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“The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part”: fun at a million MPH

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“The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part”: fun at a million MPH

Rune Torgersen, Copy Desk Chief

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The Lego franchise has long had a reputation for bringing together franchises that wouldn’t normally exist within the same space. Whenever the company acquires the rights to produce brick-based assembly toys based on a popular franchise, they also gain the opportunity to incorporate that franchise in other media down the line, such as video games and movies. This is where the popular “Lego Star Wars” games got their start, along with all of their other officially licensed cousins, such as “Lego Lord of the Rings” and “Lego Indiana Jones.”

Enter “The Lego Movie.” The 2014 animated feature film took an interesting approach to adapting an entire line of construction toys into one single hour-and-a-half long spectacle. In order to accomplish this, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (“22 Jump Street”) decided to pretend that all of these different licensed Lego sets actually exist within the same universe. I won’t get into too much detail here, but this does lead to a council of elders which includes Gandalf, Abraham Lincoln, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Superman and various other seemingly random picks out of any fourth-grader’s imagination. The original film ends in a surprisingly clever twist, in which it turns out that the whole movie was actually set in a father’s (Will Ferrell) basement, and being acted out by his young son (Jadon Sand), who’s usually never allowed to play with the Legos down there. This is accomplished through a surprise switch from the faux-stop motion animation to live-action. It was jarring at first, but upon re-watching the film, it was clear that this had been built up and foreshadowed the whole time.

Five years later, the sequel is in theatres, named “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” because creativity is sometimes overrated. Interestingly enough, the movie itself also takes place exactly five years after the events of the first one. The first film concluded with space aliens built out of Duplo, the toddler-friendly version of Lego, invading the film’s set, voiced by the main character’s little sister. The years have seen the previously bright and friendly Bricksburg become the “Mad Max”-esque Apocalypseburg, because the main character is a teenager now and things need to be edgy. That doesn’t stop the continuous parade of references to other franchises, however. Batman (Will Arnett) takes the role of a warlord chieftain in this barren desert, and Superman, Abe Lincoln, Mary Poppins’ lame brother Larry Poppins and many others populate the newly-edgy world of this child’s imagination.

Phil Lord and Chris Miller penned the script for this one too, though it was directed by Mike Mitchell (“Trolls”). Naturally, this means that the jokes fly at your face at approximately a million miles an hour, with some sort of reference, visual gag or pun being present on-screen at nearly all times. The cast is phenomenal too, featuring Chris Pratt as the lead Lego character Emmett, alongside a bunch of other huge names. Jason Momoa plays Aquaman in a fun little cameo. Bruce Willis plays himself, as he’s encountered multiple times throughout the film in air ducts. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill play Superman and Green Lantern, respectively. This list barely even scratches the surface of the long list of cameos and guest appearances, all of which hit comedic timing perfectly. Joke setups can be as short as a two-second clip of a banana slipping on its own peel, then pay off as a vital part of the climax of its film. You never know where the movie is headed next or who it’ll meet along the way.

The first film’s soundtrack had a single called “Everything is Awesome,” by Tegan and Sara, and The Lonely Island. This ended up becoming almost as big as the film itself, so the sequel goes for a repeat performance with not one but two big-budget lead singles. The lead singles are “Catchy Song,” by Dillon Francis featuring T-Pain and That Girl Lay Lay, and “Super Cool,” by Beck featuring Robyn and The Lonely Island. The latter is a song about how the credits are always better than the rest of the movie, because even the musical score to this film is a joke.

In addition, there’s a smattering of musical numbers penned by Jon Lajoie (the guy behind a lot of viral music videos from the mid-200s).

There’s a lot I haven’t even touched on, like the animation, which makes the whole thing look like a stop-motion film made with actual Legos, right down to the plasticky shine. This gives the movie a wonderful tactile feeling and reminds me of a trip to Legoland. If you weren’t a fan of the first film’s childlike humor and complete disregard for narrative convention, this won’t make a convert out of you, but for the rest of us, everything is, indeed, still awesome.

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