Movie Review: The LEGO Movie 2

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The LEGO Movie 2 is in cinemas from today (March 21st)

I was lucky enough to be able to attend one of the preview screenings for The LEGO Movie 2 before the official release. After all the previous drama about Australian delays it was great to able to see this at the same time as the rest of the world.

Read on for my take on the film. This review will be spoiler free and only discuss things that have been shown in the trailer and talk about the film in general terms. In a few days I will be doing a separate spoilery discussion for those of you who have seen the movie. Please keep spoilers out of the comments on this article.

This review does have spoilers for The LEGO Movie.

The LEGO Movie was a surprise hit. There was – justifiably – a lot of cynicism around a toy company producing a two hour long ad but the film overcame that to be a well loved family movie. With surprise hits come the inevitable sequels and with them the risk that the magic will be lost.

The story begins immediately after the end of the first film. The impact of the Duplo invaders is shown through a series of fun battles, before we go to a 5 year later time jump. The time jump allows the characters to be re-calibrated – by making them grittier and tougher. The world of Apocalypseburg is shown to be your typical post-apocalyptic wasteland where only the strong survive. Everybody is adapting to this new world except for Emmet, who has lost none of his goofy positivity. The fact that Emmet hasn’t adapted is one of the various sources of conflict in the film, as Lucy feels that he needs to change.

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Before you get to used to the apocalyptic setting a new threat arrives in the form of General Mayhem from the Systar System. I am a huge Friends fan so I love the inclusion of minidolls within the film. As a LEGO fan I appreciate the subtle things like making the minidolls move by jumping as they can’t separate their legs. It’s great attention to detail.

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General Mayhem kidnaps Metalbeard, Benny, Unikitty, Batman and Lucy; taking them back to the Systar System. This gives Emmet the incentive needed to take action.

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During his rescue mission Emmet runs in to Rex Dangervest. A new character also voiced by Chris Pratt and an amalgamation of his previous live action roles. Rex is everything that Emmet isn’t and everything people keep telling him he should be. He also has Raptors.

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The film isn’t a full on musical but there are some amazing musical numbers scattered through-out. I have actually been listening to the soundtrack online since seeing the movie because the songs are a heap of fun. I never knew I wanted a song about what its like to date Batman, but that exists now and I love it. The “Catchy Song” is just as a catchy as the name suggests.

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There are a variety of new characters added to this story and I think they do a good job of expanding the universe. I like that General Mayhem is a minidoll but still this tough space warrior. Then there is the shape-shifting Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi, who’s motives you’ll be questioning from the start. Rex also provides some interesting perspectives on things.

There is a lot of mixing of minifigures, minidolls and even a few fabuland figures. You’ll also find a heap of really funny minor characters like Balthazar the Vampire minidoll and Banana.

Unfortunately the new characters do mean that the returning cast gets a bit sidelined.

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As a fun day out I did enjoy this movie but… for me this movie came up short compared to the original by a fair margin. The overall story didn’t have anywhere near the emotional impact that the first one had for me. The point that it tries to make is telegraphed far too early on, and while there are some interesting 3rd act reveals a lot of what happens I guessed within the first 30 minutes.

There is a moment in The LEGO Movie where Will Ferrell looks at the Lord Business minifigure and realises that he’s the villain in his son’s story. It’s a shot that always makes me tear up. It’s also followed by another scene where the dad looks at the creations of his son in awe and appreciates what he’s made. Both of those moments had a big impact on me. The LEGO Movie 2 never had a moment like that for me – something that hit me on an emotional level.

Of course this is a kids movie and it doesn’t need to have an emotional impact, but when the first one pulled it off I kind of wanted this one to do the same. Emotional impact is very subjective and it’s possible that this movie will move you in ways that it didn’t for me.

If you are a fan of the first LEGO Movie, LEGO in general or have LEGO crazy kids in your house then I definitely think this is worth a trip to the cinema.

One Response to Movie Review: The LEGO Movie 2

  1. Like you I found the second moving lacking that something the first one had, I think the bit I enjoyed the most was the first part of the credits and the song that went with it. If you’re going to see this in a cinema, stay through that song and first credit part, not only are the visuals fantastic, but the song is really funny and definitely aimed at the adults I would say. It goes for a few mins but well worth sticking around for!

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