Everyone expected the first Lego movie to be a soulless cash grab, a feature length advert for a product which already sold incredibly well in the first place, so it came as quite the surprise that it was a joyful, beautifully inventive and very funny film with a strong moral message about the importance of imagination and creativity. It made stars out of writer directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord (previously best known for Clone High) and led to a couple of spin off’s, one good (The Lego Batman Movie) and one average (The Lego Ninjago Movie) and now Lord and Miller have returned to the franchise for a proper sequel.
The first half hour of the film had me a bit worried though, not that it’s in any way bad and there’s a good few funny moments, most of which involve Will Arnett’s Batman, but it felt a bit bland, a tad by the numbers and there was a feeling that it wasn’t doing anything particularly new. Set in a now mostly destroyed Lego city the world has apparently gone to shit over the past five years, mainly because of aliens (ie the sister of the brother from the first film) invading the world and blowing it to smithereens every time they rebuild, so they just gave up doing so. It has a Mad Max feel to it but it’s actually quite drab, there’s some cute visuals but in general it was oddly mundane.
Fortunately the moment everyone leaves the city it picks up and once again becomes a delight. The plot’s actually quite complicated for a kids film as it involves time travel and a few scenes set in the real world with the kids playing with the Lego, but hey, as with most time travel stories it’s just best to go with it and not question the logic too much, or the fact that some of the Lego figures appear to be sentient in the kid’s reality. Chris Pratt doubles up as Emmett and Rex Dangervest and makes both characters a lot of fun, Elizabeth Banks adds some emotional depth to the film as Wildstyle, and newcomer to the series Tiffany Haddish makes for a great possible villain as Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi.
There’s so much to enjoy here that listing all the highlights would lead to a three thousand word review, and surely nobody wants that, but the songs again are fantastic (A duet between Bats and the Queen being especially superb), Will Arnett gets to have a lot of fun with Batman falling in love, there’s some great cameos and mockery of Twilight type vampires, Rex Dangervest and his friendly raptors produced a lot of very funny moments, and while some references to classic films will probably go over the intended audience’s heads they make it all the more fun for the older types watching it.
As well as an impressive density of jokes there’s once again a sweet central message, with this time it being about the importance of learning to play together, to bond with your siblings and loved ones, and to not grow up too fast and cherish your childhood, all of which manages to feel affecting without ever being saccharine. It’s a shame that the first twenty minutes or so are slightly patchy, and it’s not quite as good as the first movie, but it’s one of the best sequels ever made and as with the first film it’s a movie which you’ll want to watch time and again.