Director: Mike Mitchell
Cast: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman
Running time: 107 minutes
Were The Lego Movie franchise a food, it would almost certainly be a sickly sweet snack packed to the rafters with E Numbers, have absolutely no natural colour or flavourings, and contain at least five times the recommended daily intake of sugar. In other words, pretty darn great.
The popping candy of the film world, many people still remain flummoxed by just how good 2014’s The Lego Movie is. A film based on some colourful plastic building blocks from Denmark had absolutely no right to be as infectious, as wonderfully meta, as riotously enjoyable as it turned out to be — let alone size up to the powerhouses of the animated scene. The folks over at Pixar might just have had a few sleepless nights over it.
Inevitably, the overwhelming success of the Oscar-nominated Lego Movie paved the way for a handful of imitations — in the form of some outrageously groomed Trolls, a flock of angry birds, and even a handful of emojis — but none came close to toppling the towering popularity built by dynamic duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who recently added to their ever-expanding following with 2018’s surprise package Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Two spin-offs down — one involving Batman and the other some Ninjago — it was only a matter of time before a Lego Movie sequel clicked neatly into place.
Picking up immediately from the invasion of that other Lego building block brand which left the first film on a bit of a cliff hanger, The Lego Movie 2 quickly jettisons us five years into the future where everything is most certainly not awesome. Playing out in the real world as an on-going spat between two siblings, in the Lego world, the Duplo siege has transformed Bricksburg into a Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic wasteland. Everyone except upbeat Master Builder everyman Emmet (Pratt) of course — including Lucy (Banks); Princess Unikitty (Brie); Metalbeard (Offerman); and fan-fave Batman (Arnett) — live in fear of the next devastating attack. However, Emmet soon feels concern about a troubling dream which forebodes a pending ‘Armomageddon’.
When his band of loyal, eccentric followers are kidnapped by General Sweet Mayhem (Beatriz) and taken to the mysterious ‘Systar System’ — ruled by the equally enigmatic shape-shifter Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Haddish) — it’s up to Emmet once again — with the help of rugged galaxy-defending cowboy, archaeologist, and raptor trainer Rex Dangervest (also voiced by Pratt, playing an amalgamation of his most renowned movie roles) — to save the day and return awesomeness to Bricksburg.
Although it might sound like a hyperactive odyssey pummelled with playful puns and an epilepsy-inducing colour-pallet — the type that might require some strong ibuprofen — The Lego Move 2 is actually a genuine delight. Wholeheartedly embracing the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ notion, and cheekily attaching a ‘but instead, add more Lego’ on to the end, the film — directed by Mike Mitchell this time round (still with the Lord and Miller stamp of approval, here taking up Producing duties) — takes everything good about the original and, well, builds on it.
It might have relinquished the element of surprise, but The Lego Movie 2 broadens the narrative scale, raises the stakes and throws in a plethora of new, quirky, colourful bricks into the mix. There’s inventiveness in abundance here — from nifty self-reflexion to Bruce Willis to another ingenious use of a brilliantly terrible song — and the rapid-fire gags almost always land — although the very best of these will likely play better to an older, pop-culture savvy audience.
And of those delivering such jokes, Pratt is quite clearly having a blast parodying the hell out of himself, with Banks supplying the much-needed grounding; while Haddish brings some welcomed, on-brand tomfoolery to her surprisingly underwritten shape-shifting newbie. Elsewhere, it is once again Will Arnett’s macho, husky-toned prince of Gotham who steals almost every scene he’s in. In the search for a replacement to Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne, there’s surely more than a few out there who would happily vouch for Arnett’s name to be dropped into the hat for the next bat…
Entertaining and gloriously annoying, The Lego Movie 2 is, quite simply, a sugar-rush of a movie — in the very best way possible.