Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part Review

It’s time to look at the follow up to the original Lego Movie. That one was a pretty big hit and did a good job of being a big Warner Bros crossover. It was a good blend of action and comedy and brought the lego genre over to the general public. Unfortunately this sequel missed the mark on just about everything that made the first film so good. The biggest problem here though is that the film insists on making the human characters a bigger part of the experience and I don’t think this was a good move.

The heroes saved the universe last time, but the world is invaded by new creatures. I’ll quickly mention here that it was neat how quickly these guys attacked. It’s almost like the second Mortal Kombat film in that respect as they really waste absolutely no time. The heroes get wrecked and we get a 5 year timeskip. The Justice League left a while back to put a stop to these guys but they were never seen again. The invaders seem to be after colorful objects so the heroes removed all of them and now live in a very grim apocalyptic world. They’ve all adapted to these tough times except for Emmett. He still wants everyone to be happy but as a result his new house brings the invaders back. They break in and steal the 5 strongest heroes. Emmett must now man up and try to save them along with the help of the mysterious Rex. Can they do it?

Lets jump right into the human part of the movie. The big problem with throwing them into the mix is how it takes away from the actual movie. It worked a bit as a twist in the first movie, but this one should have just ignored the human aspect. Whenever the humans appear the film acknowledges this by showing us how everything happening in the fictional world is just pretend. Even the villain references this quite a lot about how their actions don’t matter since it’s all imagination. The heroes have the ability to slightly move but that’s about it. Also, the human scenes are pretty cringey. Maybe if the owners were adults it would help, but kids? Yeah, that’s not gonna work.

I think that if you’re gonna add human characters then you need to do it like in Toy Story. It works there because it’s acknowledges that the toys actually can move and think. They just pretend to be toys. In these films it’s basically stated that they actually are toys that only have small wills and can’t really do much of anything. It really takes you out of the zone whenever they show up.

If you ignore the humans then it’s still fun enough, but that’s hard to do. Rex makes for a pretty good character here. I dare say that he was probably the best character in the movie. He kept everyone on their toes and did a good job building his space ship and not being afraid of anything. He’s probably one of the only characters here who is actually prepared for an invasion. Even Batman wasn’t quite able to match this guy here. Batman gets his good share of scenes, but then towards the end there’s a bit of a marriage plot that doesn’t help his case. That whole plot….was not very good. I preferred the invasion dynamic. Of course the team-up is inevitable once you see the human plot, but it’s one that we really didn’t need.

Emmett is decent although I dare say he was better in the first film. Like all of the characters say here, the guy just hasn’t adjusted while everyone else has. While he is still a nice guy, those qualities that helped them in the first film are actually holding them back in this one. Every time there is a tense scene he quickly does something with comic relief to try and defuse the tension. It’s likely because he isn’t ready for this level of drama but after a point you want the heroes to put him on the bench so the real fighters can get in on the action.

Wyldstyle looks good as always though. When the first wave showed up she is one of the only ones who is able to put up a fight. She’s still got good fighting moves even if there are less opportunities to show them here. She’s definitely the best hero on the team. From the villains the best member was definitely Mayhem. She can also fight and definitely does a good job of infiltrating the hero base. If the villains had even one more fighter like her then the heroes would have definitely been doomed from the start.

As for the animation, it’s Lego style which still isn’t really my thing. That being said, I do feel like the animation here wasn’t quite as good as in the first film. This one feels more “normal” like any average TV special. The first one went all in with the action scenes and visuals. It could be in part due to the fact that there are less colorful backdrops here though or maybe that there’s less action and more comedy instead so the animators can’t show off. Regardless that part isn’t one of its strengths. The soundtrack is decent. We get a new rendition of Everything is Awesome although it’s not quite as good. I was surprised that the film didn’t opt to go for a whole new song instead but nothing wrong with throwing in a good remix.

