The Lego Movie 2 Tackles Toxic Masculinity

Chris Pratt plays the voice of tough guy Rex Dangervest and nice guy Emmet. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

At the end of the The Lego Movie, Finn (Jadon Sand) was told to play with his sister. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part shows what happens when Bianca (Brookylnn Prince) joins in. (Read our review here.)

As the siblings grow up, Finn wants to play with mature, dark and gritty toys. Bianca just wants to have fun and play with her brother.

As this conflict plays out between Emmet (Chris Pratt), Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett) and Bianca’s toys. Finn is in danger of adopting toxic masculinity if he grows up with hostile attitudes.

“I don’t know that we, or maybe I didn’t consciously think about that,” co-writer and co-producer Phil Lord said. “It’s obviously something we’re all talking about as a society.”

The Lego gang now lives in a wasteland due to Finn fighting with his sister. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Of course little kids aren’t going to be thinking about toxic masculinity. Hopefully they’ll just learn to play with each other.

“Definitely the movie’s supposed to be a plea for empathy,” co-writer and co-producer Chris Miller said. 

Emmet meets a new character named Rex Dangervest (also Pratt’s voice). Rex tries to toughen Emmet up.

Rex Dangervest has cool costumes and a team of dinosaurs. What’s not to like? Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

“It does ask Finn to examine what it’s like to be a grown man,” Lord said. “There’s the modeling that Rex is doing for him and there’s the modeling that Emmet is doing for him.”

It’s easy to see where Lord and Miller stand. They hope Finn can stay as open and playful as Emmet.

“Our thesis is why do you have to stop being a sensitive person in order to feel like you’ve completely come through your adolescence?” Lord said. “That’s certainly not our point of view.”

Is everything still awesome? Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The Lego Movie 2 does cause Emmet and the gang to re-evaluate whether or not everything is in fact awesome. 

“Okay, everything is not actually awesome,” Miller said. “We have to admit that that was a lie. That was propaganda. You look at the world around us and we all know the world really isn’t awesome and so we’re not going to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that it is.”

That doesn’t mean everything is sad and angry. You can find a balance.

“At the same time, we can try to make it more awesome,” Miller continued. “That was the point of Everything’s Not Awesome song and I think all of that wraps up into a lot of the stuff that we as a society are coming to terms with right now. It just  so happens that it is striking a particular chord right now I think.”

Everything may not be awesome, but there’s still glitter. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Lord related sibling rivalry to filmmaking. Learning to play together can help kids as they grow up into professional settings.

“If you want to direct movies because you want to tell people what to do and have them listen, you’re in the wrong business,” Lord said. “That’s not how it works. You’ll be disappointed.”

The best directors listen to everyone working on the film.

“What you learn is that the best job you can do as a filmmaker is to listen,” Lord said. “To listen to the world that you’re trying to depict and listen to your crew members. That’s the real skill. I think that’s what Finn and his sister exhibit in the movie is that they listen and witness one another. That is the way out of their disagreement.”

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part opens Friday, February 8.

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