Philosophy In The Lego Movie

I recently got done rewatching “The Lego Movie”. When you get past the fact that it’s a movie that literally advertises the product it’s about, it’s a pretty good movie. It’s also full of satire and philosophy. I could write a marxist analysis on this movie. To be honest though, I’m much more interested in the metaphysical implications. 



(If you haven’t watched it yet, I suggest you do. It’s a good movie and I’d like to hear your take on it.)


Presumptive Reality and Legos

Children’s movies don’t often promote the idea that nothing inherently matters. That there’s not really any meaning to life. That the reality around us is merely constructed by our presumptions of it. That’s exactly what “The Lego Movie” does though. Among the overly-obvious product placement, the movie asks and answers one simple question: “Is there purpose to anything?” To which the film answers, “No.”

Bricksburg is the stand-in for any modern city in society. Every citizen lives their life by a set of rules: the instructions. This symbolizes the underlying norms in society that establish what people should do, how they should behave, and how they should interact with others. The average person doesn’t think about what they do and why they do it. They simply live based on a set of presumptions that have been conditionally learned.

The “MasterBuilders” are a group of people who have decided not to accept reality as it seems. They understand that reality is what people make of it. They are active nihilists, people seeking to create meaning out of a meaningless existence. They see the world in a much different way as the average citizen. They see it for what it could be rather than what it already is. A trashcan could be the base to create a motorcycle; a submarine could be created out of random pieces laying around; etc…


“The Man Upstairs” Is Dead

The plot begins and is pushed along by the premise of a “prophecy”, which acts as purpose for the main characters. The protagonist, Emmet is supposedly “the Special”, who is meant to be the person to put a cap on the end of the world… literally. Emmet finds comfort in his newfound purpose, as it simply replaces his old one.

Towards the end of the movie, it’s discovered that the “prophecy” was simply made up by Vitruvius all along. This fact, however, didn’t stop Emmet from succeeding at what his perceived purpose was. While there was no inherent meaning or purpose to Emmet’s existence, Emmet created his own. Ultimately, that’s all anyone can do.

At one point, Emmet falls through the reality he knows into one that is completely different: our reality. He discovers something that is conceptually very terrifying. That the Lego equivalent of a god neither knows about their sentience or cares to find out. In this respect, to Emmet, “The Man Upstairs”, as he thought of him, is dead.


So there’s my take on the philosophy in “The Lego Movie”. I looked it up and was surprised that Wisecrack hadn’t made a video about this. They have, however, created a “Hidden Meaning” video on it which I think you should check out:

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