The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is a satisfying if safe sequel to the smash animated hit…
But should you take your kids to see it?
As parents and film fans, we want to share the best of the cinematic world with our kids. But when you haven’t seen a new movie yet, how do you know if you should take your kids? Obviously every kid is different, and they change with age; the same child who had to be escorted, weeping, out of Guardians of the Galaxy might completely fall in love with Deadpool two years later (true story). But it’s also true that movie marketing can be misleading – no-one wants to be that mom who had to leave Pan’s Labyrinth with an emotionally-scarred 10-year-old. With this ongoing feature, we’ll aim to offer some loose, spoiler-free, age-by-age guidelines as to what parents might expect from new features marketed to families, so you can make the best judgment call for your youngsters.
No-one expected a movie based on plastic building bricks to be a box-office smash hit, let alone to be a surprisingly charming and genuinely funny film; but The LEGO Movie hit all those marks, and even spawned two more films in a growing franchise – The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie – and now, a sequel. Happily, original writers and directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are back at the helm after earning only producer credits on the Batman and Ninjago entries, and it shows. Where the middle two movies are merely mildly entertaining, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part retains all the joyful goofiness of the first movie, plus plenty of heart.
The entire gang is back: cheerful Emmett (Chris Pratt), his “special best friend” WyldStyle/Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), broody Batman (Will Arnett), rage-filled Unikitty (Alison Brie), and the rest. The sequel picks up right where the original left off, with a helpful recap of the ending: now that “the man upstairs” has let his son play with his beloved collection of LEGO, his sister gets to take part too. Fast forward a few years and the Duplo invasion has decimated Bricksburg, leaving its denizens in an apocalyptic “heckscape” that frankly is perfectly suited to WyldStyle’s dark and brooding personality. Only Emmett is still as perky and sunny as ever.
When a new threat emerges and takes WyldStyle and his friends away, Emmett has to toughen up to rescue the,. He’s assisted by a new friend and mentor: Rex Dangervest, a “galaxy-defending archeologist, cowboy, and raptor trainer with chiseled features previously hidden under baby fat.” Sound familiar? The movie is filled with clever references like this, and chock-full of smart visual gags as well, like the fact that Rex’s spaceship is in the shape of a giant bro-type fist coming in for a bump.
So, should you take your kids to see it?
Small ones most likely won’t get the references and in-jokes, but it doesn’t really matter. The movie is bright, shiny fun, and while they may not be able to follow all the threads of the plot, they’ll get the gist. The action keeps moving at a brisk pace and there’s plenty to look at on screen. Even the toddlers in the screening I attended were rapt. Just be prepared to shell out for a Rex Dangervest ship LEGO kit next Christmas.
Tweens and Teens
Stream the first movie at home before you go if you want to make sure your older kids will be refreshed enough to catch all the callbacks. There’s plenty here for teens; along with pop-culture references, the plot hinges on a heartfelt message that growing up doesn’t have to mean toughening up or losing your ability to have fun, a good reminder for those on the brink of adulthood.
I defy you to not enjoy this movie. It’s good family viewing for all ages and there are tons of pop-culture references and movie callbacks that only adults (or teenage film buffs) will appreciate. The plot has a cool twist that you have to pay close attention to unravel and you might have to explain to your smaller kids, but it’s mostly just… fun. I even laughed out loud a few times, and I’m cold and dead inside!
Wee time: Honestly, it’s going to be tough for you to leave your seat in this one. It’s a tight run time of 1:45 and the action and jokes just don’t let up! Even the end credits are cute and clever and watchable! But, if bladders need emptying, you can run out at the 1:00 and 1:30 marks: there’s a fun song routine at the first hour that is eminently watchable, but isn’t terribly critical to the plot; and a longer IRL sequence at the hour-and-a-half that’s cute, but could be missed. But hurry back!
Bottom line: This movie is joyfully fun and I cannot wait to stream it at home and laugh all over again at the jokes that I missed on first viewing! Don’t miss it.
Jenny Bullough is a movie fan and mom based in Toronto. She has missed the middle 5 minutes of every kids’ movie because of her kid’s small bladder, and she let her kids watch Deadpool at an inappropriately young age and stands by her choices.
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