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  Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The Twice Around The Block
Year: 2019
Director: Mike Mitchell
Stars: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day, Maya Rudolph, Will Ferrell, Jadon Sand, Brooklynn Prince, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade, Jason Momoa, Ralph Fiennes
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Animated, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: It appeared to be all sorted in Brickburg now that Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) had saved the day with his allies, including Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and Batman (Will Arnett), but no sooner were they about to celebrate than a group of monsters appeared and started destroying everything in sight, this despite Emmet's attempt the put them off with a display of friendship: as a builder, he had made a heart out of the Lego blocks around them. However, this merely made the monsters grow in number and more enthusiastic about taking the blocks to wherever their lair may have been, and so, five years later, Emmet and the rest who have survived are living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland...

The Lego Movie, released five years before this sequel, was a lovely surprise; it could have been a soulless bit of corporate promotion, but something about the toy's dedication to opening up imagination was wholly present in the film that tapped into what audiences loved about it, in a way the Transformers productions did not. They were followed by two spin-offs, The Lego Batman Movie which was an equal success, financially and artistically, and The Lego Ninjago Movie, which lacking brand recognition outside of the very young, failed to take off in the same manner as its two predecessors. Then came this direct follow-up, which took a fifth of the box office. Oh dear.

Mind you, it still took a hundred million dollars, and that's not to be sneezed at for many films, yet compared to the phenomenon of the first, it had to be judged a disappointment. Maybe the novelty had worn off, maybe the much-delayed release harmed the momentum, but there was a lack of diehard fans of Part 2 in the fashion that the one that kicked this all off had. Given it followed the same pattern as before, and was scripted by the original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (also aboard as producers) with the same quickfire gags and ultimate sentimentality, it could be that the majority who had created the crossover hit felt they had seen too much of this material before.

The plot verged on the chaotic rather than the inventive, and while there were laughs here, they were not as consistent as the initial two entries in the series, but these were quibbles as where this really fell down was in its schmaltzy theme. Emmet has been trying to stay optimistic as the world goes to Hell all around him, and Wildstyle (or Lucy, as she's actually called) is having misgivings about this positivity as everything in their lives is negative - Batman, naturally, is lapping this up because it suits his tough guy attitude. What if Emmet had that same attitude, asks the film, would that be an improvement? The answer it comes up with was a resounding no, as ultimately it wants things to stay exactly as they were, which is odd since it acknowledged the fact that children grow up and set aside their toys.

So far, so Toy Story 3, but this was a step down in its "play nice" moralising, yes, the twist when it came was audacious enough, however it was not particularly satisfying; maybe they needed another run at it to have it land with the emotion they were obviously hankering for. With Emmet losing his friends to the Systar galaxy system, which basically blows the whole reveal early on because it is what it sounds like, he teams up with the suspiciously similar-vocally Rex Dangervest who is a rebel in a self-consciously grown up style that an adolescent might try to adopt as a personality (again, alarm bells should be ringing), whereas this was telling us to enjoy our toys while we can, specifically the toys manufactured by the Lego company. There was nothing especially wrong in that, and it contained the same suspicion of overbearing maturity that the first instalment conveyed, it was simply not as smooth, not as refreshing, this time around, despite nice voice work and some decent tunes that turned this into a musical. The surprise element was no longer present, though, and this jabbered and yammered when you wanted wit and innovation. Music by Mark Mothersbaugh.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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