The LEGO Movie 2: Its box office performance and what we thought of it [Feature]

It’s been a number weeks now since The Lego Movie 2 hit the big screens, and while we’ve already published our review, we also wanted to share our final thoughts on the movie. We all know the opening weekend didn’t perform as well as compared to the first movie, so with that in mind we wanted to take a longer-term view. Now that it’s in its 7th week of screening, the good news for LEGO and Warner Bros. is that it has now crossed the 100M (USD) mark for the domestic market alone, and is doing much better than The LEGO Ninjago Movie did in 2017.

While there have been few explicitly negative reviews out there, most of the feedback we’ve seen online seems to indicate that audiences felt while it entertained and surprised, the ‘freshness’ of seeing a new LEGO Movie has somewhat diminished. We asked a few of our own writers to compile their views on The Lego Movie 2. And if it isn’t obvious enough, yes, spoilers ahead.

TLM vs TLM2 – what did you think?

David Alexander Smith
It was a great movie, which in terms of humour, cameos and great LEGO builds matched the first outing. For me though, the central plot, and real world reveal was less successful. The first movie spoke about the need to remain free, creative and open to ideas, in a world that demands blind faith in shared rules and instructions. It did so extremely well through both Emmet’s self-awakening and the father/Lord Business’s reawakening. It was a moral tale for our times that both parents and children could relate to. The children squabbling over who got to play with which minifigures seemed less convincing, and certainly didn’t provide the kind of analogy the first movie did for our real-world struggles and conflicts. The use of the mother as a god-figure who can bring about the end of the world felt clumsy and ill thought out. I’m a parent, and it was obvious that LEGO wasn’t the problem here, it was the kids’ behaviour, and putting the bricks in storage would just set up a new contested territory. The struggle between ideologies and the generations that gave the first movie its heart was missing, and its replacement with a petty feud between spoilt kids (how much LEGO did they have) – I’m an AFOL and I was slightly jealous – just didn’t move me in the same way.

I don’t know if it was better or not. I see it as an entirely different adventure so it’s hard to compare. I have to say that there are many points where I disagree with David’s assessment. In my opinion, there were a ton of clever aspects to how they developed this story. The incorporation of Duplo and Friends gave a broader picture of the LEGO universe, and the way that it was all put together showed that even if we have different ways of playing, we can still have fun together. I disagree that these kids are simply spoiled. It is very common for siblings separated by a few years to quarrel in this way. It’s less about fighting over who gets to play with what than it is about the younger sibling trying to participate when they’re shut out. The true main character has always been Emmet, who is an extension of the boy. He teaches his father to share, but he himself needs to learn to share and be an example too. As the boy loses Emmet and becomes Rex, he loses sight of that. It’s all about broadening our horizons, opening our minds and hearts, and including each other. It sounds like feel-good bleh, but it’s a valuable lesson for all to learn. There’s more I could say, but that’s enough for now.

Having seen it twice already, I don’t think TLM2 is better than its predecessor but is still very good. I found myself laughing just as much on the second showing as I did on the first. One of the key differences from the first movie is that I knew what I was getting into with TLM2. When the first film came out in 2014, I had no idea what to expect, so my expectations were, honestly, quite low. That movie wildly exceeded my expectations. This time around, going into the film I understood the universe and how the toys interact with the real world, even if I didn’t know the specifics of the adventure, and the movie needed to work harder meet or exceed the expectations set by the first. TLM2 an admirable job, even though it didn’t blow me away. It still featured a few plot twists that were enjoyable (even if a little more predictable), and there are enough clever gags and references to satisfy.

I do think it may be a better film than the first one. I do love how the first one plays out like a story a kid would make, but at a grand scale. But the storyline of the first one was very straightforward and linear with a clearly defined good versus evil struggle. The second part took a few risks here and I think it paid off well. The visuals were amazing, especially in the epic musical scenes. The characters were much more developed, possibly because the story focused on fewer of them. There was less of the questionable interactions between real and LEGO world.

What stood out and surprised you?

David Alexander Smith
How good the music was. Gotham Guys is a brilliant number. The inverted Everything is Not Awesome song was fantastic too, mirroring Queen Watevra-Wa’Nabi’s ability to reverse every negative sentiment in her own song. Lucy working it out and using the technique she’d previously been so skeptical of to motivate her friends had me internally cheering. However, have to say, I still don’t get Radiohead.

As a whole, it surprised me because I was thinking that it was going to be another one of those sequels that absolutely don’t live up to their predecessor. I actually thought it was fairly good with fresh content. Loved the music! Pulling off something better than Everything is Awesome was a tall order. I’m not sure if Stuck Inside Your Head was truly better than that song, but every time I hear it I like it more, and it most definitely gets stuck inside my head.

