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As the earworm from the first LEGO Movie finally leaves the ears of beleaguered parents and die hard animation fans alike, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part has burst onto the scene with a new song and excellent reviews — both factors that portend plenty of humming along in the near future.
With an all-star cameo cast reprising roles and founding new ones, director Mike Mitchell’s entry into the franchise is sitting at 92 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes which is only a small amount under its predecessor’s 95 percent. Albeit that the first movie has weathered many, many more reviews, but this is a good sign to say the least.
Here’s what the critics are saying:
Variety’s Peter Debruge was a big fan of the original, which left him pleased by the sequel’s “irreverent mile-a-minute sensibility — even if the novelty has dissipated now that the franchise’s once-radical aesthetic has settled into being a kind of official look for Lego movies.” That the sequel has lost a bit of the original’s uniqueness, its come-out-of-nowhereness, weighed on Debruge, who said that even though The Second Part is “faster, denser, and jam-packed with all sorts of catchy new songs,” its core isn’t quite as solid as the first film. Still good, though.
Yolanda Machado over at TheWrap had fewer qualms, praising writer/producer team Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s efforts on the film. Calling the film “a delightful all-ages adventure with the potential to reach even the most cynical and weary of us,” Machado also warned that fans may find themselves “toe-tapping your way out thanks to the catchy tunes and vivid imagery.”
Angie Han at Mashable agreed more with Debregue’s sentiments, but still ultimately came down on the side of the film being only “slightly less awesome.” Since the bar was raised so high, the sequel can’t help but have its “premise [feel] a little less fresh, the jokes a little more familiar.” That said, “it's a solid sequel — sweet and funny, with lots of crowdpleasing moments featuring your favorite characters, and another heartwarming real-world message to boot.” But just don’t go in expecting the same socks-blown-off magic of the original. Han, along with Machado, also praises new addition Tiffany Haddish, whose Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi has the best lines and songs.
Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff called The Second Part “thematically audacious, frequently hilarious, incredibly inventive return” to the Lego universe. But he was also troubled by how much more he wanted it to be like the first film. It’s the “classic sequel problem,” as he writes. But, by doing better by its female characters and still embracing that jokey weirdness that made the original a surprise hit, the second film is still very much worth watching — especially for fans of the original.
However, some were less wooed by The Second Part’s charms. The Hollywood Reporter’s Michael Rechtshaffen called the film a “flimsy, unlicensed knockoff,” which he attributes to “repetitive and uninspired” writing that mimics many of the jokes and visual stylings of the first movie. Though Rechtshaffen contends that the cast is excellent and up for the task, everything was a bit too samey for him.
Either way you shake it, it sounds like The Second Part remained utterly faithful to the original, which should please some fans more than others, but at least not offer too many surprises.
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part finishes its build and hits theaters on Feb. 8.