Review: The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The LEGO Movie far exceeded my expectations when it was released in 2014, appealing to audiences of all ages. Let’s find out if “The Second Part” recaptures the magic of the original, and see how well the newly released LEGO sets align with their on-screen versions.
Warning, this review may contain minor spoilers. This review assumes you have already seen 2014’s original The LEGO Movie and explains the ending of the earlier film in detail. I’ve tried to keep this review from spoiling plot details of the new film which you couldn’t have guessed from watching the trailer.
This article includes a summary of the first movie’s ending, outlines what we can surmise from the sequel’s movie trailer, and summarizes the main source of conflict which is explored in the film (without spoiling too many of the details). We will wrap up with our review of the film, and we will see how closely the official sets based on The LEGO Movie 2 match their on-screen counterparts. (We offered a similar analysis of 2017’s The LEGO Ninjago Movie.)
How the first movie ended
At the end of 2014’s original The LEGO Movie, Finn’s father (played by Will Ferrel) puts the cap back on the Kragle, saving the city of Bricksburg from becoming locked in time. He goes on to explain to Finn that “I got to tell you something. Now that I’m letting you come down here and play, guess who else get’s to come down here and play? … Your Sister.”
Within seconds, a sparkly UFO arrives in Bricksburg delivering three crudely designed Duplo characters. The Duplo figures offer an ominous warning in a young girl’s voice: “We are from the planet Duplon. We are here to destroy you.”
Judging from the trailers for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, it looks like the creatures from planet Duplon were very effective in destroying Bricksburg. All that seems to have survived the relentless attack is the haphazardly built Apocalypseburg, and the Mad Max inspired interpretations of the heroes from the first film.
Cast of Characters
Wildstyle is back with a Bandana and dustproof goggles straight out of Burning Man, Batman is tougher than ever with oversized shoulder pads made out of car tires, and Unikitty has learned to channel her buried anger into the monstrous Ultrakatty. Benny and Emmet’s unshakable enthusiasm and obliviousness seems to have shielded them from post-apocalyptic transformations, appearing pretty much the same as they did in the first movie.
We’re also going to be introduced to Rex Dangervest—the tough guy hybrid of Chris Pratt’s cinematic roles as a “galaxy-defending, archaeologist, cowboy, and raptor trainer.” (Referencing his roles as Starlord in Guardians of the Galaxy, Joshua Faraday in The Magnificent Seven, Owen Grady in Jurassic World, and possible future role as Indiana Jones.)
The film’s antagonist is Sweet Mayhem. The candy colored space traveler is a Friends Minidoll rather than the classic LEGO Minifigure, complete with transparent sparkly blue wings and 42Bright Reddish VioletMagenta and 107Bright Bluish GreenDark Turquoise / Teal accents.
The sets released so far reveal several new supporting characters including three Minidolls (Susan, Tempo, and Melody), Benny’s three spaceman friends (Lenny, Jenny, and Kenny), and several anthropomorphized brick-built characters (Chocolate Bar, Ice Cream Cone, and Bananar).
The LEGO Movie 2 begins how the previous movie ended—with a sparkly UFO descending on Bricksburg to deliver three monsters from planet Duplon who “are here to destroy you”. After bikering amongst themselves, it is Emmett who presents a pink heart made of LEGO bricks to the monsters. It is little surprise that the beasts devour the offering and begin destroying the city. Without missing a beat, we are thrust into frantic scenes where our heroes fight to protect Bricksburg against wave after wave of destruction.
After this brief opening sequence, we find ourselves five years later with our familiar heroes living in Apocalypseburg, the appropriately named post-apocalyptic city which was haphazardly built in the outskirts of the ruined city of Bricksburg. Almost everyone in Apocalypseburg have transformed into bitter, battle-hardened versions of their prior selves…. Except of course for Emmett, who remains cheerful in these dark times as he walks through dismal Apocalypseburg while continuing to sing along to “Everything is Awesome”.
After learning that Apocalypseburg is their only hope for survival against constant destruction, Emmett expresses his unflinching optimism and his fondness for Lucy by building a happy blue and yellow home just outside of Apocalypseburg. While showing off the happy home that he hopes they could live in, they see a bright light streak across the sky. Upon further investigation, they learn that something they have never seen before has landed on their planet—the Systar Starship has arrived. We soon learn that the ship is piloted by Sweet Mayhem. In her white, pink, and blue spacesuit, she is the first Minidoll to appear in the LEGO Movie world.
After yet another destructive onslaught, our heroes are forced to retreat to safety. Despite their best efforts, Sweet Mayhem manages to abduct the five bravest citizens of Apocalypseburg and take them to the Systar System. Afraid that Lucy is in danger, Emmett builds a ship and sets out on his own to rescue Lucy and the four other heroes.
