It’s a great challenge for a movie sequel to capture the same magic of the original, especially when that magic was so unique to making the original so great. For some sequels, it may not make sense for the story to continue or any more room for the characters to grow, which makes them end up seeming lackluster. Some films are completely built on their cleverness. When the filmmakers try to recapture that same cleverness, it loses its freshness, but that doesn’t automatically make it rotten. 

In The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, the LEGO world that the characters inhabit has been invaded by the malicious Duplo alien race. Our heroes Emmett (Chris Pratt) and Lucy (Elizabeth Banks) try to stop them, but the aliens take over, turning everything into an apocalyptic wasteland. 5 years later, Emmett gets a horrifying premonition of “Ourmomageddon”, a catastrophic event that’ll destroy their world. Thus, Emmett, Lucy, and their entourage set out on another epic quest in order to save the world as they know it. 

The biggest reason why The LEGO Movie was such a big surprise was because of the huge way it subverted, satirized, and actually transcended other animated films and the current film industry. The thing that brought it all together was the big twist ending, where all of the events in the LEGO-verse are all just the product of a boy’s imagination and how it clashes with his dad’s stubborn sensibilities. Thus, like a lot of satirical films, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part doesn’t feel as fresh, but the humor and heart is still all still there. We’re incredibly grateful that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller returned. I feel like I gush about these dudes all the time, but they’re really two of the smartest filmmakers working today. They know how to perfectly combine heart and humor into a complete, satisfying package, and they knock another one out of the park here. 

Mike Mitchell takes over directing duties from Phil Lord and Chris Miller and it really shows in the overall pacing of the story and timing of the comedy. I haven’t seen The LEGO Movie since it came out in theaters 5 years ago, but I don’t remember there being so many moments where jokes would be punctuated by long moments of silence. Lord and Miller’s trademark sarcastic, quippy, rapid fire humor is still there, but there were times where it was like it was patting itself on the back for how funny it thought it was. It definitely wasn’t as subversive as the first film. There’s certainly a loss less commentary on mindless consumerism and conformity, but that would just be repeating the same beats, as it’s basically the same story being told here too, but instead about a brother and sister learning to play together. The novelty of the first film was lost. 

It really says something to how the novelty of a film can’t really extend beyond one story. While things may not be as fresh, that doesn’t mean the film can’t be good, and The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is still really good. One of the best things about animated sequels is that technology is always improving, thus making these films even more beautiful. The details from the landscapes, to the little fingerprints on the minifig characters, to the water being tiny blue LEGO pieces. The use of the license is just as creative as ever. The action sequences are loads of fun and filled with creativity and loads of fun banter between the characters. It’s wonderful basically seeing a Mad Max action scene represented in LEGO form. These films are definitely cash grabs that use the LEGO license to get kids in the seats, but the filmmakers make perfect use of it to make for an entertaining film. 

The voice cast is just as stellar as last time, with Chris Pratt getting to do a lot more by getting to play another character Rex, the more grizzled antithesis to the naïve Emmet. The story between him and Lucy is still sweet and it adds an extra layer of emotion to the story. Tiffany Haddish as Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi, the amalgamation of LEGO bits that can transform into literally anything, was the standout for me. She uses her outstanding delivery and timing to great effect, creating a very funny character. Her “villain” songs were great too, with some catchy melodies and lyrics, and a lot of extravagant animations. I felt this one relied a bit too much on music, way more than the first one did. The plot did feel a little thin and dragged a bit in the middle, but the chemistry between the characters and unhinged levels of creativity kept it consistently entertaining and hilarious. 

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is a satirical movie sequel to an idea that’s meant to be subversive from top to bottom, so it’s no surprise that it lacks the novelty of the first film. However, since Lord and Miller stuck around to give their unique spin on animated films, it retained the same amount of heart, soul, humor, and irreverence that made The LEGO Movie the instant classic that it was. However, this formula can only work so many times before it officially gets stale, but who knows? LEGO has transcended generations and has remained relevant all these years. Maybe the movies can achieve the exact same thing. 


Movie Talker Tirade

I have a very good friend named Grant, who I go to the movies with often. While we’ve known each other for a long time, there are really only a few things we have in common. If there’s any point of view we share the most, it’s that movie talkers are the absolute scum of the Earth and a scourge on our moviegoing society. Look, I get involuntary sounds like laughter, and the occasional sneeze, but when you’re voluntarily use your vocal chords and pharynx in order to produce speech, we have a problem. In our perfect, dictatorial society, we would have Gestapo agents patrolling the theaters, immediately removing unruly patrons and exiling them from movie theaters forever. Grant suggested I have a new column for these frustrating experiences, so here we are.

So, for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, we had a patron, who I will refer to as “Poofball Beanie Man”, sitting in the row behind us. He was completely by himself and when I saw there would be a person behind us, I was immediately anxious about him being disruptive. When I noted my apprehension, Grant said, “Who’s he gonna talk to?” 

Well, himself, apparently, as during every action scene, Poofball Beanie Man was “Oohing,” and saying stuff like, “Nope!” whenever a character humorously failed, and during other similar situations. It got to the point that every time there was a long pause for a comedic beat, I was anticipating an obnoxious comment from him. Not only that, but the incessant coughing, hacking, sniffling, and sneezing from this man was just unbearable. Then, after loudly asking the server for a to-go box (we saw it at one of those dine-in theaters, Flix Brewhouse), he proceeded to loudly load his leftover food into a Styrofoam container. Even worse, it took forever for the managers to finally tell him to be quiet after numerous complaints. Absolutely no self-awareness or regard to others around him. 

So, that’s today’s Movie Talker Tirade! People, if you’re that horribly sick, please just stay home and don’t spread it to the rest of us. Nobody likes to hear your gross bodily functions either. 

And to all people who love to add their color commentary while inside a movie theater, please shut your mouth. It’s really not that hard.

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