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When such an enjoyable, original hit movie like The LEGO Movie comes along, the inevitable sequel always comes with some worry and skepticism. Thankfully, the marketing for the animated follow-up promised a movie in the same vein as the original with some fun new tangents. But how does The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part really measure up to the first adventure with master builders Emmet (Chris Pratt) and Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and the rest of their building block companions?

Our old pal Germain Lussier at io9 seems to be the most pleased with The LEGO Movie 2:

The Lego Movie 2 is a hilarious, clever, emotional sequel—though it takes a little bit to get there.

That The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is even close to as good as the original film is kind of a miracle. But that’s what writers Phil Lord and Chris Miller do. They take impossible situations (like making movies about 21 Jump Street or Lego bricks, and then make sequels to those movies) and make them not just possible, but maybe even a bit profound. They and their team have done it again with The Lego Movie 2, a film that is almost on par with the brilliant original, which is a very worthy achievement indeed.”

Yolanda Machado at The Wrap also came away mostly satisfied with the movie:

“Much like the toys on which the films are based, these are stories about connecting, not just with our loved ones but with ourselves as well. “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” is a delightful all-ages adventure with the potential to reach even the most cynical and weary of us. And if you’re toe-tapping your way out thanks to the catchy tunes and vivid imagery, then maybe, just maybe, everything else can be awesome too.”

William Bibbiani at IGN thinks The LEGO Movie set the bar too high and the sequel couldn’t measure up:

“The LEGO Movie 2 isn’t quite as funny or as brilliantly executed as the original, but it’s an ambitious, likable sequel. Kids will enjoy it and adults will appreciate that the filmmakers took it seriously, and tried to say something meaningful. Just don’t think about it too much, because the LEGO universe is often weird and confusing.”

Chris Nashawaty at Entertainment Weekly echoes the sentiments of the sequel not being quite as good as the original:

“The good news is that the eagerly awaited follow-up, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, is still leagues better than most of the blandly diverting animated fodder that Hollywood serves up to young viewers (and their clock-watching chaperones) every few weeks. Still, and this was kind of inevitable, as hilarious and caffeinated and packed with rat-a-tat throwaway Airplane!-style one-liners as it is, it doesn’t match the novelty and sugar-rush heights of the first Lego Movie. Maybe it couldn’t.”

Matt Singer at ScreenCrush seems less sweet on the movie, but still enjoyed it:

“Throughout, The LEGO Movie 2 is very cute and very sweet. There was that part of me, though, that kept thinking about the first LEGO Movie, and how much of a genuine Hollywood aberration it seemed — if not a flat-out miracle. The Second Part is fine, but even its title suggests it’s more cog in the machine than disrupter. The scene I keep coming back to is the one where Emmet tries to remind the residents of Bricksburg that, in the wake of the first movie, everyone is special now. Nobody’s buying it, and to be perfectly honest, after The Second Part I’m not sure I am either.”

Jesse Hassenger at The AV Club compares The LEGO Movie 2 to Incredibles 2:

“Like Brad Bird’s recent Incredibles 2, it follows up a dazzling animated original (all the more dazzling for earning that designation despite being based on a toy line) with some big ideas that don’t cohere with the same streamlined magic as its predecessor.”

Todd VanDerWerff at Vox is less impressed:

“Unfortunately, “pointless, despite some solid moments” describes too much of The Lego Movie 2, a film with its heart in the right place, some great gags in its head, and an inability to make anything connect beyond individual jokes or plot points. I had a good time watching it, but I could always see the filmmakers just offscreen, holding up the big table the Legos were scattered across, sweating and straining to keep the whole thing from toppling over.”

Jude Dry at IndieWire found the movie to be disappointing:

“In its effort to deliver moral lessons — about growing up, feeding your imagination, resolving differences, and dealing with things not being awesome all the time — “The LEGO Movie 2” falls flat. The genius of the first movie was its ability to disguise a searing critique of capitalism inside a hilarious package, an idea that is genuinely funny itself. The sequel, with its recycled jokes and re-mixed songs, is merely a reminder of how original the original actually was.”

Michael Rechtshaffen at The Hollywood Reporter didn’t enjoy the movie much:

“Even if you were to factor in the uphill challenge of replicating that giddy blast of inventiveness that was the 2014 original — and, to a somewhat diminished extent, the 2017 Lego Batman spinoff — The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part can’t help but feel like a flimsy, unlicensed knockoff.

Replaying many of the visual gags that worked so amusingly before, the latest edition proves every bit as repetitive and uninspired as its glib title, bringing little that’s fresh or funny to the interlocking brick table despite boasting a script penned by originators Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.”

***

For anyone who loved The LEGO Movie, it sounds like there’s plenty to enjoy in the sequel, even if it’s not as satisfying as the first time around. At the very least, it’s an animated offering better than most of the cartoon fare offered to kids and their families these days. It’s the kind of sequel parents won’t mind taking their kids too nearly as much as something like The Boss Baby 2 or another Despicable Me movie. And that sounds pretty good to me.

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part arrives in theaters on February 8, 2019.

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