TO YOU BY:
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is the fourth theatrical LEGO film we’ve gotten in the past five years. Two of which are comedic gold, one that is a complete throw away, and another that is a mystery left to be solved. But after four films, maybe the concept, just like the title for the newest entry, has become a tad redundant.
Director Mike Mitchell (TROLLS) takes the reigns from original filmmakers Miller & Lord with ease. While not recreating the magic that happened on screen the first time around, The Second Part is a fun sequel nonetheless due to the impressive writing of the original duo. Mitchell has been at the directing game for years now, and none of his projects have succeeded in capturing my heart entirely; this is no exception. Mitchell clearly tries his best to recapture the glory of the original, and while certain aspects do work wonders, a majority of the film, although highly enjoyable, is a little tuckered out since its initial debut. For those wondering why this is compared so heavily to the original, the explanation is fairly obvious...it’s literally in the title.
Chris Miller and Phil Lord may not be occupying the directors chair this time, but they’re back with a passion to pen the script. While yes, equivalent to the rest of the film, the writing is riddled with fatigue, but what makes this film work and The LEGO Ninjago Movie not, is the clever writing of two comedy geniuses. Witty, silly, and never going where I thought it was going, (beyond the predictable conclusion) I had a lot of fun just guessing what was going to happen next. The relationship between Emmet and Wyldstyle is front and center in The LEGO Movie 2, and while the ensemble cast plays second thread to their hijinks, the film is more or less a buddy cop film between two Chris Pratt characters and their attempt to save one another from a mysterious force. While the writing is entrancing, nothing can live up to the absolute surprise that The LEGO Movie was back in 2014.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
A vast majority of the cast returns to their roles from the original, aside from a couple noticeable discrepancies such as Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman. The entire cast delivers with just as much vibrancy and passion as they did when the idea was still fresh. A few of the returning cast members are Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Alison Brie, and many more, all of whom are back in some form or another, whether that be for a less than memorable interaction or a scene stealing one liner. Newcomers for the second film, Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) join the set. Unfortunately, Haddish isn’t made to do voice-over. Tiffany Haddish is a fine comedian, and I’ve enjoyed her comedy sets and small roles, but The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part presents a perfect example of why Haddish shouldn’t voiceover in any future animated films; her voice just doesn’t fit. Sure it’s unfortunate to have lost two talented voice actors in the second (official) film, but don’t worry too much, as Pratt plays two individual characters. One is Emmett, the loveable construction worker we all know and love, and the other a play on every other role Pratt is best known for. Pratt has fun with this angle, and just as he is audibly having fun, the audience can’t help but smirk. A plethora of characters to use, but yet only five make it into our memories, and only three make their way into our hearts - who of which is completely up to you.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
With the inclusion of an “Everything is Awesome” remix titled “Everything Is Not Awesome,” initially you might think that this would be lazy writing, but when in context it’s both catchy and depressing, as well as very important to the film’s final moments. The score is excellent and similar to the first, which elevates the film when necessary while taking a backseat when things need to slow down. It contains several nods towards iconic films of the past, and along with several present day hits of Pratt’s participation, the score not only has fun but pokes fun at itself.
The visual effects are dazzling, yet they feel almost lackluster...the reason of why is unclear. Possibly just because this is another film in the LEGO franchise, and the fatigue is growing slightly within my mind. But that’s not to say it’s bad animation, because it’s beautiful, especially near the finale when surrounded by crumbing LEGO structures - it’s just unfortunately the same experience we’ve had before. In my personal opinion, what made the original film a masterpiece of childhood wonder was how it took an impossible film idea and made it absolutely magical for all ages. The experience this time around isn’t as special, and feels internally four films too late to recapture that pure joy the original brought to the table.
Back in 2014, I left The LEGO Movie completely flabbergasted, becoming more of a fan of Chris Miller and Phil Lloyd than I’d ever been before. Now with directing off the table but a screenplay in place, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part shares half of the creative minds as the first. The LEGO Movie 2 may be similar to how I originally felt about 22 Jump Street, written and directed by the same duo, where it didn’t sit quite right with me, and actually built a wall of hatred for the film until repeated viewings actually had me grow to think that 22 is better than 21. The difference here is that it may have been a fluke. Will that happen with The LEGO Movie 2, probably not. Especially when the pair only wrote the film - but it’s worth a shot, because I want to love this...but I just like it right now.