The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part literally builds on the first film, exploring how a bright and positive hero like Emmet deals with a world in which everything is not actually awesome. Screenwriters Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who also directed the first LEGO Movie, shared how our heroâ€™s choices act as a critique on toxic masculinity as well as how they themselves expanded on the legacy of the franchiseâ€™s previous films.
Screen Rant: I just wanna know what draws you guys back to animation again and again, because you keep pushing boundaries in it â€“ both visually and in terms of story.
Chris Miller: Well, thatâ€™s a big part of it. We feel like animation is a medium and not a genre, and thereâ€™s so many different ways to tell a story. This past year and a half, we spent working a lot on these two animated movies that couldnâ€™t look more different but also have a lot in common in terms of a lot of the same themes like collaboration and inclusion and all sorts of stuff like that. And also try to put out a positive message and be funny and full of heart.
Phil Lord: And theyâ€™re both really ambitious, thatâ€™s another thing that weâ€™re proud of. Both of these movies are going for it and not playing it safe.
Screen Rant: One of the themes that I noticed at least was in this last movie especially, but also in the original LEGO Movie and LEGO Batman, was sort of a critique on toxic masculinity.
Phil Lord: A little bit.
Screen Rant: Weâ€™ve got Emmet who thinks heâ€™s got to toughen up to save the day, but itâ€™s his soft side that wins. And of course Batman is a parody of a lone wolf, but really he just needs love.
Chris Miller: Then he found love!
Phil Lord: Heâ€™s psychologically a disaster.
Screen Rant: So was that a conscious choice that you guys made, and how did you approach that subject?
Chris Miller: From the very beginning, we were thinking about [how] we made this song in the first one called â€œEverything is Awesome,â€� and itâ€™s not really true. You know, everything in the world isnâ€™t actually awesome. Thereâ€™s a point when you grow up and you start to realize that, and you can make a choice in your life. Once I realize that, am I gonna get cynical and angry and harden my heart, or are you gonna make a choice to be positive and empathetic and kind? And we think thatâ€™s actually a more mature thing to do, and soâ€¦
Phil Lord: When youâ€™re a middle schooler, you perform this idea of what a grown-up is supposed to act like. Youâ€™re supposed to be above it all, and youâ€™re basically just protecting yourself from vulnerability. And when you grow out of that, ideally, at least weâ€™ve figured out that itâ€™s more brave and more mature to be kind.
Screen Rant: Speaking of â€œEverything is Awesome,â€� one thing I found fascinating was how the Systar System really was just like a musical. It really did feel like music was the universal language.
Chris Miller: They love pop music there.
Screen Rant: What was the inspiration behind that?
Chris Miller: A lot of it was watching my kids and other families really just dance around to â€œEverything Is Awesomeâ€� and have them be so happy and full of joy, and thinking, â€œWell, if weâ€™re gonna do another movie, we should build on that idea. What if the sister is really into pop music that a kid whoâ€™s 13 who wants to be cool would find super gross?â€�
Phil Lord: He thinks itâ€™s really annoying.
Chris Miller: So the idea that that would be a really aggravating thing to him seemed like it was a funny place to start. Then we got to work with a lot of really cool and talented musicians and have all these funny songs.
Phil Lord: And we fell for the songs, you now, and just the act of trying to make them really good and appealing and say something. Itâ€™s a delightful challenge.
Screen Rant: I noticed the Flash was just not really there with the Justice League.
Chris Miller: He isâ€¦ Oh, he wasnâ€™t in the Systar System. He was moving so fast, he was moving so fast.
Phil Lord: Heâ€™s really busy.
Chris Miller: Thereâ€™s a lot to do before the big ceremony. You probably didnâ€™t notice him zipping in the background.
Phil Lord: A lot of errands that he runs. That was not by design. He winds up in the spaceship, though, right? He doesnâ€™t quite make the trip.
More: Read Screen Rant’s The LEGO Movie 2 Review