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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

where does he get those wonderful toys

The Five Worst Things About The Lego Movie


By this point you’ll already have heard about how good The Lego Movie is. If not, here’s my short review: It’s wonderful. It’s wonderful for everyone. Children. Adults. Aliens. Robots. Alien robots. If you need more elaboration, read one of the film’s positive reviews—that would be 95% of them—on Rotten Tomatoes. For comparison: Frozen is sitting pretty at 89%, and The Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller‘s previous (excellent) animated film, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, has an 87% rating.

So yeah, The Lego Movie is wonderful. But every movie, no matter how good, has its bad elements*. Here are The Lego Movie‘s.

*The exception to this rule is Clue.

(Note: There are no spoilers in this list. There may be some in the comments.)

1) “Everything Is Awesome” Will Lodge Itself In Your Brain And Slowly Drive You Insane With Its Infectious Earwormness

My friend and I saw The LEGO Movie on Saturday night. I lost count of the number of times in the subsequent 24 hours that we turned to each other to sing the opening lines of the movie’s signature song. I’m pretty sure I tried to sing it in my sleep. And involuntarily busting out an “Everything is awe-sommmme!” is great when you’re hanging out with friends or in your apartment by yourself. But what happens when I’m at a funeral? I won’t be able to help it. It’s too catchy.

2) Crying With 3D Glasses On Is a Pain in the Ass

As is crying with the double-decker eyesight combo: Normal glasses with 3D glasses perched on top. My fellow four eyes, you know what’s up. There is a point at which The Lego Movie will make you at least get misty. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but there’s a plot twist that you were not expecting.

3) Needed More Wonder Woman

This one is only quasi-satirical. This was Wonder Woman’s film debut, and she wasn’t really in it that much beyond what we saw in the trailers. The fact that Wondy’s debut is in a movie where she has a small role and doesn’t even really get to kick any ass is absolutely on WB and DC, not The Lego Movie. But still. I’d have liked a third female with a substantial role to be added to the ranks. Make the pirate a lady! Or swap out Morgan Freeman for Judi Dench!  That said, I absolutely love how the film’s writers didn’t fall into the trap of  making their female lead, Wyldstyle, a Manic Pixie Dream Minifig. It looked at one point like they might, but by the end of the movie she had her own agency and character development separate of helping main character Emmet realize his ~*~true heroic potential~*~ (which, in the end, was…ahhhhh, spoilers).

4) Nothing Will Ever Be as Good As The Batman Song

Every Batman movie from here until the end of time without Batman’s “Self-Portrait” brooding up its credits will be inferior. Man of Steel sequel, I am looking right at you.

5) You Will Fall In Love With Charlie Day’s Voice (If Pacific Rim Didn’t Do It Already)

You just will. Accept it. That “squeaky dog toy mixed with a bagful of rusty nails” (that’s Day describing it, by the way) will worm itself into your consciousness and prod at your brain until you’ve binged all nine seasons of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia in a matter of weeks, maybe even days. I’ve been down this road, and I know how it goes: With “Dayman” stuck in your head alongside “Everything Is Awesome.” SPACESHIP! SPACESHIP! SPACESHIP!

And a Bonus:

The Lego Movie is spelled “The Lego Movie,” but Lego, when you’re talking about the toy, is LEGO. All caps. That’s officially how it is. All I ask is a little editorial consistency!

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  • Jonas Albrecht

    #6: It will make you want to buy (more) Lego stuff.

  • TheChief

    Wonderwoman did get the shaft. Heck, Hal Jordan got more screen time than her.

    I would disagree with removing Morgan Freeman for Judi Dench simply because you are replacing a POC actor with a white actress. The voice actors are already mostly white. But, I do agree that it would have been great if there was more females with a substantial role in the movie.

  • http://blahblahblahyackitysmackity.blogspot.com/ DAVID WALSTON

    HA! I have been singing that song since Friday night!

