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The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part takes place five years after we last saw Bricksburg, and continues the adventures of novice Master Builder Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) and Master Builder Lucy/Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) as they trek across the Lego galaxy. It also introduces new characters such as the queen of the Systar System, Watevra Wa-Nab (Tiffany Haddish) as well old favourites such as Batman (Will Arnett). As before, there are plenty of inside DC Comics jokes on offer, many that leave geeks like me chortling, though the film itself, while good, isn’t as awesome.

Like a performer following up one of the greatest acts of all time, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part was always going to have a difficult time living up to the nearly impossible standards of its predecessor. Certainly, it tries, with gorgeous animation, complicated, multilayered storytelling that, in the typical fashion of the franchise, often breaks the fourth wall. It also has pop culture references, funny jokes, longer catchier songs and more, but it can’t quite breach (or reach) the heights of the first film. You can call this sequelitis. After all, the writing is good but not as sharp, but to be honest some of it is down to the risky storytelling twist of the first film itself.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part was always going to have a difficult time living up to the nearly impossible standards of its predecessor

As you may recall, at the end of The Lego Movie (2014) we find out that all of the Lego characters we had been watching were from the imagination of an eight-year-old boy named Finn (Jadon Sand). We also learn that he has a prickly relationship with his father, played by Will Ferrell, who is intent on gluing all the pieces in place, much to the unhappiness of his creative son. This melancholic twist was good because it posed several existential questions, but it also felt sombre because it … well, posed several existential questions. Moreover, it affected how we felt about the rest of the film. No longer did we feel as invested in these characters, because as the movie had so clearly reminded us, they weren’t real.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part doubles down on the ending. Continuing with the final twist of The Lego Movie is the introduction of Finn’s younger sister, Bianca. She brings in her Duplo bricks, which for those of you who don’t have kids, are simpler and larger Lego-branded pieces for younger children. The Duplo bricks and characters turn the fine town of Bricksburg into Apocalypseburg, a post-apocalyptic world, causing its inhabitants to feel more apprehensive.

The Duplo bricks and characters turn the fine town of Bricksburg into Apocalypseburg, a post-apocalyptic world, causing its inhabitants to feel more apprehensive.

Granted, the Duplo invasions with Finn and Bianca happen only a few times in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, and can be funny, but they occur often enough to serve as a distraction. What’s more, a continuing reminder that none of this is real is enough to hurt our suspension of disbelief, which leaves us significantly less invested in the proceedings.

Now, you could say that this is a kids’ movie designed to sell toys, so don’t take it so seriously. This would be true. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is certainly a colourful, fun film ready to entertain families. What’s more, the younger audiences may find the sibling creator dynamic amusing and relatable. Where the film falters by comparison to the best family films is that all of its pieces don’t fit in perfect harmony, no matter how earnestly it tries.

Rated PG for some rude humour

Published in Dawn, ICON, February 17th, 2019