How this film exists is beyond me. They made 2014’s The Lego Movie, released it in a February…and managed to make it a good movie. This film should have been The Emoji Movie before that film existed. Instead, it got an Oscar nomination for its song and was considered a snub for not being nominated for animated feature. Oh and this happened a year after the film’s February release. After eight years does it still? Yes, it still holds up.
Emmet (Chris Pratt) is an average construction worker who lives in a totalitarian corporatocracy run by President Business (Will Ferrell). One day he ends up with an item known as the Piece of Resistance stuck to his back, marking him as “The Special”, a prophesized person who is the ‘the greatest, most interesting, most important person of all times’ who will disarm a superweapon known as The Kragle which can freeze a person in place. Teaming up with a group of master builders including Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), Batman (Will Arnett) and others, Emmet must fulfill the prophecy and save the world from the superweapon.
First off, the animation is great. Despite how it looks, the film is computer generated rather than stop-motion, but the fact I have to make this clarification shows how close to actual Legos they look. The fact that the characters are Legos is always an element of the world that makes the action scenes unique with characters quickly building objects and items. This results in both the animation and film being very fast paced. There is always something going on and it gives the film a manic energy that keeps the audience engaged throughout the runtime.
Character wise, the film does a great job. There are so many cameos, from Superman to NBA stars to Abraham Lincoln. Despite the insane number of cameos, though, the main group manages to shine through. Emmet fits the role as a protagonist really well, managing to be both funny and empathetic. Wildstyle is a solid love interest and is quite likable and Vitruvius is a great mentor figure with both moments of insightfulness and moments of absolute hilarity. Additionally, the main villain, President Business, can be a pretty good villain while also getting a lot of jokes of his own.
One interesting thing about the main cast is that there isn’t really a full-on comedic relief character. Every main cast member has at least several different gags throughout the whole film, and several have mini-arcs that happen throughout the film. From Unikitty (Alison Brie) to Metalbeard (Nick Offerman) to Charlie Day as 1980’s-something space guy (yes that is his name), the cast manages to be memorable, likable and funny. Two other standouts are Liam Neeson as Bad Cop/Good Cop, a solid minor antagonist and parody of cop characters (and several of the actors’ roles) and Will Arnett as Batman, a parody of how Batman is seen and portrayed that was so good, he got his own movie because of it.
As a whole, the plot is fun. It is fast paced, but doesn’t feel too rushed. On the comedic end, the humor is frequent but not infuriating. The film feels like a parody of most big budget films at the time, and it does a tremendous job at this, with the overwhelming number of jokes hitting the mark. As the plot progresses, the chosen one plotline, the main subject of the film’s parody, ends up opening into the film’s emotional core which manages to work really well. Personally, the most stand-out element of the plot is how engaging the story is and how it did so with both the amount of humor in the film and a landslide of references that the MCU would be jealous of.
Overall, The Lego Movie is both a fun and imaginative film that manages to be funny, smart and engaging throughout its runtime. This film is honestly not that complicated, but it still manages to be one of the strongest films released in 2014. It ended up transcending all expectations and became a surprise success, which ended up launching several other Lego related films and some truly abysmal copycats. But this film still stands out as one of the most pleasant surprises released to theaters.