One thing I’d like to have seen more here is the heroes manipulating the lego pieces to turn them into vehicles and weapons. That’s always been a pretty cool visual in the Lego films and the first one used it quite a bit. When you can turn anything into a weapon it really makes you a fighter to be feared. Emmett did try this near the beginning when he made a robot suit and while it wasn’t effective, I’d like to see him and the others do more of that. The final battle could have really been a battle of builders if the film had gone that route. It’s definitely the best way to handle the Lego visuals.

Overall, The Lego Movie 2 feels like one of those sequels that was slapped together for no real reason. It doesn’t really do anything original and instead just feels like a much weaker version of the first Lego movie. I think it should have had more screen time from Batman and I dare say that it should have had more fights with the invaders. There are some pretty neat themes here like time travel, but it’s not quite as big a factor as you would expect. I also liked the fake out for the film ending. It had been long enough where if you didn’t know your tropes you may have actually believed it for a second so that was cool, but does lead into the next part. The film’s pretty long and parts of it tend to drag on by the end. If you saw the first film then I suppose you should watch this one so you can say that you saw the full saga, but otherwise you should just stick to the first film. Still, it’s not as if it’s the weakest of the Lego films. There are still enough moments where you will have fun here. Hopefully we do get a proper end to the trilogy at some point though.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Lego Movie Review

The Lego Movie quickly became a hit with the fans and like Frozen, its main song, “Everything is awesome!” became a pretty big hit. I always thought that a movie with legos could be interesting, but there are also a lot of ways that the film could turn out wrong. It could be a little too kiddish and some of the plots could be a little cheesy. Luckily, the film manages to hit a lot of the right notes and I can see why it is enjoyed by so many people.

The film starts off with a guy by the name of Emmet. He’s a likable fellow and he has a book, which tells him exactly how to live his life and be successful at the same time. He follows it word for words and most of the town seems to already know how to behave without such an object. One day, Emmet comes across a lady by the name of Wyldstyle who tells him that he is the chosen one. Emmet is now the most interesting and coolest person of all time because he found the legendary object to save them all. The heroes have to unite with the last Master Builders to foil the plans of Lord Business before Taco Tuesday. Will the heroes be able to stop such a diabolical threat and is Emmet’s group up to this task? It’s time to find out!

One thing that really made the film fun was how it points out a lot of things that happen in society through parodies and hard truths. We get to see the TV show that is the instant must watch program like anything on CBS or NBC, which you have to like or else you’re not with the times. This comes in the form of “Where’s my Pants” which is about as interesting as some of the current mainstream shows. In that show, the same thing happens every episode and we can also see how many shows just use the same plots over and over again. It was pretty great to see this.

Another parody I liked was the parody of the long fall cliche. We get a lot of trippy colors and things that don’t make any sense whatsoever as Emmet is falling because that’s what typically happens in these types of scenes. Instead of playing it straight, they add live action pictures and random swirls as he’s falling and the film makes everything go into a lot of detail. Whenever you catch one of the images that is going at super speed, you’ll likely grin. They did a very good job on that part. We also can’t forget the whole “most interesting and coolest person of all” trope that the film smirks at since it’s all a part of the (real or fake?) prophecy. It’s true that in most shows and films, the main character suddenly becomes the best at just about everything for no real reason other than being the main lead. It was nice to see the film acknowledge this because the trope definitely relates to Emmet at times. He does things that no other Lego could.

The Lego Movie also had a much more action packed beginning than I had figured. We get a pretty great chase scene at night where Wyldstyle takes on the cops and Emmet tries to stay alive. It’s partially a parody of such intense fight scenes, but it also manages to be pretty epic. There is a lot of high speed hand to hand combat that happens and you can’t help but imagine how cool it would look if they weren’t made out of legos. Critical blows are landed and the setting highlights how much fun the fight is. This was actually my favorite scene in the film and I’d say that the film never really reached that level of epicness and excitement after that. It was just impossible to match such a big fight scene. Of course, the rest of the film made up for this with humor and other action scenes.

