Friday, February 8, 2019

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part Review

Can you believe it's been five years since "The LEGO Movie" hit theaters? To this day, I still think that "The LEGO Movie" is one of the most genius animated movies ever made. Not only was it a really fun adventure with laugh-out-loud humor and great character development, but the twist at the end that the whole movie was just a kid playing with LEGOs completely blew my mind. It was one of those twists that completely changed the viewing experience the second time around. It's also a movie that totally holds up five years later as a movie that's simply a blast to watch and re-watch on whatever the occasion. If you haven't seen it, sorry for spoiling the ending, but I don't feel too bad because if you haven't seen "The LEGO Movie" yet, were you really planning on doing so anytime soon? Plus, I need to talk about this idea of the movie being about kids playing with LEGOs because that's this whole second movie. They don't even hide it. They flip back and forth to live action all the time. In fact, they start with live action as the ending of last movie is the intro to this movie. So yeah, sorry, not sorry. But we'll get to all of that. Given how much I loved the first movie, of course I was excited to see this sequel. I think there's a lot of potential with this LEGO franchise moving forward.

However, I will say that my official excitement level walking into the theater was cautiously optimistic. It's one of those movies where I wanted to be super excited based on goodwill from the first one, but I watched the trailers and just wasn't able to get myself there. And as far as the LEGO franchise goes, while "The LEGO Batman Movie" was equally as fun and genius as "The LEGO Movie," there is this thing called "The LEGO Ninjago Movie," which was a complete dud in my opinion. So it hasn't been all rainbows and butterflies thus far. Topping this all off, Lord and Miller aren't back as directors for this movie. That job went to Mike Mitchell, director of "Shrek Forever After," "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" and "Trolls." Neither of those are particularly bad, but nor are they particularly great. So that didn't inspire a ton of confidence in me. I know, fans of "Trolls" are going to now come after me with their torches and pitchforks. But so be it. What did inspire a little confidence is that Lord and Miller did write the screenplay for "The LEGO Movie 2" and were also on board as one of the 5,000 producers of the film. So they still had their stamp on the movie, even if they didn't have quite as much control as they did in the first movie.

And yeah, I'll say right off the bat that this doesn't have the magic of the first movie, so if you're like me and are still madly in love with "The LEGO Movie," I'd recommend going into this one with slightly tempered expectations. That said, this is also not bad at all. If I had to describe this movie in one word, I'd go with "cute." As far as the plot goes, it kinda does exactly what you expected it to do. At the end of the first movie, Will Ferrell tells his boy that if he's going to play with all of daddy's LEGOs, then his sister gets to play, too. The movie ends with some LEGO monsters designed by a very young girl invading the town. As I said before, that's exactly where this movie begins. It's that exact ending, but extended a bit before we then lead into the opening title. After that intro, we then jump five years into the future where Bricksburg has become transformed into a Mad Max style wasteland that you saw advertised in all of the trailers, which they now call Apocalypseburg. Occasionally the little aliens from the young girl still still come and invade the area, destroying any signs of life. In one of these instances, Lucy, Batman and a few other main characters from the first movie get captured, causing Emmet to go on a rescue mission to save them.

When watching the first movie, it took me until the very end of the movie to figure out what was going on. This time around, I caught on right away. And I don't feel the movie made any attempt to hide what was happening. They took the philosophy that since the cat is now out of the bag, let's just take it and run with it rather than try to be secretive about it. And it works just fine. The general idea here is that the young boy, named Finn, has all of his stuff downstairs and his sister Bianca has her stuff in her room upstairs. They both love LEGOs, but like a typical brother and sister, they don't always get along or play well with each other. The movie cleverly incorporates this into the animated universe as it jumps back and forth from live action to animation. Lucy and the gang getting captured and taken to the unknown is equal to the little sister taking the toys and running up to her room. Then you can see the conflict represented in the sister's room being the "evil lair." But is it evil or is it just a stubborn older brother not wanting to play along? I'm not exactly sure how old the kids in the movie are supposed to be, but the child actors who play them are 15 years old and 8 years old respectively. That's Jadon Sand as Finn and Brooklyn Prince as Bianca, both of whom do great.

So there are a lot of clever themes in the movie and a strong message about getting along with your siblings, but I couldn't help but think that this is a movie that is specifically targeted at kids, which is slightly disappointing considering how clever and funny the first movie was. It managed to hit the Pixar balance of being perfectly enjoyable and fun for younger kids while being equally as entertaining and memorable for adults. A group of college students can sit down and watch "The LEGO Movie" as a movie night and no one will even bat an eye or question why a kids movie was decided on for them to watch. "The LEGO Movie 2," on the other hand, doesn't seem interested in finding this balance. They just made a movie for kids. Yes, there are plenty of jokes that I laughed at, but there were a lot more chuckles than laugh-out-loud moments. And the movie didn't try very hard to be clever and witty with all the Warner Bros. references. In fact, as I think about it, "The LEGO Movie" seemed determined to throw in as many Warner Bros. references as they could, with several references from other properties as well. This movie abandoned that. There's a few cameos from characters we saw in the last movie, but they seemed like more of an afterthought.

At the same time, though, while I was disappointed on a personal level that the movie was as clever and as deep for adults as the first movie was, I couldn't get too mad because it was really adorable and cute. If their goal was to make this a movie for kids, they did a really good job at it. I may have not laughed as hard at the jokes as I wanted and I may have been disappointed at the lack of endless movie references, but I can envision this as the type of movie that kids of all ages are going to be super invested in. I almost wish that I had waited to see this at a matinee showing instead of going to the late night preview so I could see the reaction from the target audience, but I have no doubt that the young kids are going to be laughing like crazy the whole movie and will be singing the songs so much that it might drive their parents mad. Because, yeah, this movie is practically a musical. The first movie had "Everything is Awesome" and everyone loves that song. Right? Well this movie has a few different versions of that song while also having a whole lot more. They're all pretty dumb, but are also extremely amusing. There's a specific song that I'll let you discover that I spent the whole night singing, for better or for worse. You'll know what I mean when you hear it. The end credits song is also hilarious, so make sure you stick around.

Also in regards to this being primarily a kids movie, I really appreciated the fact that the humor is clean and appropriate. There's so many kids movies that will resort to poop and fart jokes to make kids laugh. This movie completely avoids that trope, providing humor that will make your kids laugh equally as hard without resorting to all that juvenile toilet humor. It's legitimately cute and charming. And it terms of the message, it drives home the idea of playing nicely with your siblings to the point where I think that message will stick into kids' heads and thus make parents really happy. So I can't be too mad or grumpy at this. Do I personally have a desire to buy this and watch it over and over, like I have done with "The LEGO Movie" and "The LEGO Batman Movie"? No, I don't. This one viewing is probably perfectly satisfactory. Granted, if someone else decides to watch it and I happen to be in the room, I'm not going to run away and hide. But I'm also not going to be the one to seek it out or suggest it for a movie night, if that makes sense. It's not a must see. Unless you're a parent with young kids. In which case, see it asap. It's perfect. And it might be the type of movie that becomes a timeless classic for your kids. And I appreciate it for that. So I'll give "The LEGO Movie 2" an 8/10. 

No comments:

Post a Comment