Entertainment

Movie review: ‘Lego 2’ is that rare animal: A great sequel to a great movie

Determined Lucy/Wyldstyle and chirpy Emmet ponder how to save the world from an intergalactic attack. [Warner Bros.]
Ed Symkus More Content Now
Posted: Feb. 8, 2019 12:01 am

The gang is back. The little plastic collective of Lego men and Lego women and Lego animals and creatures and everything Lego that, five years ago, won over audiences (and took in about a third of a billion dollars at the box office) in “The Lego Movie.” They’re back, and they’re a welcome sight.

At least some of the gang is back. The hero and heroine of the first film have returned, they being the ever-positive, always-chirpy Emmet (voice of Chris Pratt) and the tough and feisty Lucy AKA Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks). Also on board again are Batman (Will Arnett), Unikitty (Alison Brie), astronaut Benny (Charlie Day), and pirate MetalBeard (Nick Offerman) and, again in cameo roles, most members of the Justice League, along with Abraham Lincoln. Conspicuously missing this time are Shaq O’Neal, Han Solo, and Bad Cop/Good Cop. But those no-show cameos are more than made up for by appearances from Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Bruce Willis, and Larry Poppins (Yes, Larry!).

Of more importance are the new main characters, among them Rex Dangervest (Chris Pratt), General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz) and - my favorite name - Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish).

If the first film was zany - and it was - the sequel is madcap. If the first film had a ridiculous amount of action and storytelling going on, this one requires a pen and notebook to keep track of things while watching it and a second or third viewing to catch whatever else is going on besides action and storytelling.

But that’s all fine and good. There is no recent movie that’s been more fun. The central premise is that five years after the first film (in real time and in movie time), just about everyone that was once happy is now not. Although Emmet is still zooming around singing the insufferable “Everything Is Awesome,” and Lucy is managing to put up a good front, Lego society has been steadily collapsing. Everything is going wrong. Then, wouldn’t you know it, that same troubled society is attacked by aliens from another planet, under the command of General Mayhem, whose name is apropos.

But, the Lego population is told, all of this can be avoided if five of you make the journey to the planet Sparkle to attend a big wedding. Five of them do go. All of their identities won’t be revealed here, but suffice it to say that Emmet doesn’t make the trip, Lucy does, and Emmet - did you know that Emmet had a thing for Lucy? - must figure out a way to get her back.

That’s it; that’s the central premise. But swirling around it is the joyous pandemonium that makes up a Lego movie. That wedding involves the aforementioned queen, who’s a fast-talker, and one of the quintet being brought to her planet. OK, OK, it’s Batman, but even poor, lonely, constantly broken-hearted Batman, again dryly and hilariously voiced by Will Arnett, doesn’t know that he’s to be the groom of this queen that he’s never heard of. Warning: There’s the existence of something called The Wedding Cake of Doom.

Although “Lego 2” is anything but a musical, one musical highlight is a duet by the queen and Batman on why marriage is a bad idea. There are contributions on the soundtrack ranging from Mötley Crüe to ZZ Top to Taylor Swift, and anyone staying for the end credits will be treated to a song about the end credits. But the best or maybe it’s the wittiest or hippest piece of music in this non-musical is sung by ... uh-oh, there was so much going on, I forgot to note who was singing. But the lyric goes, “Everything’s not awesome.”

Ed Symkus writes about movies for More Content Now. He can be reached at esymkus@rcn.com.

“The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part”
Written by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller; directed by Mike Mitchell
Rated PG

In Case You Missed It

Affordable housing solutions available under one roof
NECAC and Iowa's Rural Housing 360 will partner with local organizations to construct modular homes