The LEGO Movie opened worldwide this week and I was lucky enough to catch it during the weekend of preview screenings here in Australia.
The movie’s official release date here in Australia is 21 March 2019, but the distributors Village Roadshow finally acquired some common sense and they allowed cinemas to hold special preview screenings this entire weekend.
I watched it at the IMAX Melbourne as they were the first to announce their screenings, and I love watching movies on the massive 3-story IMAX screen.
I’ll split this review into 2 distinct parts, a first spoiler-free movie and the second where I dive into the movie in detail, so be sure to stop reading halfway if you want to avoid any spoilers.
What did I think of The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part? I absolutely loved it and I think it is more than a worthy sequel to The LEGO Movie which emerged as a surprise hit.
The movie continues right where the first one left off, with conflict erupting with the citizens of Bricksburg, who are under constant threat from Duplo and soon, a mysterious visitor from the Systar system.
A mysterious futuristic-looking character, Sweet Mayhem shows up, kidnaps Wyldstyle, Batman, Benny, Metalbeard and Unikitty to bring them to the Systar system, and it’s up to Emmet to rescue them.
Firstly, the movie is absolutely hilarious and travels at a frenetic pace. The same meta-humour from the first is back and stronger than ever and the movie is a celebration of pop-culture at its core.
The movie flings references at you at breakneck speed, hitting you with everything from classic movie nods, 80s nostalgia, tons and tons of LEGO/AFOL references, and the cameos. Oh the cameos!
There are dozens of amazing (and often surprising!) cameos from a wide swath of individuals. As someone who is pretty in-tune and obsessed with all things pop culture, this was a veritable buffet of clever references.
What sets this movie apart from the first is the number of risks it takes. The plot is anything but linear and goes places that I completely didn’t expect it to.
At times, it’s a little hard to follow as the pacing is a little too choppy, with not much room to breathe and for much character development, but you do get used to the rapid-fire humor and jokes after awhile.
Secondly is that the music weaved in so much more amazing. It’s not quite in complete musical territory, but the songs are brilliant with some heavy pop bangers and hard-hitting musical numbers.
Building on a legacy crafted from The LEGO Movie’s Everything is Awesome, The Second Part goes hard in the song department and it doesn’t disappoint at all.
The movie also introduces a ton of new (but mostly side) characters which really help ramp up the funny levels of the movie. Each new character fills its own unique niche, and aren’t overused at all.
In fact, I really wish that we got to see a lot more of the new characters, as it seemed like they didn’t get the screen-time they deserve.
Where the movie stumbles for me is that the tight core of characters from the first movie (Unikitty, Benny, Metalbeard and even Wildstyle) get relegated to even more fringe roles in favour of Rex Dangervest, a new tough-guy character introduced that riffs every Chris Pratt and 80s macho hero ever.
Rex is a great character, but after awhile, I just got a little tired of too much Chris Pratt and I found my mind yearning for more of the other characters I’ve come to grow and love.
The movie does kinda rush at the end as it hurtles towards the climax and conclusion, with an equally heart-felt message to it which I really resonated with.
Is it better than the first LEGO Movie? Yes, I do think it is. It’s definitely not as memorable and ground-breaking as the first, which was just such a magical unforgettable experience, but it isn’t trying to recapture the magic of the first, but instead build on it.
It expands the universe of The LEGO Movie in a logical sense, and uses it as a base to explore some other areas, and take a few risks which I like to see in a sequel.
Objectively, the movie is funnier, enhanced of course with the outstanding songs and lyrics, with sensational graphics, brand new lovable characters and a tight, fast-moving plot that doesn’t try to talk down or dumb down its narrative for the viewer.
But just like Iron Man, which was Marvel’s first entry to its (currently) massive cinematic universe, there’s a special sense of magic from first movies that can never be re-created.
If you’re a fan of The LEGO Movie, or enjoy lightning-fast humour, and movies that constantly break the fourth fall with a heavy dose of pop-culture references, you’re going to have a blast in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part.
Highly recommend this, and I definitely will go back for a second serving when the movie opens again in late March. It’s a must-watch for any LEGO fan.
OKAY SPOILERS LIE AHEAD. SPOILER-FUL REVIEW COMING UP
Close this window if you want to avoid spoilers.
Okay, let’s dive into some of the nitty gritty details.
Firstly, the cameos were amazing. I totally did not see the Bruce Willis scene coming and I absolutely lost it at the vent scene.
I really, really loved the new characters introduced, especially Balthazar, the sparkly vampire minidoll played by Noel Fielding. I can’t wait to get him in a set.
Banarnar, played by Park and Rec’s Ben Schwartz was an example of outstanding physical humour brought to life and I couldn’t stop myself from bursting into a laugh whenever he came on-screen and clumsily lose balance.
One of the drawbacks of the movie is that it tries to do so much at times, which doesn’t leave a lot of space for the viewer to really get to know the characters.
Tiffany Haddish was just perfect as Queen Watevra Wanabi, and absolutely killed it on the musical. Not Evil is actually a really good musical number, and Gotham City Guys was just hilarious from start to finish, and a fresh take on the Batman v Superman rivalry.
The twist of her being the heard from the first movie was also super heartfelt, and such a great way to bridge both movies.
I really wanted to see more of Sweet Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz of Brooklyn Nine Nine fame) was so underutilised. I was expecting for her to play a much bigger role, but she sort of faded into the background in the third act, which is a shame as her character design is brilliant.