  • http://expedition-megacosm.blogspot.com/ Aditya Iyer

    All of the movie’s social media pages do read as The LEGO Movie.
    Well yes the movie was dam great!

  • Rebecca Pahle

    That’s a fair point (re: the Freeman/Dench switch).

  • http://thescienceofobsession.tumblr.com/ R.O.U.S.

    That movie was way more fun that it had any right to be.

  • Jonas Albrecht

    Replace Morgan Freeman with Aisha Tyler?

  • Jeyl

    “It looked at one point like they might, but by the end of the movie she had her own agency and character development separate of helping main character Emmet realize his ~*~true heroic potential~*~ ”

    That’s not the film I saw. Wyldstyle’s sole development is pretty much accepting Emmett as the real chosen one while she take reassurance that she made Emmett feel special. This was so disappointing because I found her story to be the more interesting one. It’s not like we haven’t had the “Every day Caucasian guy ends up becoming the hero!” who has a female sidekick who can kick a** and be there as his reward in the end. For all the expectations this film takes, this one is played dreadfully straight.

    And that moment where the film gives her the spot light to be the hero, she spends it literally apologizing to the entire world for looking down on Emmett, talks about how awesome he is and how everyone should look towards him as inspiration for being special. This was a huge slap in the face since Wyldstyle was a character who started out wanting to be the hero and had her dreams dashed by a guy who through the first whole half of the film didn’t pay any attention to her and spent most of the time ogling at her (which happens to her a lot). And to kick her while she’s down, her moment at being the hero not only fails, but it puts her in the “damsel in distress” position where Emmett has to come and rescue her and everyone not five whole minutes after Wyldstyle and everyone else was a Damsel in distress.

    If you think I’m painting her as a character who gets put into the corner so that the real hero does all the work, know that during the final battle when everyone is free of the glue, she yells at Emmett “You got this!” and stays behind. The film literally puts Wyldstyle into the corner so that the real hero, Emmett can take care of everything.

    I’m sure many here are perfectly content with Wyldstyle’s role, and that’s fine. But the way I see it, the film’s writers think that if their female character is captured along with everyone else, that doesn’t make her the damsel. It does. They also seem to think that if she is a super confident character who can kick a** and take names than that makes her an interesting character. It doesn’t. While we do see her do some awesome things, it doesn’t really amount to much if everything falls on Emmett to get everyone out of trouble.

    That’s my view of it at least. A bit extreme? Maybe. I guess it’s because I’m just tired of seeing the same type of female character for the past decade in all the different mediums. She can be tough, but she won’t be the hero.

  • Harrison Grey

    I’m afraid Batman already has an unbeatably great song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMaYVfm4cEE

  • Anonymous

    Is singing that song at a funeral more inappropriate than laughing at one? At my dad’s dad’s funeral, they did a 21 gun salute. Unfortunately my mom and sister and I were standing behind them when they started shooting, and the cartridges ejected right at us. All three of us got the giggles at that (and more than a few nasty stares).

    And if it replaced “Apples to the Core” as the song running around in my head, I’d be ok with that. Not that I don’t like that song, but this is what, week 4 now? It’s just too dang catchy!

  • Anonymous

    So I went to McDonald’s today and saw there Happy Meal toys were from the Lego Movie, So I asked what it was, and it was a cup. A cup. as the tie in for the Lego Movie. Not even a LEGO Cup. I was confused, and a little sad

  • Anonymous

    For #3, we had another girl along with Wyldestyle! We had Princess Unikitty!

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Yup! I said I’d have liked to see a third female character.

  • http://andrewbudadams.blogspot.com/ A B Adams

    Wyldstyle’s role felt very reminiscent of Olivia Wilde’s (pun intended?) in “Tron: Legacy,” especially in that moment when they bust out of the limits of one imaginary world into another with her in the driver’s seat of an innovative vehicle. Both characters are “special,” but not THE Special.

