The early cynicism about capitalism and subsequent happy surprise that greeted 2014’s The LEGO Movie is gone. How can a sequel even begin to crack success of the first one? Enter The LEGO movie 2: The Second Part, blasting its hyper-colorized retina-burning images to the grateful masses. We are now in need of two hours of blessed attention-deficit-inducing relief from the current bleakness of our current political landscape.
It’s been five years since all was well and truly awesome in LEGO world, and what was once pop-music shiny is now a vast wasteland called Apocalypseburg, due to repeat invasions from the Duplo invaders. Even as Emmet (Chris Pratt) continues to remain upbeat, building a dream home where he hopes to live with Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), Sweet Mayhem, the general of the Duplo army (Stephanie Beatriz) kidnaps Lucy, Batman Will Arnett), Unikitty (Alison Brie), and others, and whisks them away to the Systar system. They expect Batman to wed Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish), who actually seems to appeal to him. Emmet goes after them, running into dino-wrangling, spaceship-driving Rex Dangervest, who is a tough, serious, cynic. The two take on all the folks of the Systar system in an effort to free Emmet’s friends and lady love. All this action parallels happenings in the human world, where lack of sibling cooperation leads to threats of the LEGOs being put away for good.
This movie goes a mile a minute. There is so much happening onscreen, so many little jokes, references to sci-fi classics, and parallels to recent blockbusters, the audience barely has time to take it all in. It makes other movies built for distraction pale in comparison. Imagine a fast paced video game, add singing and music, lots of pop culture references, and you’ll get the idea.
The film also belongs to the Whitney Houston school of “it’s not right, but it’s ok”. There are definitely some bad things happening. Everything is decidedly not awesome. Taking a deep dive under under it’s candy coated exterior you might find the metaphors hitting you square in the face. It might bring the existential angst of living in the time of Trump to the surface. That’s where I went about 2/3rds of the way through the film. Still, it’s a fun excursion into fantasy, even as it might remind us of our own present experience in the US, which could arguably be called a political Apocolypseburg. The obvious parallels you might make won’t overshadow what the barrage of glitter, color, and catchy tunes will do to make you smile, forget the mess the world is in, and enjoy your popcorn. The real world can wait.
4 out of 5 stars