Direct continuation of the first part, The Great Lego Adventure 2 takes us to find Emmet, Lucy, Batman and the others in a joyful ultra-colorful mess that can hurt our head. Between omnipresent references and too light intrigue, the new Lego film does not have the intelligence of the first opus. Entertaining, but without breaking bricks.
Five years ago, Phil Lord and Chris Miller amazed their world by signing The Lego Great Adventure. The film, which seemed to be destined to be just a huge product placement, was in fact extremely inventive and entertaining, for young and old alike.
In 2019, its sequel, The Great Lego Adventure 2, arrives. The film takes us right where the first part ended, when our little Lego band came face to face with the Duplos, the toys of the little sister, who have every intention of destroying their world. In just a few seconds, Lego 2 plunges us into an apocalyptic world, five years after the events of the first installment. The toys tried to survive repeated attacks by Sis’ Glitter Army, hiding in a universe that had become a ruined wasteland, Mad Max version. The characters have hardened at the same time, in a world that has become hostile. All ? Not really, because Emmet continues to dream of better days and always shows an unfailing optimism. It is precisely in this optimism of the main character that one of the main themes of the film, namely maturity, is portrayed. Indeed, Emmet must quickly harden himself, and by extension the boy who controls him, Finn, must mature.
The foundations of the Great Lego Adventure 2 are laid when the sister’s toys burst in for the umpteenth time and kidnap the clique from the first episode, including Lucy. Furious, Emmet will then try by all means to save his companions, by going alone to face the world above and free his friends and his sweetheart.
A double reading lost in a huge neon mess
This is usually one of the most crucial points that make a good animated film: double reading. The first part had brilliantly seized on this principle by delighting the little ones, with its simple plot, its design and its frantic pace, as much as the adults, by adding references to all things pop culture. In short, it allows the whole family to marvel in dark rooms. The Lego Great Adventure 2 still features this double reading, but some traits are so forced that they make the movie complicated to follow. The scenario is wobbly, and the pace, always so frantic, ends up dispersing us.
For children, the story quickly becomes complicated to follow, and the many musical scenes do not turn out to be as memorable as the “Everything is Awesome” of the first part. A song soberly titled “The Song That Will Get Stuck Inside Your Head” does not hold back that much, as I left the cinema with the cult song from the first part in mind. Some songs have so many references that children may not necessarily understand.
By trying to reproduce identically the mayonnaise of the first part, this sequel very often falls flat. Too many references, sometimes repeated over and over again (Batman), end up taking us away from the main story. This is precisely where Lego 2 sins, since its history is ultimately quite hollow. It seems that the references are there to forget this void, but there are too many of them. If some hit the mark, like the brief (but intense) appearance of Bruce Willis, others end up boring through repetition.
For an hour and forty-eight minutes, The Great Lego Adventure 2 propels us into a veritable deluge of light, glitter and songs so as to never lose the viewer’s attention. We are not bored, that’s for sure, but nevertheless, the frantic succession of often very heavy sequences ends up boring. The general impression is that of a rather messy film overall, which struggles to advance a very (too?) Light plot.
The film of maturity?
With a very simplistic scenario, the first part had managed to reconcile many themes by establishing a sharp criticism of capitalism (represented by the character of President Business) against a background of propaganda, all this to serve us as an ode to construction and to limitless imagination, adage of the toy brand. The references, expertly distilled here and there, made us fully take part in the adventure, which had everything of a brilliantly executed mix between a Toy Story on amphetamines coupled with the corrosive humor of South Park.
Unfortunately, in this second opus, we do not find this intelligence. Like Toy Story 3, The Lego Great Adventure 2 wants to take us on the paths of the maturity of Finn, the young boy who owns the toys. Unlike Toy Story where toys have their own will, Legos only live through the story told by the child, which allows in particular to translate the thoughts of the young boy into the actions of the toys. Finn’s desire for maturity is thus portrayed in Emmet’s desire to harden himself at all costs, especially when he meets Rex, a sort of Han Solo raptor trainer version and voiced by Chris Pratt. It is also from this character that the twist of The Great Lego 2 Adventure comes, but it is so confused that the effect of surprise lacks flavor.
Alas, the theme of maturity, so brilliantly executed in Toy Story 3, rings hollow here, as the speech and emotion that goes with it ends up drowning in a happy mess that ends in a cutesy final on the relationship between the boy and his sister. If The Great Lego Adventure 2 is not inherently bad, it is far from holding the comparison with its predecessor. The fault may be with its director, Mike Michell, who failed to infuse the magic of the first. After signing Shrek 4 or Alvin and the Chipmunks 3, the filmmaker was not able to show himself as talented as Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the explosive duo who had made the first part much more than a simple product placement. .