I was really disappointed that we got so little of Lucy and Benny. Benny as a nod to Classic Space LEGO fans was criminally underutilised in a movie that was set mostly in space, but the sore lack of Lucy belting out Everything is Awesome, which they heavily suggest she wrote or performed was just befuddling to me.
Such a shame as Lucy is actually a great role model for girls – judging from how much my daughter is obsessed about her from repeated viewings of LEGO Movie 1.
The message about how dangerous it is to project your expectations of how loved ones should be was really poignant, but I felt like Emmet and Lucy didn’t have enough screentime together for it to really drive that point home.
Their relationship and the entire dynamic between him trying to be cool and tough was refreshingly complex for a kid’s movie, and I wish they spent more time developing it.
The part where says the real Lucy wouldn’t like him for being a carefree goofball really tugged on the hearstrings.
A lot of what stops the movie from being truly great can be blamed on Rex Dangervest. While I did like the time travel concept, and the endless quips of movies that Emmet could watch when he was older (in classic older brother style), it got a little old at the end, and I think there was just a bit too much of Chris Pratt.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big Chris Pratt stan, but there was just a little too much, which really stole the limelight from all the other characters.
The most enjoyable bits of the movie were the songs. Tiffany Hadish’s numbers were just fantastic, and the Beck, Robyn & Lonely Island Credits Song is a legitimately great pop song.
When The LEGO Movie Sequel was announced, it was billed as a musical space opera, and I can’t help but imagine what it would’ve been like if they had gone all-in on the Space Opera/Musical angle.
(thanks Dave for the reminder!)
I’ve been hooked to the soundtrack, especially Tiffany Hadish’s Not Evil and Super Cool which are pure bangers.
So yeah, I’m really happy with The LEGO Movie 2 and I definitely think it’s more enjoyable, funnier and ultimately more entertaining than the first LEGO Movie.
It’s a blast, and a roller-coaster of LOLs from start to end, with some epic pop music along the ride.
It does lack a little bit of heart and magic that the first had, but I think that’s okay. As a sequel, it did the right thing by not trying to re-create the magic of the first, but instead try to grow up and find another path, which I think the movie does an amazing job of.
LEGO, you absolutely have to release a Bruce Willis Die Hard minifigure. I don’t care if he’s in a $200 set, I’m buying him the moment you announce it.
Thanks for reading my review! Did you manage to catch the movie on opening week? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!
Terrence Myers says
Sigh. It’s 2021 and still no Bruce Willis Die Hard minifigure.
Milo c says
more than 2 years later
I loved the movie so much, I watched it every morning if I had the opportunity!
GREAT REVIEW, JAY!!!!!!!
IT WAS AWESOME!
I loved the movie so much, I watched it every morning if I had the opportunity!
GREAT REVIEW, JAY!!!!!!!
"toxically masculine dude" says
So I watched the movie….it was, terrible.
I immediately picked up on the “anti-masculinity” and the ending was just disgusting. It’s like they’re trying to indoctrinate little boys to be effeminate, or trans, and I hated it. Rex was the only good character, until they ruined him near the end.
“anti-masculinity”? What are you talking about man… The movie was about the brother letting go of his selfishness and growing up. I’m not the biggest supporter of trans people, but this is just homophobic… I didn’t find anything like that in the movie, maybe if you mean the siblings playing at the end, but that was a mixture of “masculine” and girly builds… Did you expect a little girl to play solely with helicopters, guns and dinosaurs?
Really, it sounds like you have some deep psychological trauma about your “masculinity”, but please talk this out with someone and don’t sh*t on amazing reviews.
Great review Jay. Have finally been able to read the review in full as we got to see the movie last Sunday The boys were lucky enough to get Emmet’s Piece Offering polybag with their tickets and have loved rebuilding it during the week. I’m thrilled we have managed to get that polybag given the significance it has to the movie’s storyline.
I thought the overall storyline of the sequel was great. It wasn’t what I was expecting – not that I had given it a lot of thought. Agree with many of your comments – too much Rex, and not enough of other characters (both old & new). Definitely was expecting more Benny & Sweet Mayhem given some of the sets released. Likewise loved the cameos and scenes with Banarnar.
Can’t wait to see it again. Will definitely be picking it up on DVD (for the kids of course) when it is released…hopefully with some bonus Lego.
Great reviews Jay!
I am also very glad that Village have finally listened and gave die hard fans a chance to see the movie early (or at least at the same as everyone else in the world) so that we don’t have to worry about spoilers. Props to you and others out there that really hammered this message home the last time they screwed this up.
Back to the movie, I had a blast. I didn’t expect them to pull off a great sequel as the first one is hard to top but I think they have come very close. The songs were catchy and cameos and references were funny and smart. Love it when they cater jokes for kids as well as adults. I am sure I have missed a bunch of them since they were coming in so fast so a second viewing is a must! The twist was good and I had no idea it was going to go that way.
Agree with you on the under-utilised Benny. They are in space for crying out loud! I was waiting for him to go beserk on crazy space builds but that didn’t eventuate. Not sure what else they can release set wise that will wow us as there was nothing like the sea cow either. Will have to wait and see.
Glad you enjoyed it – don’t know if it’s my favourite yet, but I loved it. The cameos were hilarious, the songs were great and held together like a musical, and they once again used toys to examine how people play and relate to each other in a really poignant way. Between this and Spider-verse, Lord and Miller had a good 2018.
Excellent review! I agree that the movie was pretty fantastic, but I would have loved to see more of the original cast of characters – especially Charlie Day and Alison Brie. I didn’t think about how that Rex took up so much extra screentime which left not much room for other characters, but it definitely makes a lot of sense – could have also done with a little less of him.