  • CW

    Some spoilers here, be warned.

    I loved the first two thirds of The Lego Movie, but the final act had so many tired cliches that I left the theater mildly disappointed. For a movie that spent so much time celebration originality, I had hoped for better than overused tropes like “distant father needs to reconnect with his inner child through his son” and “female lead is a prize awarded to male lead by another male character”.

    Number 3 touched on it in the article, but really, for a company that has taken heat for gendering their products in recent years, LEGO didn’t do themselves any favors with this movie. The movie had four named female characters (five if you count “Ma Cop” as a name), of which only Wildstyle and Unikitty got any real screentime. One of them was reduced to being the hero’s reward, and the other was defined largely by her temper.

    For a movie that did so much so right, it’s a shame that a few easily avoided problems kept it from being as great as it could have.

  • http://andrewbudadams.blogspot.com/ A B Adams

    “…there’s a plot twist that you were not expecting.”

    I actually did see this coming and really hoped I was wrong. As soon as Business revealed his vault of real-life artifacts (I don’t remember what he called it) I thought, “Uh-oh, I hope they don’t go meta.” It don’t know why this struck everyone as so unique and poignant. It was like “Toy Story” told from Buzz Lightyear’s initial, delusional perspective, or like the intro to “Toy Story 3″ (that takes place in Andy’s head) if it had dominated the majority of the movie. Both sound fun but would make for very different movies. Same w/ “The LEGO Movie,” which was awesome so long as it appeared to be different from the Toy Story franchise, i.e., a self-contained story in which toys aren’t toys (ala, say, “The LEGO Batman Movie”). Then it turned out to be not so different after all.

    For that reason, their message about creativity felt disingenuous to me. At first they suggested creativity is as narrowly defined as disregarding the instructions, until it turned out that Emmet’s experience with instructions was an advantage. That, to me, is an accurate portrayal of true creativity, which is built on inspiration. Then “the man upstairs” made his debut, representing instructions and organization as bad things, and therefore not creative. In the meantime, LEGO prints those instructions, encourages organization and limits customization by making complicated pieces and sets for every popular franchise, and, in this movie, puts your archetypal characters in their archetypal roles relative to the hero’s journey, right down to female side character Wyldstyle wanting to be the hero but not being allowed to be. How is that creative?

    I was never expecting anything other than a fun movie that would make my kids want more LEGO, but everyone’s reacting as if it’s so much more than that, and it bothers me that I don’t see it. I have a sticky feeling that I’m Lord Business, because…it really does drive me crazy when my kids mix-and-match the different sets to the point of no return!

  • Todd Carney

    #3. It was great to see Wonder Woman if for little more than a cameo. It reminded me of an apparent deal that Marston created that stood for a long time, that Wonder Woman could never be a small part of a big team book — her role had to be significant. Supposedly that deal went away in the 80s.
    #1. I kept singing this song for the rest of the day, and my children told me to shut up. #4, while supremely cool, is just not as catchy, but that’s okay Batman, because it’s job is to be supremely cool. If I may use Veruca Salt terms, it’s as if “Everything Is Awesome” was written by Nina Gordon, while Batman’s song was written by Louise Post.

  • Jeyl

    Wyldstyle’s role reminded me a lot more of Astrid from “How To Train Your Dragon”. They share a lot of similarities.

    1. Both are ogled over by the main hero. Complete with slow motion.
    2. They’re super competent, strong and work hard in order to the be “the chosen one”.
    3. They are very dismissive of the hero for being corny and weak.
    4. The corny hero winds up being the chosen hero to their disappointment.
    5. Both end up apologizing to the heroes in some fashion and both tell the hero how important/special they are.
    6. They take part in the final battle, but are thrown off to the side so the real hero can do the heroic thing.
    7. Both wind up being romantically involved with the hero.

