dystopia to combat the brainwashing powers of the invaders from Sis-Star. Everyone except Emmet, who just can’t drop his upbeat nature. Or can he?
The reality of it is… the film isn’t as clever as it thinks it is, and tries and fails to make lightning strike twice. Perhaps returning writers (but not as directors) Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were at odds with their experiences with Solo: A Star Wars Story at the same time as writing this mediocre script. Okay, so all the places in the real world are known to our Lego heroes, so they have silly names: Sis-Star System, The Stairgate, and something else like The Un-Dar The Dry-Ar System… but do you have to keep repeating these names constantly in the script? I felt like I was suffering from a stroke.
And when the writing got really bad… it was during songs. Songs that I could barely tell what was being said, except for the woefully bad “This Song Will Get Stuck in Your Head” (or title to that effect). You know the barrel is being scraped when your sequel can’t make a catchy song when required by your plot, when the previous film had “Everything is Awesome”. A song that literally everyone was singing for weeks afterwards. Honestly, I forgot this new catchy song while it was playing.
So, with unfunny jokes, bad songs, and a story that falls woefully below the first film’s premise, is there anything good?
Well, there are great little throwaway gags scattered throughout. Like when we see a wide shot of a space ship flying through space, it is shown as a tiny Lego ship wobbling across the screen on a bit of string. That was adorable. The raptors were pretty fun too, and of course the whole aesthetic is still charming like the first film. The animation is still solid, the performances were good despite the material (although was Will Farrell really too busy to provide voice work for this??)
Really, giving this a 3/5 is a blessing. For kids this is a great time, but if you are looking for the same magic as back in 2014 you won’t find it here.
Just watch the first one again, it will be just as awesome as before!