Remember “We are from the planet...Jukepod? We are here to destrooooy you.” The reaction from Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt, who had an explosion of a good year in 2014 for starring in the first Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy) was “Oh...Man!” That was the finale of the movie that kickstarted a brand new way of animation solely from Legos, and the filmmakers have decided to keep the timeline in check and expand on this invasion of Lego bricks that have laid haste onto the world of Emmett, Wyldstyle, Batman, Benny, Metalbeard, Unikitty and everyone else. Turns out, these cutie patootie creations are more volatile than some expected. Five years have now passed, and it’s the apocalypse. These creatures keep wiping out anything the people of Bricksburg can build, and always retreat through the Systar System. The only one that hasn’t completely lost hope is Emmet, and he desperately hopes him and Wyldstyle; ahem, Lucy, can still have a comfortable home with a waffle room no less. Though one day when it seems another attack is on the rise by what the people of Bricksburgh are now calling Duplo aliens, a masked doll named General Sweet Mayhem kidnaps Emmet’s friends, and none of the ones left behind trust Emmet at this point to be serious enough to get them back, before “Armamageddon” arrives. I guess in five years of mayhem, some Lego Figures forget some things.
I remember when the first Lego Movie was released, with a 100% Tomatometer at first and the internet going crazy when Kyle Smith of the New York Post ended the streak with a 2/4 grade, and there was a discussion page bashing him for a while. I saw the movie in theatres with some friends, and while I did not adore it, its heart of yellow plastic bricks and its sensationally fast pace was impossible to resist. I did feel it was a bit relentlessly goofy but abnormally its own, so I thought, “Okay. Good for it.” The Lego Batman Movie also had some notable puns that felt kind of better off as separate memes rather than having them all loudly bundled together, but I gave that movie the same grade as the first (a B+ if you’re wondering), so I honestly don’t know what made me skip out on the Ninjago movie. Cause neither Lego movies were bad. Maybe I was beginning to feel like I was growing out of them. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for animation for a while until the year of 2017 passed. Despite that, I was excited to see the group of entangled Lego misfit master builders kick some plastic butt once again. And as much as I want to deny my disappointment, I have to face facts.
What I loved about the first two Lego movies were how inventive they were with their environments. It all resembled stop-motion animation in a fresh new light. Oh, and some nice heart and one-liners. I was in the mood for more of that. What I was not in the mood for was a musical. Wyldstyle even says “Oh no, I think we just stepped into a musical”. And honestly, the songs are good. No song is bad. They’re catchy. It’s just...did this movie really have to do this? The filmmakers went from an adventure having one song, with one or two repeats, to a six song Disney-esque original jukebox adventure. And I honestly do not think the target audience of 8-year-olds and older people who loved the first Lego movies walked in to revisit Emmett and Wyldstyle after five years for that. And deep down, I bet lots of people are excited to see Frozen 2 not to listen to a new collection of loud songs but to see Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven again.
I did end up appreciating the message of being willing to share what you like with your brother and sister when they want to hang out with you, even if you’re a different gender. That was a great way to look at toys. But when the movie tries to teach the lesson that the different Legos from the other world just want to hang out, well, the first movie (and this movie) end and begin, respectively, with the words, “We are here to destroy you.” And destroy they do. I didn’t buy how they never had a chance to talk to them properly. There’s also a feminist message about how Wyldstyle was the true hero and Emmet took all the credit just because he was a guy. Uh...while it’s true she was the better builder and Emmet was the learner, he did manage to build something on a submarine that saved his friends because it was the only thing left intact. And he did come up with an idea to get into President Business’ corporation that was the closest to succeeding out of all the other attempts. He also sacrificed himself to stop an apocalypse and managed to convince President Business to not “Kragle” the world together. Yes, Wyldstyle saved Emmet’s life from Bad Cop by beating all the laser-armed guards, built the awesome racecars that saved him in Bricksburgh and the desert, and loads of other stuff too. It’s just, Emmet was not useless is all.
Now, before I forget, the animation is still unbelievable. Tiffany Haddish’s character morphs reminded me of how different the stop-motion animation was way back in the day. What makes this movie’s fact that it’s a musical even more disappointing is how comparably delightful it is to the first movie whenever it isn’t singing, when it focuses on Emmett and Wyldstyle, about how some of us might see Emmett as annoyingly optimistic, including Wy-er-Lucy, at parts, and the importance of thinking really carefully on what you wish for. When Wyldstyle realizes Emmett could actually end up being more serious and reluctant about life, she realizes that actually wasn’t something she wanted. Also, when a misunderstanding happens and one of them does something bad, the other person is not mad about the misunderstanding, when it would be so easy to hold a slight grudge to fix up by the movie climax. When in reality, after five years of a relationship, it’s not so easy to stay mad at someone and there are some couples in and outside of film who are willing to forgive and forget instantly.
One very good thing I can’t deny is its expansion on the human world, and what happens to Legos dropped down and accidentally shoved into tight invisible spaces. My favourite part of that was its expansion on the Legos being able to move in the human world, after Emmet was able to move in the first film to distract the real-world Will Ferrell, with the right amount of resistance. We see so much more of that here, and it was like watching them trying to fight with the gravity 15 times more, and the air supremely thin. I also can’t help but simply appreciate the idea of doing what you like to do with your little sister.
I just feel like if the first Lego Movie were set up this way with all of this music, it wouldn’t have ended up the humongous success it now is. I’d much rather watch Wyldstyle flip and kick a ton of President Business’ skeletrons to the curb while rescuing Emmet from being laser-melted than try to rant during a song about how Tiffany Haddish’s tough-to-pronounce character is completely suspiciously just adding “un” to all of the things she is.