Emmet is the main character and he’s a pretty good one. I’ll admit that he was a little too flustered when he met Wyldstyle for the first time and he should never let his emotions get in the way of the mission, but I still liked him. He made all of the tough calls and I like how he was essentially a parody of the average citizen. He was technically around and he made sure to agree with all of the current trends, he never took the time to become his own man. It was a fun character arc and I won’t be forgetting him anytime soon. I’m not saying that he was an amazing protagonist, but he was someone that you could root for. (Even if the Double Couch idea was pretty sad)

Wyldstyle is the main heroine of the story and she plays the role of the hardcore fighter. She’s experienced and she seems to be the best Master Builder that the world has yet. She makes quick work out of the police force and she can essentially build anything. We get a big plot twist in the film when we find out that she’s with Batman. It’s one of those twists that was pretty unnecessary and I can’t say that it helped her character. Still, she was one of the better players in this big adventure and the heroes definitely would have been doomed without her.

Princess Unikitty is intense although I believe that the film should have just went all the way and used Pinkie Pie. Either way, Unikitty saw the best in humanity and she was always ready to lend a helping hand. I’m sure that everyone saw her “Rage Mode” coming since she kept hinting at it throughout the film. It’s good to see that Unikitty’s bite is as big as her bark. Her portrayal was basically as good as it gets and I shall never forget this fighter! Hopefully she is back for the sequel since she was one of the more interesting characters as well.

Lord Business is the big villain of the film and his goal is pretty admirable. He just wants everyone to follow the rules and to never come up with original ideas. I would sympathize with him more if he didn’t randomly go around destroying people and zapping them for ideas. His true form is pretty intense and his plan is well thought out. I dare say that he would have won if not for circumstances that were really beyond his control. He keeps up appearances as a nice guy on the outside, but he’s as evil as they come. One also has to wonder what he will do once his plan is complete as there will seriously be nothing left to do. He’ll be doomed to being eternally bored for the rest of his days. I have a feeling that he didn’t really think his plan through, but maybe there’s an insider angle that I’m not aware of. He does have some good qualities though and he realizes that a surround sound speaker system is crucial in order to be taken seriously.

Batman naturally gets a pretty big role. I didn’t care for the romance between him and Wyldstyle, but he was still a solid character aside from that. It’s good to hear him say “To the Batmobile” and he had some pretty solid lines. Telling the cast that it’s every man for himself was a pretty solid idea at the time and he definitely did a number on the Star Wars crew. He may have been outshined by Emmet in the end, but he was still a good addition to the cast. He’s one of the only characters who can get away with messing with the Bad Cop. This is like a preview of how he would be like in Lego Justice League as he will need to learn how to work with a team.

Superman doesn’t get a huge role, but his personality is mostly accurate considering that he is a parody of himself. He’s always open to suggestions and he’s a nice guy except for when he’s not nice. He doesn’t look very powerful and he’s basically outranked by most of the villains, but he does get a cool moment where he takes down a few ships. I’m just glad to have him in the film and he talks tough until the very end. He never surrenders without putting up a good fight first! (I’m surprised that the film didn’t try a Batman vs Superman scene, but I suppose that they’ll do that in the Lego Batman films)

Bad Cop is one of the best characters in the film. He also has his Good Cop mode, which is great for mostly different reasons. The Bad Cop makes sure to do what needs to be done and it was great to see him bring on the pressure. To parody the heroic choice, he makes the ultimate call to truly join the side of evil. Likewise, the Good Cop takes a stand for what’s right and he may have to pay the ultimate price. This character is very deep and his plot could have been an emotional adventure all on its own. You can’t help but root for the Bad Cop for most of the film and the Good Cop seems heroic enough that he could be turned to the good side. This is another character that should be back for the sequel, but it can be a little dicey thanks to the ending. The Bad Cop needs to keep at least some of his character for the next film or it won’t be the same.

Metal Beard is one of the characters that I didn’t like. It can be argued that I’m a little biased since I have a thing against pirates, but he just wasn’t that entertaining. We’ve seen his kind of character so many times at this point so he doesn’t bring anything new to the table. He may have had some plans back in the day, but none of them really worked so he’s not as big a guy as he thinks. I wouldn’t have minded if he was cut out, but we do need a good pirate once in a while so I appreciate the attempt. Maybe they’ll make him cooler in the sequel.

