It lacks the surprise factor of the first film – the novelty, the striking glitziness of the CGI lego, the run-on laughs on how the whole concept operated – and doesn’t handle its story and themes with as deft a hand, but the ultimate statement of the film is more nuanced and interesting than the first’s, and the whole affair feels more resonant for that. The thorniness of sibling relationships, gender division, antisocial consumerism, self-destructive pursuits and being the “bad guy” of one’s own story, everything folds together nicely here.
The meta gags are pleasant, particularly an extended riff on both “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Blade Runner 2049”, and the way the film plays with star Chris Pratt’s own celebrity works very well. The more musical focus also works great, although I wish the film had leaned into it more, as it was a neat way of distinguishing itself from the first film.
The unreliable narrator perspective of the film and how that plays into the gender of the implicit dual narrators is fascinating; I almost wish the film had stressed that more, as it’s a graceful touch when noticed. Though on the other hand, it’s nice to see a children’s film that doesn’t hold the audience’s hand quite so tightly. In true Lord and Miller style the film transcends its cash-in nature to be smarter, funnier, and have more to say beyond “buy these toys”. Three raptors and half of everything.