The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part Movie Review

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part: a Delightful, Funny, and Worthy Follow Up to a Game Changing Predecessor!

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part was directed by Mike Mitchell (director of Trolls) and penned by Phil Lord and Chris Miller of the first Lego Movie and 2018’s critically acclaimed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.  After The Lego Movie was released in 2014 to critical and financial success, film fans waited in anticipation to see what these Lego movies were going to do next.  Many acknowledged the potential for many different types of stories to be told after that original movie, and what we ended up getting was interesting.  We first had The Lego Batman Movie in 2017, which was generally seen as a really fun and creative film that was self-referential but could also serve as a great animated standalone Batman film.  Then we also got the Lego Ninjago Movie later that year which, admittedly, I still have not seen.  To be fair, however, you probably haven’t either as the film was a financial flop and was mostly forgotten upon its release.  This was likely since it came out the same weekend as the highly anticipated Kingsman: The Golden Circle (which I saw at the time over Ninjago)But now that we have a new Lego Movie which follows up the original, one major question remains…

Is this family adventure as good as the first two outings of the franchise?

The answer to that I would say is mostly yes! The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is very funny, creative, and above all entertaining.  Although, it’s not as good as the first one is, I still really love this one and think it’s an absolute blast that you should see in theaters!  The first aspect that I can rave about here is the incredible animation present.  Done by Animal Logic once again, the animation in this film is lifelike, creative, and incredibly realistic.  Seeing the film in theaters helped give the animation more justice as small details present in the animation really came to life here and likely would not have been noticeable on a standard screen like a phone, tv, or computer screen.  In fact, I would advise you avoid putting on those dark 3D glasses for this one as you’ll want to be able to see the bright screen to notice every detail.  The detail is so incredible that some of the Lego characters have traits in their design like bite marks, tears in their accessories, and even faded designs of clothes on their block bodies that were so much fun to notice.  The character animation as well including the way they move as so fun to watch as not one character is identical in their movements.  Since all these characters possess different designs in their bodies, they all walk differently.  Some walk normally, others hop, and even one character floats and shape shifts.  That character, Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi, voiced by Tiffany Haddish, had such fun and creative animation that admittedly must have been very difficult to work with.

But these films are not just good for the style, the substance is good too!  These films have a reputation for being fast, funny, and entertaining and this film does not disappoint.  Phil Lord and Chris Miller are very talented when it comes to writing hilarious and entertaining scripts that leave you watching from the first scene to the final one.  And if you’re wondering what other movies they’ve done besides these two Lego Movies, they’ve also worked on 21 Jump Street22 Jump Street as well as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  They really understand what makes a film entertaining and worth watching, and I truly believe studios should want to hire more people in Hollywood like these guys. It’s a shame then, that we never got to see what they’re creative interpretation of Solo: A Star Wars Story would have been as I’m sure it would have been great compared to what we got instead (a controversial take). However…

I really don’t think this film is as great as I would have liked it to be though.

It feels a little more like The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is simply a fun adventure, rather than a groundbreaking cinematic film like the first one was.  The only reason I’d classify the first one as such is because it showed us that you can make fun and interesting ideas for a film out of any concept no matter how mundane or strange the idea may seem.  It continues the story and the fun traits present in the Lego Movie and when new things are added, they don’t necessarily add to the story or to the enjoyment of the film.  Some things they add that I wasn’t a fan of included musical numbers.  The songs in general for this film were really hit and miss for me.  Some of them were great like “The Catchy Song” which is definitely stuck inside my head as the song promises, and I like the song they played at the end credits and thought it was funny.  However, there were two songs sang by Tiffany Haddish in this film that I did not care for.  These were full blown musical numbers and they were not fun to watch.  They felt somewhat childish and I found myself waiting for them to end in all honesty.  I also didn’t care for the villain.  Without giving too much away, it is not who you expect the villain to be.  And while this person is very funny and the set up is very clever, his backstory doesn’t make sense and it raises more questions about this universe that are never answered.  The revelation of this villain and his backstory also creates more plot holes that makes this universe confusing to me.  If you’ve seen the movie, you likely are aware of what I’m talking about.  I found myself confused with this twist and I suspect the kids who see it will be lost as well.  I understand that this was likely an attempt to expand the universe that they’ve set up, but they instead make it more confusing.

In fact, there were a few jokes here that made this already complex universe more complex.  Without giving too much away, they make a joke in the movie about Batman going on his own stand-alone adventure and they explain he left the other characters for some time for that reason.  I understand this was just a funny joke to make a reference to the fact that there was a Lego Batman movie but this poses a question.  Since all these movies take place inside the imagination of one kid and his Lego set, was the stand-alone Batman film on another individual Lego set that this kid has of Gotham City?  I know this seems insignificant, but this is the type of stuff I left the film asking myself and thinking about.  The film in general too just feels like it’s more oriented towards kids which is disappointing because these films have always have been made for generally older kids and adults.  The jokes are still funny, but quite honestly not as funny as they usually are in these films.

With that being said, I overall really enjoyed this one!  I don’t think it’s as good as the other Lego movies, and I do hope we don’t get too many of these movies at one time and get tired of them, because every time I check out one of these films I always find myself really enjoying them.  The script may not be as funny as the last few were, but the pacing was on point and the film remained consistently entertaining from start to finish.  I am not sure how many more of these we are going to get, so if you want to see this movie and more like it in the future, be sure to go support it in theaters while it’s still out.  And see it quick if you have any interest in it because with the low box office numbers it’s receiving right now, it might not be there for much longer.  It’s not a masterpiece of film like the first film was, but The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is definitely entertaining, and you will likely enjoy it overall.

