Simple Review: A fun trip back to Lego-land
Isn’t it amazing how animated movies have become consistently better movie-going experiences than their live-action counterparts? It is difficult to find a bad movie in animated franchises like How to Train Your Dragon, Kung-Fu Panda, Disney animated movies and the king of them all Pixar and their barrage of non-stop hits. These movies not only transport us to new and exciting worlds but are well-crafted movies that not only deliver on the visual eye candy but the emotional as well. How is it that these “kids” movies have better characters, better scripts and better direction than 90% of the dribble us unlucky “adults” have to sit through? Admit it, you care more about what is going to happen to Buzz and Woody in their next adventure than you care about ANYTHING your co-workers tell you about their lives! And that is why I love you, my reliable reader, yes I love you as much as an internet movie review blogger can, especially you ladies. I am getting sidetracked here so let me continue with my stream of consciousness. This week The Lego Movie 2 makes its way into the cinemas looking to build on the excellence of the first and grow this into one of the better franchises in animated movies. Does it succeed? The only to find out is to put another Lego brick in the wall because you can’t have any pudding if you don’t read this review.
One of the many benefits of having a daughter that loves going to the movies ( yes, she is my movie padawan) is that I am able to attend these animated movies with her thus sparing me from being a creepy middle-aged guy sitting alone in a theater full of kids. Which is a relief as now I can just be the creepy middle-aged guy sitting alone in all the other movie theaters. Luckily this weekend The Lego Movie 2 opened and I could share a review of a kids movie and give you a change from the usual schlock I deliver. The Lego Movie 2 takes us back to the land of awesome only to find that Emmet’s friends have been kidnapped by a strange alien visitor and Emmet has to summon the courage to rescue them before they are all sent to the bin of sto-rage. Much to my delight, this movie delivers a fun ride that walks that fine line of being both entertaining for kids and adults at the same time, much like its predecessor did. ( I had to through that big word in there to let you know how serious I am taking this review).
The Lego Movie 2 is an effortless sequel as it continues the in-jokes of the first one as well as building the world these characters live in so as to not be a simple rehash of the first. Writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have crafted another smart script that will keep you laughing with all of its references to all things geek, while still keeping this light enough that your kids will be so into the movie they won’t notice you eating all the popcorn. Director Mike Mitchell does a fine job balancing the kinetic energy of Emmet’s adventure with the emotional moments that all good animated movies have. The story of being true to yourself as well as holding on to a little bit of the innocence of being a kid is a delightful message in this world of cynicism that pushes kids to grow up faster than they should, something the movie plays with by having the characters and their world trying to be darker and brooding. The filmmakers have a blast poking fun at these movies that take their heroes and make them miserable just for the sake of being gritty. Thankfully, Emmet is just too optimistic and lovable with his goofy charisma to let that happen! I applaud the filmmakers for keeping this a movie for kids, despite all of the wonderful humor that adults will pick up on.
The cast continues their excellent work bringing these characters to life and adding new depth to each one. Chris Pratt has the most fun playing two characters, the aforementioned Emmet and his alter ego, the tough as nails, Rex Dangervest. There is a great joke about the transformation of Rex’s character that relates to the physical transformation Pratt did to land the role of Starlord in the Marvel movies. It was amusing to watch him play with natural goofiness and his now leading man status. Elizabeth Banks shines as Wyldstyle continuing to be a hero as well as discovering she doesn’t have to hide behind her tough exterior all the time. Both the lead characters have nice arcs that develop them into even more interesting leads. Will Arnett continues to get big laughs with his take on Batman and Tiffany Haddish adds even more fun to the film as Queen Whatever Wa’nabi, the films maybe or maybe not villain. As with the first movie, there is a human element in the story with the child actors returning, as well as Will Farrell’s voice. Plus Maya Rudolph makes an appearance as their mom and that adds bonus points as Maya is just a funny, funny person. Be on the lookout for a great cameo by a certain action hero, I will not give it away but it is a pleasant surprise!
I had to work hard to find any negatives for The Lego Movie 2 but there were just a few small ones. The human story doesn’t have as much of an impact as the first film. In fact, after the events of the first film, it was difficult to understand why one human character would act the way they do since the lesson of the first one should have influenced their behavior, but the resolution was a sweet message so we can’t get too nit-picky here. There was more singing in this one, I think, which got a bit repetitive after a while, although the Gotham Guys song was a riot. The only other thing I didn’t like was that the movie veered into some Toy Story territory with Lego characters seemingly moving on their own. Not a big complaint, but let’s keep our talking toy movies as separate as possible. Oh, and Marvel stop being greedy and get some of your characters in the next one!!
We have reached that time when we need to put up our Legos so Mom and Dad won’t step on any and end up in the fetal position on the floor in tears. To sum up this rambling review, I highly recommend The Lego Movie 2 as a fun alternative to all of the dark, gritty movies we are subjected to through the year. If you loved the first one you will not be disappointed by its sequel, and if you didn’t love the first one you are a weirdo with no soul. I hope you enjoyed this review and if you did like and share so we can take over the world! Feel free to comment as well, I’d love to read your responses. ( Well, the nice ones anyway)
As always, thanks for your time!
The Movie Psycho