The musical numbers. I wasn’t really expecting any music beyond some more of Everything is Awesome, but I definitely wasn’t expecting full-blown song-and-dance musicals. The film’s musical numbers were absolutely inspired–particular Queen Watevra-Wa’Nabi’s introduction, which was among the best parts of the film. It reminded me of a Disney movie, which is high praise.

The most surprising thing was how much grander the second part was. I did not really have any expectations for the movie, to be honest. I was prepared for it to continue the downward trend of production value but was still open to the possibility of the same level of detail as the first film. Also the end credits. If they were a person, I would marry the credits! I am not into pop music, and yet I ended up listening to some of the songs after coming home from the cinema.

Favourite part of the movie

David Alexander Smith
Benny’s spaceship jokes – but then again I’m a diehard Classic Space guy. Speaking more generally the humour was fantastic. Best joke then, probably Bruce Willis in the air duct.

Oi, I always hate this question. Honestly don’t know. That’s why I want to watch it again. I do like the Fabuland characters and other little quips more for adults than kids.

I think I could watch a whole movie set in Apocalypseburg, because I love the tonal clash of LEGO toys in a gritty, dystopian world that’s more than a little inspired by Mad Max.

The visuals. All the world designs, Apocalypseburg in particular.

Will you watch it again?

David Alexander Smith
I will but not for a while, probably when it is available to watch at home later in the year. However, I have downloaded the soundtrack, and am listening to that right now!

Yes, it is definitely a movie that I want to come back to and will likely purchase.

Twice is enough for nearly any movie in a theater, but by the time it makes it to streaming, I’ll be game for watching it a third (or more) time.

I have just watched it twice in less than a week. Will see it again once it is available in other media.

Anything else!?

David Alexander Smith
You have to marvel at just how many amazing LEGO builds make up this movie. You could pause the film at almost any point and find inspiration for a host of MOCs. I’m hoping here at TBB we get a chance to feature some fan recreations of the choicest models

I’ll probably think of more at some point. I just like how the LEGO movies are more accessible to everyone than most other “kid’s” movies. There are loads of things that kids could laugh at but are really in there for the grown-ups. The same is true in the opposite direction. And I think it’s a movie that has the potential to be timeless. As kids get older, they may find they appreciate the movie even more.

Fabuland Oompa Loompas. It’s a throwaway gag meant for fans like me, and I’m not ashamed to admit I loved it.

I want a third part from an adult LEGO builder’s perspective (we have seen a kid’s story, a teenager’s…). Why does it even need to be a comedy? Why not a serious drama?

There you have it folks! As fans of LEGO, most of us enjoyed the movie, and do hope there’s more to come even though this wasn’t a big success as the first move. If you’ve just caught the movie and still have a thing or two to share, do drop us a comment or two below!

8 comments on “The LEGO Movie 2: Its box office performance and what we thought of it [Feature]

  1. Ricecandy

    I enjoyed the movie, but honestly the trailers gave away too much of the first half of the movie and ruined the first half of the movie. Nothing really surprised me until the back half of the movie with the time travel and brother and sister conflict which I really enjoyed how ingenious that all was. I really enjoy the soundtrack, especially the Catchy Song as it amazingly does what Everything is Awesome achieved in the first movie. While I thought the Gotham song in the movie was painful and bad, upon listening to it at home I realized how funny and smart the lyrics are pertaining to the Batman mythos. Yes, I totally agree it didn’t have the wow factor of the first movie, but the plot was a great follow up to that movies story. The sets for the Lego movie 2 are not great, other than the Apocalypseburg set which is amazing looking, the rest of the sets while interesting in the movie are really garbage builds with lots of useless pieces. Take Emmet’s triwheel bike as the worst of all the sets as an example. Granted someone more talented than I could probably do some amazing Mecha with queen watervra’s Castle set, but to me, it just seems like a really useless product to make. I see so many of these sets warming the shelves at my local LEGO store and think this spells bad times for the LEGO Group. The 2019 sets so far especially the Star Wars sets seem like pricey sets that are made for kids of course, but are lousy stand ins for better sets that preceded them. The exception being the Ford Mustang, that is a really amazing release and quality build. Back to Apocalypseburg though, in comparison to the main Ninjago city set, it doesn’t compare to its ability to mesh with the creator building sets, but still is an amazing build. I think LEGO would do well to make a Classic Space build your own spaceship set like they did with the last LEGO Movie and Benny’s Spaceship but with multiple build instructions. I for one would like to see a Benny versus Blacktron movie.

  2. Greg Dlx

    I agree that the movie was quite good and very enjoyable.

