'The Second Part' offers some light-hearted viewing for Lego fans, but is barely a scratch upon its original predecessor.
2014’s The Lego Movie was a surprising hit amongst kids and big kids alike. Boasting the voices of Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Chris Pratt and more, the film enjoyed great box office success with its imaginative and fresh storyline; two spinoffs were later made which were also fairly successful, The Lego Batman Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie. What made these two later films enjoyable was that their plotlines were also innovative and different, since all three Lego films were standalone movies. It is therefore not surprising that Warner Brothers wanted to cash in on their previous success with a sequel to the original Lego Movie, yet they have taken a big risk in exploiting their first and arguably most popular Lego film, and unfortunately it has only half paid off at best – indeed, the film’s opening box office figures are half that of what the first made.
The Second Part begins exactly where the first left off: the newly Kragle-free city of Bricksburg has come under attack by aliens from the Planet Duplo. This is, of course, all thanks to the real humans playing with the Lego; after Will Ferrell’s father figure allows his son Finn (Jadon Sand) to play with him, he also begins letting his young daughter Bianca (Brooklynn Prince) play too, hence the Duplo. The city soon becomes a desolate wasteland as anything the Duplo touches it destroys. When a mysterious figure arrives in a spaceship, it is up to Emmet (Chris Pratt), Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett) and the rest of the gang to work out what is going on and save the day. The ensuing plot twists and turns in ways that are hard to keep up with at times, resulting in a surprisingly intricate story for a family film. The novelties from the first film are long gone, and while knowing about the humans behind the Lego adds an interesting layer to the story’s concept, the use of running gags and reliance on character quirks are not enough to elevate this film to the same status as its predecessors.
Nonetheless, there were several enjoyable moments during the film. Will Arnett’s gravelly-voiced, sulky Batman is as much a joy to watch as ever, now with in-film references to his own spinoff The Lego Batman Movie, and the quirkier characters of the gang like Unikitty (Alison Brie), Metalbeard (Nick Offerman) and Benny (Charlie Day) likewise make welcome returns from the first film. Many character references from the DC Universe, which Warner Brothers own the rights to, are scattered throughout the film as fun easter eggs for those even vaguely familiar with DC, as well as a tongue-in-cheek mention of the Marvel Universe, which Warner Brothers do not own the rights to: a fact which the film very pointedly makes fun off. Sorely missed are Morgan Freeman’s Vitruvius and Liam Neeson’s Bad Cop, though the latter makes a very brief, silent appearance. Will Ferrell’s President Business, a Lego representation of his human character, also makes a very fleeting appearance. The gap that these three characters leave behind is very noticeable, as they were absolutely key to the first movie; the new characters added to the film just don’t add the same fun and frivolity, although the introduction of Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish) and her ability to change her shape into different Lego formations is a nice touch.
It was ultimately impossible for The Second Part to contain as much originality and novelty value as the first Lego Movie, and the script tries its hardest to recreate the wacky humour and innovative ideas we loved so much, but without much success sadly. Though the film is fun enough, it does not have the replay value which the first movie, and indeed the two spinoffs, very much do. In part, this can be accredited to the fact that the sequel is clearly tailored more to a younger audience in plot, though why this is makes no sense given the universal appeal of the other Lego films. A few references thrown in for the sake of the big kids in the audience does not lift this movie much above your average family film, which is a shame but not a total surprise. Is the film worth watching? Yes. More than once? Probably not.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019), directed by Mike Mitchell, is distributed in the UK by Warner Bros., certificate U.