    Compared to Wyldstyle, Astrid is the more unfortunate case since she was lied to throughout the first three quarters of the film, scared into submission by the hero’s dragon and demoted from courages fighter to spectator during the final battle. I’d certainly like to give her character a chance since the Television series would no doubt actually give her a story of her own, but since this is a movie franchise first and a TV series second, the only thing that will matter is Hiccup’s story and how she matters to him and him alone. Still, that’s probably more than what Wyldstyle will get in the long run.

  • RChick

    …I really shouldn’t have been taking a drink when I hit play on the Batman song…

  • TheChief

    You know I did not see that at first. I realize that as a male, it is easy to let my blinders prevent me from seeing things like that. But you are right. The movie did end up being a “Male Power Fantasy” for Emmett.

  • Anonymous

    I dunno. I think this is the premier Batman song.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncj-wpBhr5E

  • Anonymous

    Megan Mullally as the pirate.

  • Harrison Grey

    Point taken, though I might argue that “Am I Blue?” is sung by Batman, while “Gray and Blue” is about Batman, so they can both be ultimate Batman songs, if for different reasons.

    Really, until now, I didn’t quite realize Batman had such a rich musical history.

  • Anonymous

    SPOILERS BELOW!

    I let the tropes slide because:
    1. it was a super fun movie
    2. they were mostly done tongue-in-cheek
    and
    SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
    3. it was fitting due to who made up the story
    SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

    Also, Princess Unikitty is amazing.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, you were only talking about Wonder woman and Wyldestyle, so I thought you where referring to them.

  • Bean

    I’m a bit conflicted-I can see your point, but…
    Ugh. I feel even a little nervous about daring to argue, since I’m probably inviting accusations of privilege, and possibly even deserving them. But I’ll never learn, otherwise, so here goes-*spoilers, in case one hadn’t guessed*
    How would changing Wyldstyle’s role improve the narrative of this movie? I concede readily that the movie could easily have had a lot more female characters, but replacing Emmett as the hero would change the movie’s theme entirely. The point of Emmett was that he WASN’T special, but he might be. Wyldstyle most definitely WAS special. She was a master builder, and exeptional even within that group, if her being Virtuvious’ student is any kind of metric.
    The theme and tone of the movie would have been entirely different with her as the central character. (whether for better or for worse isn’t for me to judge)
    On the other hand, Emmett didn’t NEED to be male. They could have swapped him out for the female construction worker, and basically had the same movie.

  • Joanna

    I think all of the supporting roles fell short a little bit, not just Wyldstyle’s. The only backstory we heard was the robot-pirate’s and even though all the supporting roles had something to contribute, I felt their efforts weren’t really appreciated within the story (except maybe Batman’s that one time). One of the themes was supposed to be about taking everybody’s uniqueness and making them work together but it didn’t quite hit home for me. The group dynamics probably could have done with a splotch of Kragle =P

  • Jeyl

    It’s not really about changing Wyldstyle’s role that I’m aiming for, but pointing out that she’s not the super self dependable character that the film thinks it’s making her out to be. When watching the film, I can see the effort that the film makes in order to portay Wyldstyle as something more than just a love interest or damsel in distress, it just doesn’t work because they do put her in the damsel in distress situation twice, and resort her to being Emmett’s reward in the end.

    And your point about her already being “special” still doesn’t help make her character “special”. The very first time we see her use her “Master Builder” power it’s only thanks to Emmett’s dumb luck in inspiring her to build the motorcycle and every other instance where she builds stuff (The desert chase, the submarine) are all instances where it comes apart and Emmett comes in to help bail everyone out (With his wheel head and his double couch).

    And that’s the key difference here. Wyldstyle’s character is shown as incomplete without Emmett, but Emmett’s character is not incomplete without her. She can’t do things without him, but he can do things without her.

  • Important Film Maker

    How could you forget the Shaquille O’Neil cameo?!