Vitruvius stands for the smart wizard character who is typically around in just about all of the big fictional movies involving legends. He’s a complete parody, but I never really cared for those old wizards so he wasn’t my favorite character. He was all right though and I’m glad that he kept on trolling the heroes by hinting that he will say something and then not saying it for another 30 minutes. He isn’t as strong willed as some of the others though so he quickly turns away from heroics when the need arises.

Most of the characters who got cameos were pretty cool as well. Michelangelo doesn’t really get any lines, but he is around. Green Lantern and Wonder Woman appear, but both of them are taken care of with ease. Shaquille O’Neal appears and his scene is pretty awesome as he tries one of his ultimate moves on the villain. The Star Wars cameo was also intense as Han Solo and Chewy looked pretty good. I can’t say that Lando was a good character, but when is he a likable person? His ultimate fate is pretty dire and I guess he didn’t see that one coming!

The Man Upstairs is a pretty great character at first. Unfortunately, his character arc is very rushed because he only gets around 10 minutes of screentime or less so his 180 personality change has to happen in that short time span. I would have preferred that he not actually appear and stayed conceptual, but I shall go into that more in a moment. I did like him a lot at first and by the end he’s only all right to maybe a little sub par. I just didn’t like the change and I actually felt bad for him. He basically lost to the moral of the film, which is good in itself, but it could have been handled better.

Finn is one of my least favorite characters in the film. I can’t sympathize with him at all since it is evident that he has enough objects of his own to entertain himself. Instead, he prefers to mess up the locations that took hours or days to set up and he’s not very apologetic about it. He doesn’t only try to wreck everything, but he also mocks the objects as he states that they are for kids. He’s in no position to take those shots since he is playing with them as well. That was definitely a not cool moment and I hope that Finn doesn’t return. He only appears for a few minutes, but they were pretty wince worthy.

Now, there was one big twist that I did not care for. Notice how I used the word twist. I would call this next part a big spoiler so I’d advise skipping this paragraph if you don’t want to know it. I’m adding in a lot of extra words to give you time to skip this paragraph without seeing the spoiler. I think that’s enough words so it’s time for the spoilers. The humans should not have appeared at the end. It was disruptive and just not necessary. I don’t want to find out that my Lego dreams were just dreams. I actually thought that the Bad Cop was intense and that the heroes knew how to build things. Instead, we find out that a kid and his dad have been controlling the entire world from the start. It means that all of their actions are completely pointless and nothing that they did mattered. They can’t actually think as the creators think for them. It would help if the humans were more likable or if they had less control over the Legos, but that is not the case. Now, Emmet did manage to move a little in the human world so you can argue that he still thinks, but it could just be the kid thinking for him. Hopefully, the human angle is just ignored in the sequel.

The soundtrack for the film is pretty great. The “Everything is awesome” song is pretty catchy and it’s easy to see why everyone loves singing it. It’s not personally my type of music, but it is a good song and I don’t mind listening to it. The action theme towards the beginning of the film was very serious and while it may have seemed like a parody since they’re legos…it was pretty great. It’s climatic and I wouldn’t mind seeing this tune in something like Godzilla II or Avengers IV. Those were the two main themes that I really enjoyed, but who can forget the Basketball theme cameo or Star War’s quick blast? This soundtrack is definitely top tier and other theater films could take a few cues from this one.

Overall, this was a pretty fun film. It’s a Lego film so it’s mostly a lot of comedy and in jokes, but they do manage to squeeze in some epic action scenes. A lot of the plot lines are actually very serious, but the comedy helps to disguise this fact. If one were to make a serious adaption of this plot, we would have a very gritty action movie with an incredible cast and many fights. The parents vs the glue scene was pretty emotional and we also get a brief flashback into one of the world’s greatest tragedies. Nontheless, the film managed to keep its humor light and the cast was enjoyable. I’m not sure how well a sequel would do since they may start to rehash old plots and cliches, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. I recommend checking out this film and you should definitely enjoy it or at least appreciate some of the thinly veiled social critiques.

Overall 7/10