The Lego Movie 2 is not as awesome as its predecessor, but is still relentlessly catchy. It seems Lord and Miller can do no wrong, even when they are not directing. This sequel to the surprisingly fresh original is a non-stop barrage of colours, pop culture references and enough musical numbers to drive even the most sane individual to insanity. It. Is. Relentless. And do you know what? It's all the better for it! 'The Second Part' is like watching a child consume a tonne of sugar and then unleash the noisiest outburst through hyperactivity. My eyes were bleeding rainbow dust, it was that intense. Set five years after the events from the first film, a race of alien bricks from the "systar" system destroy the world that Emmet and Lucy reside in. With Style and the other master builders kidnapped, Emmet must pluck up the courage to travel through space in order to save them and prevent "our-mom-ageddon".
A story about growing up (and then not growing up), courage, reverse psychology on Batman to make him fall in love with a Lego blob and raptors that adore tennis. Yes, the human elements to the film are predictably spoon-fed during the final act, but it's the journey in getting there that makes this adventure worth watching. The returning characters, ranging from sweet innocent Emmet to the easily enraged princess Unikitty, are still as memorable as ever. A partial problem with this is that they still re-use the same jokes from the original, but with minimal effect. Benny shouting "spaceship" for the hundredth time is not nearly as funny when shouting it for the tenth time. Fortunately the new characters, including the shape-shifting Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi and the testosterone fuelled Rex, bring forth some new visual delights that differentiate this sequel from the original. The imaginative story (packed with surprising twists) is split between two perspectives, the kidnapped master builders who must be prepared for a marriage ceremony, and Emmet who encounters Rex and learns to become a tough "master breaker". The constant shifting does break the pacing, with the second act being stationary at various points, but does allow adequate screen time for all characters.
Lord and Miller's screenplay was the reigning champion, with so many random jokes that simply made me laugh out loud. A Lego version of Bruce Willis crawling through an air duct? Yeah, I cracked up big time. The balance between child-friendly visual humour and adult pop culture references makes this animation accessible to everyone. The animation, much like with the other Lego films, remains creative and beautiful to admire. The live-action aspects interject the imaginary world frequently, it's an overused technique that doesn't always work. It is used to provide the moral of the story, that everyone can happily play/work together, but does so in a heavy handed way. Far too cheesy, although Rudolph was a welcomed addition and seemed to love stepping on Lego bricks.
However, the biggest criticism I can give is the excessive use of musical numbers. So, "Everything is Awesome" was nominated for several awards. It was an annoying song that worked as a mimicry of disposable pop records. Catchy and clever. This sequel includes various songs where characters will burst into original songs in an attempt to annoy you, and yes they did irritate me for all the wrong reasons. Lyrically impressive, but wholly unnecessary. It just doesn't fit well with the rest of the film, as if they couldn't think of a better method to explain character motives. Still, "Everything is Awesome" reigns supreme. As a sequel, it doesn't do anything new to make this feel fresh. However, it snaps into place with its vivid colours, punchy lines and visual comedy that is pure joy for everyone.