Lego The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Review by Rich Cline | 4/5

The Lego Movie 2
dir Mike Mitchell
scr Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
prd Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Jinko Gotoh
voices Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Jason Momoa, Bruce Willis
with Maya Rudolph, Will Ferrell, Jadon Sand, Brooklynn Prince
release US/UK 8.Feb.19
19/US Warners 1h46

pratt banks haddish
See also:
The Lego Movie (2014) the lego batman movie (2017)

The Lego Movie 2
It hardly seems possible that anyone could have matched the delirious joy of the 2014 original, but Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have given it a proper go. Writing and producing, but not directing this time, they once again pack the screen with a riotous onslaught of snappy gags and witty references. It might be too frantic to properly engage the audience, but it's relentlessly entertaining.
Five years after the destruction of Bricksville, Emmet and Lucy (Pratt and Banks) are facing a further apocalypse in the form of the shape-shifting Queen Whatevra (Haddish) from the planet Systar. With their friends brainwashed, Whatevra is planning to marry Batman (Arnett) and finish things off for good. So Emmet and Lucy head across space to the rescue, taking on Whatevra's mysterious sidekick Mayhem (Beatriz) and accompanied by Emmet's suave-hotshot doppelganger Rex (Pratt again).
Inventively designed at every point, the story opens in a Mad Max-style dystopia before propelling the characters into an often outrageously colourful space adventure. There isn't much to the narrative, but the characters are wildly energetic, throwing punchlines at rapid-fire as everything continually shifts and changes. Meanwhile, the live-action element from the end of the first film becomes a parallel framing story, with parents (Rudolph and Ferrell) and kids (Sand and Prince) interacting with the Lego action.

The characters are knowing pastiches, and the voice cast has a lot of fun spicing them up, playing with the comedy as well as some gently swelling emotion along the way. This makes even the nuttiest characters endearing, as the actors add complexity to both the good guys and the villains, merrily crossing lines to keep the audience laughing. But they also manage to make the viewer care about what happens, however ridiculous it might be.

Visually, the film is stunning, with Lego-rendered puffs of smoke and shattering glass adding to the texture, while the tiniest details in the characters and settings add elements of knowing humour. Almost every moment in this movie refers to cinema on a grander scale, including a lot of self-referential breaking of the fourth wall. It's such a barrage of mayhem that it's impossible to take it all in on a first viewing. And it's all so busy that it sometimes becomes a blur. But as a knowing salute to the power of collaborative imagination, it's a fabulous blur.

cert u themes, violence 30.Jan.19

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© 2019 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall