A few years later, The Lego Batman Movie arrived, and once more I had my reservations only to be surprised by a very funny, entertaining film. The Lego Batman Movie did serve as a bad omen in-terms of the series’ box-office prospects, however. The Lego Movie made nearly half a billion at the box-office, whereas The Lego Batman Movie struggled to reach three-hundred million. Thankfully, Warner Bros. stayed conservative with the budget, which kept Lego Batman as financially successful, but they had to have second-thoughts about that Lego Ninjago film they greenlit. Admittedly, I haven’t seen The Lego Ninjago Movie, which makes sense, considering no one else has seen it either. The Lego Ninjago Movie made less than half of what The Lego Batman film did, failing to break-even, amounting to the first box-office misfire in the series. Through overexposure and the law of diminishing returns, it should come as no surprise the sequel to the film that start the series in the first place would be met with apathy and diluted anticipation. Having to fight tooth-and-nail to reach one-hundred million at the domestic box-office, a paltry total compared to its predecessors near three-hundred million (when adjusted for inflation), the series has been an underdog in mainstream animation from the start. But does the film dwindle the goodwill of its predecessor or depend to heavily on it, or was the film unfortunately overlooked? Here are my thoughts …
The film comprises itself with the familiar cast of characters, along with some new names to freshen things up, this includes a new director. Mike Mitchell helms this film, replacing Phil Lord and Mike Miller (who remain as writers), which is something that made me a little leery about this film heading in. Mike Millers’ previous directorial efforts include Trolls, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip Wrecked, Shrek Forever After, and Deuce Bigalow, none of which would receive a positive rating on Mishmashers if I took the time to review them. It’s fitting I went into The Lego Movie 2 with low-expectations because it furthers what I said about the series being an underdog that rises to the occasion – and, for what it’s worth, I think The Lego Movie 2 rises to the occasion.
The film administers its kinetic visual humor and charming energy, operating on all cylinders, bolstered by likable characters and an infectious script filled with earworm musical numbers and the same sentimental we received from the first film. As far as comparisons to the first film are concerned, two significant comparisons stand out as worth acknowledging to me. For starters, I don’t think The Lego Movie 2 is as funny as The Lego Movie. It certainly it’s a bland affair and feels more like the laws of diminishing returns having their say, with the greatest hits no longer drawing the same response. Perhaps that’s a misnomer on them, regardless, that isn’t to say the film is drab, it simply suggests that the novelty has waned on some level. The other thing I’d say is that, on certain levels, The Lego Movie 2 is superior in-terms of execution. Looking back at the first film after my initial review, I’ve noticed the live-action scenes were flimsier and more rough-around-the-edges than what I remembered. I feel as though The Lego Movie 2 offers a clearer trajectory and even if it suffers from familiarity, I feel the live-action and its relation to the animated scenes was done better and compliments the previous film the way a good sequel should.
Looking at this film on its own, it has sentiment and heart, and rampant, fast-paced animation, and propels itself with various interlocking story-lines – Emmett trying to “toughen up” and mature, the cracks in Lucy’s own persona starting to show through, the live-action characters struggling to co-exist with one another, and, of course, what this all comes together to create. It’s a layered story-line, pieces working together cohesively like any film about Legos should. It is entertaining, it’s unique, and it has personality to spare, and what more could you want from such an animation? And, if you look at it as a sequel, The Lego Movie 2 perfectly expands on the first film’s concept, breaking down its walls and, although it still has the building blocks that make the last one special, it amounts to its own unique creation. I’d definitely recommend it.