Are the Four Lego Movies Sequels or Prequel Films?

chris prat is emmet brickowski in the lego universe
Emmet and his awesome Lego world.

As an adult, I’m surprised at how fun these Lego movies are. Are Legos considered kids’ toys? Or are Legos  nostalgic and expensive boxed kits for adults who refuse grow up?

Let’s take a look at how each Lego movie fits into the series so far. They all have adult humor mixed in with exciting kiddy fun. Some are better than the others, narratively.

So there are four Lego movies in total, right now. But do you need to see each of the previous three to appreciate the “official sequel”? Here’s what you should know:

 

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  1. The Lego Movie — This film introduces the characters in the main Lego storyline.  You need to know Emmet, Lucy, Lego Batman, Benny the Spaceman, Unikitty, and Metal Beard. This film is so much fun that you won’t regret making a watch happen to prep for the sequel. This is technically the ‘origin story.’
  2. The Lego Batman Movie – Although this seems like a standalone film about Batman and the Bat Crew, it’s difficult to place, since Will Arnett does the Lego Batman voicing in three films. Before Lego 2 came out, I was wondering how this would fit in, or if it would just be a confusing mess that viewers would have to ignore/live with. I was happy to note Lego Batman had a nice little throw-away line early in The Lego Movie 2, about how he went through love and loss in his own movie (thus being available to continue his story in the “Second” part). I’ll take anything to help me determine continuity, because my geekhood knows no bounds. If this seems confusing, just think about it this way: after Batman’s first appearance with Emmet in Lego 1, he goes on to have his own side-film. Then canonically, he returns in Lego 2, which is either the 3rd or 4th Lego movie in the series, depending on whether you include the Ninjago film. This flick can go either way – you can see it as a stand-alone ‘spin-off’ film about the earlier Batman character, or a sort of side-story that squeezes between Lego 1 and 2. 
  3. The Lego Ninjago Movie – This is the most problematic entry. Not one character from before or after appears in the other flicks (at least on the big screen; apparently there are small-screen Ninjago shows for the fans on Netflix). I’d say this is a stand-alone in the movie franchise, unless future films add the Ninjagos to the larger arc with Emmet and friends. Another note: The Lego Ninjas are teenagers, and the characters in the other films are adults. And they all live on different continents. Just saying – I’m not sure the Ninjas will be brought into the fold. A stand-alone film.
  4. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part – This picks up immediately after the original Lego film with Emmet and Lucy (and yes, Batman)…then quickly makes a five-year jump into an apocalyptic future, with our Bricksburg characters battling the super sweet, creepy Duplos from space. The official Lego sequel.

So, what Lego Movies do you need to watch before Lego 2: The Second Part?

  • You have to watch The Lego Movie (the original) to understand what’s happening with the Lego crew in 2. You just do. I’m not sure you’d understand the sequel at all if you don’t know the backgrounds of Emmet’s pals. There are so many in-jokes and half-hidden Easter Eggs; it was so full of visual gags that we had trouble finding good Peetimes. [pullquote]This is the only previous film you NEED to be up to date on in the Lego series. So that’s okay — you can safely ignore the next two.[/pullquote]
  • You can skip the Lego Batman Movie, since it has no relation to the main narrative…although if you CAN see this, you should. It’s hugely amusing, and Lego Batman’s story does continue in the Lego 2 film. Will Arnett voices all of the Batman roles, and does a bang-up job in his three films. The meta Batman voiceover during the opening logo credits is worth the ticket price right there! Good fun.
  • You can pass on The Lego Ninjago Movie entirely, since it has zero to do with the main arc, and is quite a bit more juvenile in tone, characterization, and plot. I’d say it lies within the Lego Universe, but only loosely.
[pullquote position=”right”]Altogether, all you NEED to see is the first Lego movie to understand Lego 2. [/pullquote]You can watch Lego Batman to fill in some extremely minor gaps, or miss it completely and be fine. Lego Ninjago doesn’t fit at all into the main  narrative, so feel free to ignore it entirely.

So, easy peasy. Just watch the first Lego film at the minimum to get ready. Do you agree with our assessment?

Movie Review – The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Chris Pratt and the Lego Cast go to Space Camp

The Cast of Voices for The Lego Movie 2 – The Second Part

Lego Movie 2 Holiday Short – Christmas is Awesome

Movie Review – The LEGO Ninjago Movie (the least exciting Lego film for adults)

Quiz – The Lego Ninjago Movie – Fun kid action in the shared Lego movie universe

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