Snapshots are extra short reviews. Everything you need to know, nothing you don’t.
Pixar and Dreamworks have worked wonders to restore my faith in the power of sequels, but Disney, no surprise, has made me a bitter atheist. All of their blatant profiteering in place of original concepts has trained me to instinctively cringe when I hear ‘animated’ and ‘sequel’ in the same sentence.
That said, I’ll try to be objective in this quick snapshot review of The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. The movie is at once amusing and unnecessary, but with far less of the why-does-this-exist drudgery of a Disney sequel (or the live-action Aladdin…). It delivers exactly what you want from a sequel to The Lego Movie. There is a satisfactory supply of one-liners, including a gut-busting punchline about a centaur. There’s the customary genre spoofing – the Independence Day opening is delightful. And there is plenty of Emmet being Emmet, Wyldstyle being Wyldstyle, Will Arnett being Batman… it’s definitely a Lego Movie movie, even if it lacks the originality and sheer audacity that made the first film spectacular (spoilers to follow).
Regrettably, the second movie is necessarily at a disadvantage to its predecessor because it lacks the plot twist that made it so iconic. We’re well aware by now that the adventure takes place in the real world, at the hands (literally) of humans, which means that the real-world happenings aren’t quite as impactful. More absurd, yes, but not as poignant.
The story is broken down into two simple plotlines, one following each of the human siblings. The brother’s storyline about a macho Rex Dangervest is on-the-nose, preachy, and overdone. It’s a wholesome message, made entertaining with layers of pop culture references, but it’s still one we’ve heard over and over – and the ‘twist’ is anything but. The sister’s storyline, thankfully, is far more nuanced, and the path it takes caught me genuinely by surprise. Not to mention her accompanying musical numbers are utterly refreshing. It’s ironic that the least memorable song is the one they deliberately designed to be stuck in your head, while Queen Wa’Nabi’s solo is perfectly Hamilton-esque both in style and catchiness.
The movie can best be summed up in the scene where Maya Rudolph steps on a Lego brick twice. The first time, we laugh heartily because most parents are intimately familiar with the struggle. The second time, we chuckle because Maya Rudolph is making faces – the novelty has worn off, but it’s exaggerated, so we’ll indulge it a little longer. Three times would be pushing it though. And given how nicely the ending is resolved, and given that they literally tease for a third movie before saying ‘let’s not tease for a third movie’, I sincerely hope they don’t follow the Disney route by making the saga a trilogy.