Film

Baffling? Brilliant? What the heck is “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part?”

 

I’m not sure what I just saw.

It’s either a brilliant or an incoherent mess of a movie.

Like, I left the theater after seeing The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part absolutely baffled. It’s not bad per se. I’ve seen much worse movies. But, this movie is just so different in tone, humor and themes than the first that my mind can’t connect the two.

Also, it’s a psuedo-musical, but…despite the songs meaning to be catchy, including one with the name “Catchy Song” but I don’t remember any of them. The only one that has really stayed with me is “Not Evil,” and that has less to do with song itself and more about the role it ends up playing in the movie.

Again, they’re not bad songs. Just…not…memorable? It’s obvious they wanted to recreate the success of “Everything is Awesome,” with same kind of commentary but had way too many ideas, so they went with them all.

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And… I just have no way of explaining the plot of this movie. Like a major plot point is that Batman, the insecure emo Lego Batman, is forced to marry the shape shifting Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi. I mean… Yeah, I definitely forced my toys to marry each other (namely my Power Rangers to my Groovy Girls or Barbies) but it’s just so jarring to see on screen, especially when it’s combined with a pseudo time-travel plot, brainwashing and sentient velociraptors.

Like the only way this makes any sense is because it’s a mixture of the stories told by Finn and his little sister Bianca. So, I gotta give points for that.

It’s hard to capture the verisimilitude of a child’s imagination. It’s even hard to capture two children, at vastly different stages of development and combine those to make a coherent narrative.

There’s still some things that don’t make sense. I’m not sure when the LEGO toys are sentient.

And when they aren’t. But I guess that’s not that important.

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The movie pretty much begins where the last one ended, with Emmett trying to make a peace offering to the Duplo aliens. It then skips a head around five years; the city of Bricksburg has been under almost constant attack from the aliens. As such, the citizens have become angsty, and pessimistic, while trying to survive the apocalyptic wasteland.

Except for the cheery Emmett. He doesn’t seem to recognize what’s going on and is still his normal, happy self.

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And the others, including Lucy (formerly Wyldstyle) criticize his attitude and immaturity.

Then one day, Emmett has a vision; he needs to stop something called Armamageddon by 5:15. And that’s when General Sweet Mayhem comes and abducts all of Emmett’s friends to bring them to the Systar System for some nefarious purpose. 

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Emmett teams up with Rex Dangervest, a very masculine hero-type who has a spaceship with a crew of sentient raptors to stop Queen Wat’evra Wan’tanabe from completing her plan by shutting off the brainwashing pop music  a destroying the wedding cake. And Emmett begins to take on some of Rex’s personality traits to try to impress Lucy

During the attempt, Lucy learns that their plan won’t stop Armamageddon, but cause it.

The members of the Systar system including the Queen are not evil. They just want to spend time with the members of Bricksburg, but are just REALLY bad at communicating it.

And it turns out Rex wanted to stop the wedding, because he’s actually Emmett from the future who was forgotten after he fell under the washing machine and wants revenge on his friends for forgetting about him…by making sure his past self falls succumbs to the same fate…and becomes depressed (and manly) villain.

But then it gets confusing.

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In reality, Finn and Bianca’s mom forces them to put all of their Legos in storage because they couldn’t stop fighting, but it’s somehow all the LEGO figures singing a reprise of “Everything is Awesome” that somehow convinces Finn to make up for his mistake.

Whether this is real or not is up for debate in my mind.

In the end, Finn and Bianca help each other rebuild and their mom lets them keep the toys with Batman and the Queen marrying each other in Syspocalypstar

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It’s also revealed that Lucy is one of the original artists of Everything is Awesome. Then the movie ends.

And then it gets to some pretty awesome credits. (Seriously. The credits were awesome.)

There’s a lot happening in this movie, in terms of themes. Like Ralph Wrecks the Internet, a lot of people are talking about how this film tackles toxic masculinity. While it’s much more evident (and well done) in this film, I think a lot of it is actually more about letting yourself be childish while you grow up.

Finn’s story “matures” and becomes more convoluted as he grows older and as reflected by the pop culture he mimics in his play: Mad Max: Fury Road, Back to the Future, Marvel movies…. It’s part of growing up. And because he’s a teenager, it’s easy to see why he’s turning back on things like optimism; there’s certainly not enough in our media today but really, I just think that’s part of being a teenager.

You turn your back on everything childish, because you so desperately want to be seen as mature or cool.

Finn, is lucky, he realizes that it’s fine to like childish things while still in his teens. Other people don’t figure this out till they’re much older, if at all.

Considering the age and creativity gap between Finn and his dad from the first movie, it wouldn’t surprise me if many older fans are the “follow the instructions” type of people while kids tend to build whatever pleases them.

And while I can definitely see how Rex Dangervest can be taken as a warning against toxic masculinity; he’s literally a combination of all of Chris Pratt’s most recent film roles (I’m assuming Finn still isn’t allowed to watch Parks and Rec) all of which are pretty generic action hero asshole types, I think it’s pretty ridiculous to act as though, this all due to male socialization.

The way I interpreted it, was more about emotional maturity and growth. It’s good that Finn is learning that he can still express positive emotions and still be considered a man, I like the idea. It gets expressed in a lot of media.

You can grow up, but you don’t have to grow old per say. But I think this movie adds an extra layer to it, by saying certain things aren’t necessarily childish.

But it’s still done in a kind of confusing way to me…

And the humor falls a little flat more so. There’s one joke about Marvel characters that just doesn’t really fit with the rest of film, considering within the story itself, they’re just toys.  It’s more dated, and just not as based on the fact that they’re toys.

And master building barely fits into the plot.

I understand it’s two separate people mixing and matching stories, but you would think there would be a better connection.

I did like how they factored Queen Wat’evera into the plot and her origins; I thought that was creative. But really, while individual pieces work; the film as a whole, is kind of just a story told by two kids one afternoon.

I’m still not sure if this is brilliant or if it’s just an excuse to make sure the film doesn’t make complete sense.

That’s the scoop!

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If you liked this review, read:Ralph Breaks the Internet proves Disney shouldn’t try to so hard to prove they’re “woke.”

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Score: 8/10

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Year of Release: 2019

Producers: Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Roy Lee, Jinko Gotoh

Director: Mike Mitchell

Screenplay: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Story by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Matthew Fogel

Voice actors: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Maya Rudolph

 

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