  • Katie Frederick

    Or Lando Calrissian?!
    (though yeah point stands)

  • Anonymous

    The one thing I did not like was the end joke, where *SPOILERS!*

    Will Farrell dad told the son ‘That means your little sister is going to come down here too.’ I was half expecting a joke about the LEGO friends line. But instead there was Duplo, which I’m not sure was better or worst.

    In my mind there is a sequel that deals with the LEGO friends line, but the LEGO friends are bad asses that are stealing LEGO across the world because ‘They want to build cool things too, and not limited to the colours and roles they are stuck with.’

  • Anonymous

    I rather think that Wyldstyle’s character development isn’t that Emmett is the chosen one (BECAUSE HE’S NOT, the entire prophecy is all made-up, remember?) but that regular people are just as interesting and talented as Master Builders. If anything, she has a superiority complex for the first half of the film about being a Master Builder (a prejudice that many of the MB’s share) and her true development comes from developing a relationship with a regular person and realizing that they can do extraordinary things despite not being MBs themselves.

  • Bean

    I’m not sure it’s entirely fair to judge her skills as a builder so harshly. In the case of the desert chase, didn’t her wheel get shot out? And the Submarine was a patchwork effort with five other people-
    But I’ll take your point at face value. Let’s assume that the story was re-written so She didn’t need Emmett, but he needed her. Wouldn’t that just make her a Manic Pixie Dream Minifig, as stated in the article?

    I don’t want to come across as contentious to your main point-there is always room for improvement in how movies deal with female characters.

    But I’ve tried playing it out in my head reversing the genders, and I don’t see anything particularly wrong with the movie if Emmett was female, and Wyldstyle male, so I’m honestly hoping you’ll be able to help me find my blind spot here, and forgive my argung with your concerns.

  • Laura Truxillo

    “On the other hand, Emmett didn’t NEED to be male. They could have
    swapped him out for the female construction worker, and basically had
    the same movie.”

    Almost. But not. The joke with Emmett is that his face is the base face for LEGO figures. Which, IIRC, hasn’t really shown up on recent minifigs much because they’ve branched out and started adding things like expressions, wrinkles, facial hair, scars, glasses, and other “personality”-type things to the base face. But Emmett doesn’t have any of the “personality” type things, he just has the very first LEGO face.

    I did still kinda squick a bit at Batman practically handing Wyldstyle over to Emmett at the end, though. That was just…weird. Maybe I can shrug it off as it being how a kid thinks romance works or something, but still. Ick.

  • Bean

    Yeah, I’ll concede that part readily. That…thing at the end was a kinda disturbing…at absolute best, it was lazy writing to shove a ‘Dark Knight’ joke in there.

  • blu girl

    THANK YOU! That is exactly what I was thinking. And this is where (white) feminism fails- erase a POC with a white woman, really?
    I admit, I probably heard too many reviews beforehand about how awesome this movie was because I thought it was just ok. It’s not something that I would go out of my way to watch again. And I definitely noticed how white was the default for the overwhelming majority of the characters and it annoyed the #!@! out of me.

  • Jeyl

    “WS became “the Special” along with everyone else who believed it.”

    You see, I’m not entirely convinced of that. When Wyldstyle gives her “Emmett is awesome!” speech that encourages everyone to build and fight against Lord Business, it fails, Leaving Emmett and only Emmett to once again save everyone. For a film that’s trying to get the message across that anyone can be special and be a hero, it sure went out of it’s way to ensure that Emmett, and ONLY Emmett is the one character who will save the day in the end. I wish Wyldstyle had more to do in her spotlight, but the film doesn’t want to go all the way with it.

  • Jeyl

    “WS became “the Special” along with everyone else who believed it.”

    You see, I’m not entirely convinced of that. When Wyldstyle gives her “Emmett is awesome!” speech that encourages everyone to build and fight against Lord Business, it fails, Leaving Emmett and only Emmett to once again save everyone. For a film that’s trying to get the message across that anyone can be special and be a hero, it sure went out of it’s way to ensure that Emmett, and ONLY Emmett is the one character who will save the day in the end. I wish Wyldstyle had more to do in her spotlight, but the film doesn’t want to go all the way with it.