In trying to rescue Lucy, we meet Rex Dangervest, and visit several widely different planets where we discover a diverse cast of new characters. Along the way, we explore the competing pressures of embracing your family and growing up.
Before I can effectively review the new movie, I wanted to highlight a few of the reasons I love the earlier film…
The First Part
I’ve watched the original film many times because it features interesting characters, and an enjoyable story with something to offer to viewers of all ages. Adult fans will appreciate how faithfully the movie re-creates the jerky stop-motion style of popular brickfilms, massive brick-built environments, and geeky references like how Emmet can see LEGO Part ID’s for every LEGO brick around him when he finally becomes a Master Builder at the end of the movie. (A not-so-subtle nod to how Neo can see the code within the Matrix.)
While I don’t prefer films which employ a story-within-a-story as a framing device, it works pretty well in this movie. The brief live action interlude between Will Farrel’s character and the 8 1/2 year old boy touches on the inevitable tension between how adult builders see LEGO bricks as “a highlly sophisticated interlocking brick system” and sometimes lose sight of the fact that they were originally intended as a children’s toy.
I was also impressed by how well they represented the various storage products which Adult Fans of LEGO use to meticulously organize their LEGO collections. (Including many of the products highlighted in my in-depth LEGO Storage Guide.)
The Second Part
As in the original film, the sequel is quick to make a joke and offers plenty of easter eggs for attentive fans. Amongst waves of destruction at the beginning of the film, someone asks where is Batman? Of course we already know that… “He is off having a completely separate standalone adventure.” I also enjoyed cameo appearances of not just one but three different versions of Wonder Woman: as a Minifigure, a Minidoll, and as a Duplo figure.
The stop-motion animation style is also preserved from the original movie, accurately matching the movements which are possible with real LEGO minifigures (rather than allowing their arms and legs to bend in arbitrary ways). This effect is enhanced by the decision to design almost all of the environments using LEGO bricks as well, with only a few non-LEGO design details such as occasional fabric and paper. The more relaxed use of non-brick-built environments in the The LEGO Batman Movie, and The LEGO Ninjago Movie really decreased my appreciation of those films as an adult fan of LEGO.
One of the things I loved about the first movie is that major plot points were only possible because their world was made of LEGO. Sadly, this doesn’t happen all that often; the storyline doesn’t exploit the ability to rebuild the world as often as in the first film. (As a LEGO geek, I love that we continue to see LEGO Part ID’s overlaid on the world when we switch into “Master Builder” mode.)
Music continues to play a central role in the new story. A few scenes are portrayed as a Disney-style musical interlude, with plenty of catchy pop-music to get stuck in your head. None of the songs are quite as catchy as “Everythign is Awesome”, but maybe it will just take time to warm to the new songs.
As in the original film, we switch to Live Action occasionally to see how the real world is impacting the story taking place between the LEGO characters. I do not like when movies use a framing device like this, and found it slightly more jarring in the sequel because it happened more often. It doesn’t break the story, but it does interrupt the flow a bit.
I am happy to report that The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is a fun movie which will appeal to Adult LEGO fans and their children. The sequel is funny, faithful to real LEGO bricks, has an engaging story with compelling characters, and the conclusion is reasonably satisfying. That said, I do not think it is quite as good as the original film.
Everyone I’ve talked to expected the first film to be a superficial story meant to sell LEGO sets. Instead, we got an engaging story which explores the tension between a child’s desire to play, and a world filled with rules that constrain their creativity. Since the first film was so good, it’s hard not to hold the sequel to a higher bar.
Siblings struggling to find common ground is the underlying story of the sequel. That’s a bit harder for adult audiences to connect with; it’s easier to imagine yourself as Lord Business than it is to put yourself in the shoes of Finn or his younger sister Bianca. The plot also explores the anxieties of growing up. That’s a more mature theme that is a bit more relatable, but is the weaker thread in the overall story.
I am extremely pleased to have a high-quality sequel to one of my favorite recent movies. While I don’t expect to watch it as frequently as the original, I look forward to watching it again soon.
Official LEGO Sets
There has been a product blitz leading up to The LEGO Movie 2’s cinematic release. This includes 13 regular sets, the massive #70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!, three open-ended creator-style sets, #70820 LEGO Movie Maker, and several small polybag sets. There’s even a Duplo set: #10895 Emmet and Lucy’s Visitors from the DUPLO Planet. In this section, we look at a few more sets which weren’t included elsewhere in the review, and discuss how accurately they match the movie.
#70841 Benny’s Space Squad.
While there is no denying the appeal of this 10$ set, Benny’s friends only appear for a few seconds in the movie.
This 2-in-1 set matches what we see in the movie very closely.
#70835 Rex’s Rexplorer!
This set is faithful to the film, where Emmett and Rex explore an alien planet.
In addition to debuting the new “Coral” colored parts, the Party Bus features prominently in the film, and is accurate to how it appears on screen.