Daniel Radcliffe was originally considered to play a Harry Potter spoof character. (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)
While a bit of a rehash of the first movie from 2014, “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” manages to recapture all of the elements that made the previous installation work while changing enough to make it different enough.
Five years after the events of the first film, the original cast of characters is captured and taken to the Systar System, forcing Emmet (Chris Pratt) and his new ally Rex Dangervest (also Pratt) to stage a rescue mission.
While the story is different this time around, there are a lot of similar elements to the first movie that knock “The LEGO Movie 2” down a few pegs in terms of originality and creativity. Emmet does not necessarily fit in and is wrapped up in the adventure inadvertently, people have to accept who he is again and there is an ominous threat of things to come for the LEGO world that is just a bunch of words strung together.
This, among other things, indicates the problem with the screenplay. It is not bad, but there are definitely weaknesses with it. The jokes and parody are not as strong as they were in the first film, with the funniest part of the movie being a LEGO Bruce Willis (himself) saying things that younger audiences will not understand.
While the plot of a bit of a rehash, certain story elements are different enough, something fun and interesting is done with the important characters, the emotional core of the movie is quite strong and the overarching theme of the movie is well-done.
As stated earlier, the overarching story of “The LEGO Movie 2” is almost identical to “The LEGO Movie.” However, there is a lot of new and fun scenery that has a lot of personality to it, original story-beats, including a fairly amusing wedding subplot, and it plays on some of the element from the first movie to fit the tone and theme of this new movie.
In terms of the characters, a lot of fun and creative things are done with them. While returning characters Unikitty (Alison Brie), Benny (Charlie Day) and MetalBeard (Nick Offerman) are just there with nothing to do, there are fitting and amusing continuations to Emmet and Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) characters and Batman (Will Arnett) is put in a new situation that is ripe for comedic material. There are new characters to join the cast as well, including Rex, Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish) and General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz), all of whom have original characters who bring their own unique flair.
The emotional core of the movie has to deal with sibling relationships, which is mostly well-done. Both siblings are well-defined through the way the LEGO characters that they control act and the gimmicks that apply to each group, such as the brothers’ LEGOs are all broodier and hardened and the sister’s LEGOs are bubbly and pop music loving. This dynamic does get over-explained at a few points, but for the most part it is done through the interaction of the differing LEGO figures. On top of all that, the scenes between the brother and sister can be emotionally poignant.
The theme of maturity is also a strong aspect of the film, and done in an interesting way. The basic idea that “The LEGO Movie 2” goes with is that maturity is not the absence of fun or creativity, but how one behaves and treats other people and being able to accept things for the way they are. This is a good message for a family movie that will definitely be beneficial to younger audiences and may serve as a helpful reminder for the older people in the crowd.
The aforementioned information about the theme of the movie helps to solidify the movie’s success as a family film. A good family film is one that can be viewed in an enjoyable and even substantive way by people young and old. “The LEGO Movie 2” does this, and thus passes this litmus test with flying colors.
“The LEGO Movie 2” is not as original as the first movie, but it is fun, creative and substantive enough to help make up for this and render it as an enjoyable family romp.
Final Grade: B