Written by: Christian Scognamillo

Secret Sessions: Exclusive Interview with Mondo Cozmo

Josh Ostrander, known on stage as the legendary Mondo Cozmo, lit up The Casbah in San Diego on March 2, and he’s ready to do it again on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” this Thursday, March 23. Ostrander hails from Philadelphia and entered the music scene in 2000, when he fronted the band Laguardia until 2005. He then moved on, becoming the front man of Eastern Conference Champions. In April of 2016, Mondo Cozmo was born —“Mondo” originating from the 1969 John Waters’ comedy “Mondo Trash,” and “Cozmo” being Ostrander’s dog’s name—with his debut single “Hold On to Me.” The single was accompanied by a tear-jerking music video starring actress Anna Faris. Soon to follow was “Shine,” which hit #1 on Billboard’s Adult Alternative Songs chart this January. I got to speak with this superstar about working with Anna Faris, his tour, the funny story behind his lyric music video and much more.

We started off talking about his incredible music video for “Hold On To Me.” If you haven’t seen it already, make it your next priority. Mondo Cozmo grew up in a retirement facility in Philadelphia. This sparked the idea and collaboration from which the video was born.

“I asked my buddy Anna [Faris] to do it and she was just like, ‘I’ll do it,’ in a heartbeat. We shot that video for zero dollars and everybody who was in it just wanted to be a part of it,” said Ostrander.

M.C. said that when he wrote the song he was working two jobs and was label-less, and that the song was a prayer written for himself.

Shine,” which has hit over 2 million Spotify listens, is an uplifting, soulful mixture of cannabis, Jesus and guitar. The lyrics mention Jesus—as well as getting high—several times, but Ostrander says that to him, the song isn’t about religion.

“I think it’s a song of hope. I wouldn’t call myself religious at all, but when I wrote it I was like, ‘this is the closest thing I’ll ever write to like, “Let It Be.”’ You know what I mean? Or songs like that—they tap into this thing that’s maybe like a little bit bigger than yourself,” said Ostrander.

Of course, we had to discuss the fact that M.C. is besties with Anna Faris and her husband, Chris Pratt. He spoke extremely highly of their support and friendship. He then told me how he became friends with the couple.

“It was just a friend of a friend—we ended up going skiing together. I’m a terrible skier and Chris is a terrible skier, so we bonded over falling down this mountain together,” he said.

He also praised Faris’ role in his “Hold On to Me” music video and explained that the whole thing was unscripted and completely authentic. He mentioned that Faris normally can’t leave the house without being recognized, but in this project she was able to spontaneously dance with the residents of the retirement home.

“The people there all had dementia, so they didn’t know who she was. They thought she was a worker, so it was a really cool thing,” Ostrander said.

We also talked about his “arduous” endeavor to create a “Shine” lyric video, which actually only ended up taking him half an hour to complete.

“I didn’t know what a lyric video was. I guess it’s this popular thing, where the lyrics pop up from the song. It was like 8 in the morning and I was like, I don’t want to do a lyric video. So, I took my phone, and taped it to a mic-stand and I put it down on a table and I drew it all out and then I fast forwarded it in iMovie, and that was the video,” Ostrander said.

“People spend a lot of money,” he said, laughing. “It took me like half an hour.”

Ostrander had no shortage of hilarious stories. He was signed before the label (Republic) saw him perform, because at the time he was independently writing and creating music in his guest bedroom. They asked him to make a video of himself performing live in his house, to make sure he could play acoustic guitar. To this, M.C. had a strategic response.

“I was like, screw you man! I’ve been doing this for so long.”

“My girl was out of town, so I got all liquored up, I set up the camera—same camera—I set up my phone, and I shot it behind me, and I put on some like really tasteful ‘70s porn on the TV, so that’s going, and then I performed the songs acoustic, like with the TV right there. But while I’m recording I’m like, man, this sounds really good, they’re gonna release this. So when I finished it I went into iMovie again and I loaded up—you know in Star Wars, how the names roll up—I put everybody’s phone number that works at the label. So I was like, there’s no way they’ll ever put this out,” he said.

Ostrander’s iMovie skills continue to amaze me.

We talked about his early days at ECC. He happily reminisced about the band, but stood by his decision to leave in order to produce music more quickly. ECC didn’t disband contentiously – Ostrander just wrote songs quickly and wasn’t able to get the music out at the same pace.

“In a weird way, I had to quit the band to get music out. Looking back I know I made the right decision. It was a really, really tough, dark time for me. I was bumming, ‘cause I lost all my friends. It was really hard, but I feel good now,” he said.

There are some perks to the solo life though, said Ostrander. Being the sole decision maker, moving quickly and not having to answer to anybody are a few advantages he particularly enjoys.

Mondo Cozmo will be continuing his tour into the summer, with a short stop this Thursday, March 23rd on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Friday, he’ll be in Toronto, Canada with Bastille, and will continue on throughout the U.S. and then into the summer at several music festivals. M.C. credits Nirvana for igniting his passion in music and said, looking forward, that Pharrell Williams is an artist he’d love to collaborate with.

Also in the near future is the release of Mondo Cozmo’s highly anticipated full-length album. He said it’s completed, currently being mixed, and should be released this summer. He said he had the unique experience of creating the record “in reverse” because he was able to get “a feel for what people like” by releasing singles. He’s written 15 to 16 songs, and expects that 10 will be on the album.

M.C. is psyched to be on the road, and is happy this will be a busy year. He professed so much love and humility toward his fans. He said his fanbase has grown into something of a movement, and while he is happy for himself and his own growth, he’s also happy for his fans’ role in the success.

“I think I’m just a lifer, this is just what I do. This is the only thing that makes me happy at that level. And to give people that happy, it’s pretty cool. I feel like really humbled by it and I feel like I put my time in, and I’m ready.”