  • Jeyl

    Hey, I’m not saying she was a terribly portrayed character, and that moment of development was actually understandable. It’s just that when the film gives her the opportunity to be the hero, it doesn’t go all the way and the answer to that is painfully obvious. She’s not supposed to take the hero spotlight away from Emmett because he is the star and the hero of the picture, “Everyone is Special” be danged.

  • Anonymous

    I dunno, I rather think that if anything, this film was about not NEEDING a hero after all.

    But truly, if we really need to pick a hero in this movie, we can all agree that it’s Benny.

    SPACESHIPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP

  • Anonymous

    “Worst things”

  • http://www.justplainsomething.com JustPlainSomething

    I figured the Duplo joke is that toddlers would be freaking terrifying if they ever got power. If they had done the LEGO Friends at the end, it would have just reenforced the idea that “regular” LEGOs are made for boys. The movie itself (despite the plot twist focusing on a boy) does a pretty good job of showing aspects of the toy that would appeal to all kids. I actually thought the sister line at the end was pointing out that girls love the toy, too. So for that reason, I didn’t mind at all the Duplo joke. Or maybe I just want to pretend that LEGO didn’t make the Friends line because it makes me sad.

  • http://www.justplainsomething.com JustPlainSomething

    I wish she had had a few more lines … at least as many as Superman and Green Lantern. It probably didn’t help that her one fantastic joke was already in most of the trailers. If we had been surprised by that, it would have been one of my favorite parts of watching the movie.

  • http://www.justplainsomething.com JustPlainSomething

    I actually didn’t mind WyldStyle because (SPOILERS) when she thinks Emmet is gone, her mission isn’t to save him. It’s to fight despite him being gone. And she comes up with the plan that, while inspired by him, is probably something he wouldn’t have come up with himself because he has his own blindspots. Was it still cliche? Yes, but it was better than I expected. I think I also give her points for figuring out almost immediately that he wasn’t the great master she thought he was. In so many of these movies it takes the main girl FOREVER to figure that out, even if she’s set up to be incredibly competent. So the fact that they end the first chase scene with her figuring it out was a really smart choice.

  • Ryan Colson

    But the LEGO Movie says it in caps all over.. THE LEGO MOVIE, even… and the official trailer? LEGO. Searching lego movie on Google?

    “The LEGO® Movie”, the first-ever, full-length theatrical LEGO adventure, opens in theaters February 7, 2014. It stars the vocal talents of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, …

    So…. the last bit confuses me.

    But the movie is great!

  • Ryan Colson

    A Batjoke we needed, but not the one we deserved, even.

  • Ryan Colson

    A Batjoke we needed, but not the one we deserved, even.

  • blu girl

    Race didn’t ruin the movie for me. As I said, I thought it was over hyped and I thought it was just ok. That said, yes in the 21st century I am sick and tired of spending my hard earned money on media that act as though I don’t exist. It’s insulting to say the least. And don’t waste your energy feeling sad for me. I certainly don’t need it. You should feel sad for yourself for not getting “it”.

  • Chodukno

    How ’bout the fact that they got C3PO and Lando, but not the REAL Han Solo for voice actors… Really Harrison, how hard would a 10 second cameo have been, you already did Anchorman 2 with Will Farrell, you couldn’t do LEGO movie too… (I suppose after Anchorman you probably said not again, not a freakin’ chance)

  • Camilla Søgaard

    I agree that they could have had more female characters. Still the character Wyldstyle was great – the most action packed of all characters. I have written a blog post about the letter from the 7 year-old girl Charlotte to LEGO, who think LEGO should let the girls have more fun.
    http://wp.me/p4iqzZ-4G