Summary: Continuing 5 years after the first film, Emmet must save his friends from the Systar System, Lego shenanigans ensue, and John cries. A lot.
I am a huge fan of the first Lego Movie. It was outrageously funny, incredibly creative, visually impressive, and Emmet’s speech at the end always makes me happy cry. Honestly, a movie about Legos could have been written in a weekend and half-assed. Instead, the Lego film series as a whole is filled with so much more love for the material than most movie franchises. This latest Lego movie brought me back in with another hilarious and inspiring adventure.
Like the first, Lego Movie 2 is a feast for the eyes and hilarious. Every character, prop, visual effect, and backgrounds are animated with incredibly realistically rendered Lego parts. I mean, the first one was too. I am just still at awe with how one of the most photo-realistic visual effects I’ve ever seen is in the Lego movies! Along with the impressive CG, the designs and character animation are as inventive and funny as ever. Writing-wise, this movie is gut-busting and incredibly heartwarming. Lord and Miller’s script is full of meta in-jokes, references, and 4th wall breaks that’ll make Deadpool jealous. This time around, the film comes with a few musical numbers that are very welcome too. This movie is just a laugh a minute and a burst of joy in every frame.
The voice cast is phenomenal as ever. Honestly, aside from Star-Lord, Emmet is Chris Pratt’s finest acting performance. His vocal performance is not only funny but also brings a sincerity that is not usually seen when A-list talent is cast in animated films. He also delivers an equally sincere and hilarious parody of himself and the roles he’s played in the character REX. The rest of the cast rounds out the film with great comedic delivery, the highlight being Tiffany Haddish as Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi. Unfortunately, it feels as though the movie’s side characters aren’t given as much funny material in this second outing. The overall quality of the film isn’t affected at all, but it’s noticeable.
Honestly, the first time I watched the film I was a tad underwhelmed. The stakes didn’t feel as high and the story beats felt especially predictable. It just didn’t light that spark that the first film did. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized how profound the actual message and statement of the overall Lego movies was.
I’m gonna need to spoil the movie to talk about this. So, if you’re here just for a review, the movie is funny, visually remarkable, and is on par with the first. Lego Movie 2 follows up the first in spectacular fashion by expanding the story and providing a much-needed lesson for everyone.
The movie makes Emmett the antagonist. Well, not the Emmett we know, a future Emmett created by isolation and insecurity and turned into Rex. By proxy making the adolescent boy… this film’s bad guy. The whole movie Emmett is pushed to be more “grown-up” by being a literal destructive force against the Systar system and everything traditionally feminine. Even to the point of dooming the entire cast to purgatory in a storage bin.
This in itself isn’t anything new. Recently plenty of media has put boys and men to task on toxic behavior. Hell, you can just watch the reaction towards Captain Marvel to see how needlessly destructive and immature some grown adults are when it comes to having to share. However, there is one thing that stuck out to me that was carried over from the first film.
“You don’t have to be the bad guy… you can join us”
That line just stuck with me. It’s so simple and yet so easy to forget sometimes. It’s basically telling the boys in the audience “There’s nothing wrong with being who you are. Just be nice to people who are different.” Sure, it’s super sappy, but there are a lot of people out there who genuinely don’t know that! Just go to Twitter!
As much as the Lego films are about creativity and a celebration of individuality, they also focus on something that I think most people need to hear. It’s not okay to tell people how they should or shouldn’t have fun. It’s not OK to tell people what they should like or dislike.
Obviously, the caveats being that said person isn’t hurting someone else. If you’re fun is hurting people than that needs to get shut the hell down.
It’s so easy to exist in our own little bubbles and scoff at other people’s likes and dislikes. Society especially does this to anything traditionally feminine or media aimed at young girls. It’s easy to just tear things apart. I mean, I do it as a hobby. It’s easy to laugh and poke fun at things that are different, but what good does that do? Why not accept and embrace our differences? Why not create? Why not try to be better? The world sucks already. Let’s not put other people down for what they use to cope with life if they aren’t hurting anybody.
There are nuances and overall differences in philosophy that’ll always rub me the wrong way, but as a general rule, I don’t want to be the bad guy. Instead of dunking on things I think are bad, I’m just gonna say it wasn’t for me. What good does it do to knock down something that might make someone happy? The world thrives on so much negativity already. We don’t need Master Destructors. We need Master Builders.