The lego movie 2: the second part

- Review by Liam Kelly

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Okay, I’m going to let you in on something that I have kept close to the chest for a long time, I have been playing with Lego for almost my entire life. What was once a mere hobby has now become an obsession. It’s a passion I share with fellow AFOL Jacob Stockdale (yes, the Ulster rugby player who scored the decisive try in Ireland’s historic win against the All Blacks). While his brick addiction started only fairly recently, mine began in my early childhood up to a certain point where I thought I was beginning to grow out of it. Then 5 years ago, I saw The Lego Movie in cinemas for the first time. The feelings that I had leaving the cinema were special. Not only was I blown away by how entertaining and visually spectacular it was, it helped reignite my love of building. As you can probably imagine, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the sequel ever since.

Picking up right from where the first left off, Finn, the young boy who controls the events of the entire film, is forced to play with his little sister Bianca. This is mirrored in Finn’s imaginary world of Lego, where the invaders from planet Duplo have turned Bricksburg into a post-apocalyptic wasteland fittingly named Apocalypseburg. We see the destruction through the eyes of our protagonist Emmet (Chris Pratt). Wanting to prove that he is tough enough to be a true hero, he goes out to rescue Lucy (Elizabeth Banks) and his other friends after they are kidnapped by General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz) from the Systar System. He is also tasked with preventing an impending “Ar-mom-ageddon” having realised that it was more a vision of the future than just a dream.

The Lego Movie 2 starts at a frenetic pace and rarely do we ever slow down. Phil Lord and Chris Miller, fresh from the success of the recent Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, return as writers and producers. The animation team once again does an excellent job in what is essentially capturing the imaginations of both Finn and Bianca during play, contrasting the dusty wastelands and the dinosaur-piloted spaceships with the palaces, spas and colourful environments covered with glitter.

While the stellar voice cast all do an incredible job with the characters that were introduced in the original film, it is arguably the two new additions that are the true scene-stealers. Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi (Tiffany Haddish) a shapeshifting pile of bricks with a tendency to break into song at any opportunity and Rex Dangervest (again voiced by Pratt), a hilarious spoof of Chris Pratt’s career in Hollywood post Guardians of the Galaxy. Both stand out in particular due to the surprising amount of backstory that they are given.

From a comedic standpoint, Lord and Miller help to inject much of the clever, satirical and ironic comedy that made the first film so funny. During the invasion, President Business (Will Ferrell) abandons his people, instead doing what any other president would do in a crisis situation, he decides to go golfing. With Lord and Miller, you can be sure the film is heavy with cameos and references to other franchises, some more explicit than others. Batman (Will Arnett) boasts about the vast array of movies he has starred in, acknowledging those that are in “various stages of development.” There is the typical DC/Marvel banter, as well as homages to Mad Max and Planet of the Apes. The film also wanders into Toy Story 3 territory more often than you’d expect.

If you enjoyed The Lego Movie, the sequel I’m delighted to say does not disappoint. It is definitely a worthy follow up to the 2014 masterpiece. While it doesn’t quite match the originality or sheer impact of the first film, it is a colourful adventure with a wild sense of fun that still manages to pack an emotional punch. I can appreciate how the film deals with its themes in a sensitive manner, most notably gender differences in play, toxic masculinity and staying true to who you are in spite of changing circumstances. Not only will the kids be thoroughly entertained, people of all ages can take something out of it, even if it’s an annoyingly catchy earworm designed to “get stuck inside your head.”