Everything Is Awesome—Again! “The Lego Movie 2” and How it Charmed My Pants Off


“The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part”

It’s that time of the year again—Valentine’s! But the rom-com has been noticeably absent from the box office lately. Peter Jackson’s war documentary “They Will Not Be Forgotten” (2019) has come and gone, James Cameron’s live-action adaptation of an anime, “Alita: Battle Engine” (2019) is around the corner and the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic “On The Basis of Sex” (2019) is still powering on. The only remotely Valentine’s-y movie is “Isn’t it Romantic” (2019), which looks like a fun meta romp and parody of rom-com clichés. With few relevant films to chose from, it seems difficult to choose a film to watch this Valentine’s day.

And yet, the decision is pretty easy. I went for the “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” (2019).

It was quite tempting to just leave this review as “watch this” and carry on with my day. Those who have seen the first movie should understand why—and also be excited—because the movie has found itself a near-perfect sequel. To those who have not, I’d recommend seeing the original movie, as “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” sees the development of many characters.

What makes the Lego movies so good? They are both visual masterpieces of the highest caliber and it is hard not to have your pants charmed off by the film’s animation and art style alone. Beyond that, you should see them if you’re at all interested in watching one of the best movies in recent years.

“The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” picks up directly where the first movie left off. We then jump forward in time to the present, skipping over five years that have elapsed since the first movie, and see a hilariously grim and dark apocalyptic landscape that riffs off of “Mad Max” (1979). After a brief skirmish with a dreaded new Duplo, our original band of heroes (staring Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett and Charlie Day) is nefariously kidnapped and taken to a mysterious queen (Tiffany Haddish). The only one left is Emmett (Chris Pratt), who is deemed unworthy of the journey. Many unexpected twists await our star-studded cast in this zany world.

Yet through the insanity, the movie is smart. Chris Lord and Phil Miller’s slick writing shows, and much like the first film, the plot and humor are exceedingly meta. There is a hilarious and low-blowing parody of the Justice League, though there are no Marvel characters in the film. Will Ferrell’s character from the first movie is hilariously removed and aloof. It’s hard to say anything without spoiling the surprise of this movie’s humor, but where there’s humor, there’s a heart—an especially big one.

This is really a movie about what it means to grow up and to make amends. There are some incredibly touching scenes that feel custom-tailored to pull at the heartstrings, yet they don’t seem forced or artificial. The movie’s meta framing device (they’re really LEGOs being played within in a family) allows these scenes to feel like sincere ideas that have been explored from the start. To be fair, the emotional weight of the movie doesn’t hit as hard as the first, partly because the audience already knows the conceit of these films. As the first movie focuses on a father-child relationship, this one focuses on a sibling relationship. Perhaps its punch may feel different for those without them, but as someone who nearly always fought with my brother and grew up apart from him, I cried. You might want to prepare the tissues for this one.

Now all of this is not to say it’s a perfect film. It’s an exceedingly excellent and near-perfect one. Like the first movie, it’s one of the few movies to genuinely reach out to my emotions. There may be a few hiccups in pacing here and there, but they pass quickly. If the original were perfect (I contend it is), then this would be very close to it. So while it doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of the original before it, it reaches for the stars and it is still perfect for the soul. And that is a joy in its own right.

Contact Peter Hager at [email protected].