Gender Roles – Women
Gender Roles – Men
Self-Esteem and Body Image
Room for Improvement:
Gender Roles - Women: 5 Stars
WyldStyle is an artist and a rebel. She’s someone who sees beyond the petty distractions of day to day life and understands the true nature of the power structure that surrounds her. She isn’t easily manipulated or confused by pop culture. She believes in freedom and creativity and she’s dedicated to fighting to keep them in her world. Perhaps more importantly, she doesn’t let her own ambitions interfere with her cause. She comes extremely close to finding the “piece of resistance” and becoming the hero of the Lego universe, but she doesn’t let jealousy or pride stop her from saving and supporting Emmett when he becomes “the Special” instead of her. She certainly has her doubts about him from time to time, but she keeps a broader perspective, understanding that the fight with Lord Business isn’t about building up her own ego, but about what is best for the Lego community.
Gender Roles - Men: 5 Stars (Spoilers)
Emmett is a perfect example of the nice guy that no one notices. He has valuable gifts to offer the world, but he is under appreciated - partly because he doesn’t exaggerate his accomplishments or diminish others. He treats everyone around him with kindness and respect. It’s likely no one would have given him the time of day if he hadn’t accidentally stumbled upon the “piece of resistance” and become “the Special.” Even then, he’s derided for his lack of imagination and useless ideas. But with the help of the prophecy and the encouragement of the Master Builders, Emmett finds the confidence and drive to come up with a daring plan, and ultimately sacrifices himself for the sake of saving the Lego universe. And Emmett doesn’t just give up his life, he also sacrifices his position as “the Special” to give WyldStyle the chance to be the hero she’s always wanted to be.
Self-Esteem and Body Image: 4 Stars
The Lego Movie easily avoids any unnecessary distractions based on body type since all of the characters have the same square, bendable bodies. The film does, however, make its small statements about the power of attraction. Emmett is clearly smitten with WyldStyle the moment he sees her. He even ignores her explanation about Lord Business and the fate of the Lego universe because he’s distracted by her overwhelming beauty. Most of these scenes are simple and funny and shouldn’t be taken as anything more than that. At the end of the day, Emmett is drawn to her courage and her heart, more than her plastic ponytail.
Plot: 3 Stars (Spoilers)
WyldStyle is already a heroic member of the rebellion against Lord Business when the movie begins. She not only leads Emmett to the very spot where the “piece of resistance” is buried, but she also saves him from BadCop on more than one occasion. She comes to his rescue by building odd vehicles and flying machines out of the spare pieces in the alleyways and buildings that surround them. It’s true that she isn’t “the Special” that’s prophesied to save the Lego universe, but she plays an important role in teaching him to believe in his own talents and abilities. And she does eventually have her own moment of glory, when Emmett disappears and the remaining Master Builders look to her for guidance. She rises to the occasion, inspiring the rest of the diverse Lego world to believe in themselves and stand up to the evil Lord Business.
Character Development: 3.5 Stars (Spoilers)
The Lego Movie is a fast paced film with more action than drama, and not a lot of attention is spent on individual characters. As a result, we don’t know much about WyldStyle, but we are given some small clues as to who she is. We know, for example, that she’s adopted a series of false names during her training to become a Master Builder, trying on different identities that might inspire others or give her a larger sense of importance. She’s proud of her talents and even admits that they give her some sense of superiority over the Lego characters who simply follow the instructions and never question authority. But Emmett shows her the value in being ordinary, and convinces her that she doesn’t have to strive to be more than who she is. She isn’t so set in her ways that she isn’t open to the lesson, and eventually finds the security with Emmett to just be Lucy again.
Love: 2.5 Stars
Emmett and WyldStyle fall in love amidst a whirlwind rebellion to save the Lego universe. There isn’t much opportunity for intimate moments and there isn’t enough time for deep connections to develop. But there is a believable bond that grows between them. Their relationship isn’t meant to be a supernatural love, and in fact, takes a back seat to larger issues like saving the universe, embracing freedom and imagination, and learning to believe in yourself. So while the romance is mostly trite and superficial, it’s a sweet and safe addition to an otherwise endearing story.
Family: 3 Stars (Spoilers)
There are very few family interactions in the Lego Movie, but the film does include one memorable moment at the very end. The mysterious man upstairs finally agrees to unglue the Lego pieces and allow his son to play indiscriminately with the multiple universes he’s created. But at the same time, he makes a sudden decision that the boy’s younger sister will also be allowed to play in the basement, unleashing her own imagination on the make-believe world that her brother has created. Part of the beauty of this moment is that neither age, nor gender are a factor in the father’s decision. He simply makes sure that he gives his daughter the same opportunities to grow and play.
Friendship: 3 Stars
The friendships in the Lego Movie are neither deep nor essential, but it is still encouraging to note that the assembly of Master Builders contains women like WyldStyle, Wonder Woman, Cleopatra and even UniKitty. Most of them aren’t given much screen time or dialogue, but they universally display the same talents and status as the male Master Builders.