    However, the problem has clearly been timing. The lapse between TLM1 and TLM2 was too long. I also think that the Lego Ninjago dilluted the brand of the movie and should have a been a direct to TV movie.

  3. Michael Wolf

    I tend to agree with the sentiment that it didn’t hit the mark of the first film but was still a very good movie for adults and kids. It had the quality of humor and impressive builds that I have come to expect from these movies. It did have a lot of callbacks from the first movie that didn’t connect. Overall the plot was hard to invest in with the strange Rex time loop and the metaphoric wedding. I loved the end credits enough that I reminded them and watched them again.

  4. Jai

    Strongly agree with Bre.

    Although the only person I ever played LEGO with while growing up was my sister, and we never had inclusion problems with each other, we both were very strongly excluded from our older sisters’ (Yes, I have four) activities (Which were not LEGO, but that’s really not the point), and I honestly still feel raw about it decades later (‘Cos… not much about the dynamic has changed!). There’s a big bank of emotion that a story like this taps into, and it’s Toy Story-quality stuff (Or perhaps I should just say it’s the same caliber of material as the first LEGO Movie).

  5. Acidum

    This was also an excellent movie about anger, rage, ego, and management of aforementioned.
    I especially like inclusion of female fans of LEGO!

  6. Purple Dave

    Remember how Wyldstyle thought Rex was what she wanted Emmet to be, only to find out that he’s an all flash, no substance, empty upgrade instead? Yeah, that’s this film. It’s The LEGO Movie Redux, but with Finn cast in the role of his father, his sister cast in the role of himself, the hero of the first film recast as the villain of the second film, and a dose of woke-sploitation cinema on the side. It didn’t really bring anything new to the table, but just regurgitated what we’d already seen, framed from the opposite perspective.

    I only laughed once during the entire movie the first time I saw it (Unikitty’s wake-up call), any music I didn’t hate I also didn’t notice (no way I’m buying this soundtrack), and I was nodding off the second time I watched it. I’ve got a voucher for two free tickets, and I honestly don’t know if I feel like cashing them in.

    Benny and Batman were the two best parts of TLM, but I didn’t care for Batman’s story in this movie at all, and I must have sneezed and missed Benny’s story.

    When I saw the first movie, one of the first thoughts I had was that it said uncomfortable things about the AFOL community, as we are in effect represented by the father, and the whole “not for kids to play with” thing is one of the five most common things out of our mouths at public displays. But the first movie had heart, and it was written by people who had an inside perspective on the hobby. The second movie, not so much.

    And Rex? Turns out he’s the hero of the film after all. He sacrificed his entire existence so people who didn’t even know him could have their way.

  7. aanchir

    @Purple Dave: To be honest, you’re the second person I’ve seen make the baffling claim that Rex is a hero. Rex, a complete sociopath who cares about nobody but himself. Rex, who went back in time to doom everybody in the universe but one to a traumatic future even worse than his own traumatic past. Rex, who was prepared to MURDER the very person he went back to save, purely because a few hours of palling around with that person wasn’t enough to turn them into a monster like him who thinks not caring about anyone besides yourself is a form of “enlightenment”. He sacrificed himself in the end, and seemingly found some solace and redemption in the knowledge that he’d been wrong about other people always letting you down. But he didn’t make that sacrifice by choice.

    What’s more, this is not purely a case of Finn being this movie’s Man Upstairs. In the first movie, The Man Upstairs had to come to terms with what he’d become in the eyes of his son. In this movie, it’s about Finn having to make a climactic choice about who he’s GOING to become as he grows up. Emmet and Rex represent these two conflicting sides of Finn’s soul: one that thinks being “grown up” means being belligerent, cynical, and indifferent to the feelings of others, the other as sweet, idealistic, and big-hearted as in the first movie, but now beginning to question whether those things are symptoms of weakness or immaturity.

    That said, phrases like “woke-sploitation” are exactly the kind of thing a lot of “Rexes” might say about this very type of movie… after all, there are a lot of those in our current society who think sensitivity and having an open heart towards others are for losers, that in the end the only way to get ahead is to trust and look out for your own interests alone, and that a more feminine touch in what was previously a masculine-dominated franchise adds nothing of value.

    Also, what’s this nonsense about the first movie but not this one being “written by people who had an inside perspective on the hobby”? The two movies literally had the same two screenwriters, as well as the same person writing the score!

  8. Doug

    My simple thoughts: I dragged a bit in the middle the first time I watched as I tried to understand the relationships. But I was all in by the end. I did see it again and I love it.

    I imagine a world where the Batman and Ninjago movies weren’t made. I wonder if this movie would have performed better.

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