The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 2/17/19
Music: Mark Mothersbaugh
Cast: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Maya Rudolph, Charlie Day, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Will Ferrell

Everything's not awesome. When Emmet (Chris Pratt) saved Bricksburg and the known universe from annihilation, he also inadvertently ushered in an age of endless warfare against the Duplo invaders from the Systar System. Five years later, Bricksburg has turned into a hardened wasteland known as Apocalypseburg, and everyone except Emmet has become edgy and dangerous. During the latest Duplo attack, General Mayhem kidnaps Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett), Benny (Charlie Day), Unikitty (Alison Brie), and MetalBeard (Nick Offerman), and forces them to take part in Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi's (Tiffany Haddish) seemingly sinister wedding. Only Emmet can save his friends, but he needs to toughen up first.

Apart from a promising opening sequence, the charm that makes the Lego movies so appealing is almost completely absent. Instead, subtlety is completely cast aside and the film becomes a tedious study in sibling rivalry and a heavy-handed metaphor for the death of imagination. The weak attempts at humor fall flat and the pop culture references fail to be amusing. The disjointed and nonsensical story is broken up even further with disruptive musical numbers and unwanted intrusions from reality. It's really frustrating to see so much potential handled so incompetently. The film looks fantastic and the animation is stunning, but it's overly fluid and is missing the stop-motion aesthetic of the original. The voice performances are excellent, and Elizabeth Banks totally owns the film. Lucy/WyldStyle is the only character who takes the movie seriously, and she's the only one worth rooting for. I would have preferred watching an entire movie of just her adventures in Apocalypseburg. Given how disappointing this film is, it will be interesting to see where the franchise goes next. At this point, they might be better off calling it quits.