Growing Up Isn’t Always Awesome

There was an old jingle at an old store: “I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys r Us kid.” And you know what you could buy at Toys r Us? Legos!

But while the store offered a chance to stay a kid forever, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part confronts us with the reality that we all have to grow up. And it does it in a way that will entertain kids as well as the adults that are forced to buy a ticket and accompany the little monsters children.

Kids will get a visual feast filled with colorful gags and irreverent dialogue. Adults will get sharp-witted dialogue and a heavy dose of nostalgia. Everyone gets relatable characters.

Everything’s Not Awesome

Since the last movie, times have changed. A little sister is trying to wedge her way into her older brother’s lego life. And Emmet, Lucy, Batman, et al are collateral damage. He builds something, she comes in and wrecks it, and the legoland becomes Apocalypseburg.

The movie is essentially a sibling rivalry acted out through legos.

Lucy, voiced by the effervescent Elizabeth Banks, is fighting for the survival of life as she knows it. Emmet, voiced by the ever optimistic Chris Pratt, remains the ever optimistic builder. Together they represent both halves of the young adolescent mind. One senses big changes happening but doesn’t understand them, while the other clings to the comfortable childhood trappings.

Spoiler Alert: Adolescence Isn’t Awesome!

Sister Act

Meanwhile, a younger sister is in the playroom, and bringing her own imagination to new characters, including Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi. The goal is to bring unity to legoland through a wedding of the Queen to an emotionally inaccessible Batman. This leads to some of the funniest moments of the movie.

And giving a strong second female lead dedicated to the idea, literally, that baby sisters can be whatever they wannabe, is the best overarching theme from any of the Lego franchise movies.

Tiffany Haddish voices the Queen, and there is never any doubt that she is in charge. She brings a PG version of her sass to a new audience, and told The Cocktail taking this role was a no brainer. “They called and I was like, well, sure, I can be whatever I wanna be? I wanna do it.” There is some singing involved in the role, so she took some vocal classes she found on Groupon. Turns out any skill we need is just an internet discount away!

Split Decision

Anyone who’s gone through (or is going through) adolescence will relate to Emmet. In this film, his personality is split into the kid he is (Emmet) and the person he’s becoming. That takes the form of Rex Dangervest, essentially Emmet in a different outfit and stubble drawn on (a very teen guy thing to do).

This is dichotomy that the whole movie hinges on. Not the conflict of the brother sister, Queen and Batman, or Lucy and General Mayhem. It is the inner conflict of the boy with himself, childlike Emmet and the ‘adult’ Rex. We laugh at some of Emmet and Rex’s moments, but those laughs mask our own uncomfortable/traumatic/embarrassing memories of growing up.

This film is fulfilling and hits the mark on almost every level. Character development, visuals, dialogue and story, music, and message. We aren’t left wanting for anything, including a third in the series. Seriously, quit while you’re ahead.

The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation

Irish Coffee. Early in the movie, Emmet brings a brooding Lucy coffee. I suspect Rex would have slipped a little Bailey’s in it. Growing up isn’t easy, but whether you’re 14 or 84, the booze helps!

Cheers!

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