By Kaylee Brewster
Three out of Four
If “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” doesn’t quite reach the level of adoration that “The Lego Movie” did, it’s more likely because the bar was set so high for a sequel than because of any failings on its part.
As the story opens five years after “The Lego Movie,” everything is not awesome in “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.” The land has been invaded by Duplos (big Lego-like building blocks for toddlers), leaving the former city a wasteland. Everyone is now dark and brooding except Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), who still greets everyone — even the sewer babies — with a smile every morning.
Then one day a new visitor arrives: General Mayhem (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz) who kidnaps Lucy (voiced by Elizabeth Banks), along with the other heroes from the first film: Batman (voiced by Will Arnett), Unikitty (voiced by Alison Brie), MetalBeard (voiced by Nick Offerman) and Benny (voiced by Charlie Day). Emmet plans a rescue mission and along the way meets Rex Dangervest (also voiced by Pratt). Together, Emmet and Rex must save the others kidnapees from General Mayhem and Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (voiced by Tiffany Haddish) and stop their nefarious plan.
Much like the first film, the second combines Legos and pop culture for a movie that all ages can enjoy.
Kids will like the easy-to-follow plot: kidnapping and rescue mission. They’ll also approve of the jokes, including a banana that is always tripping on itself. Kids who play with Legos can keep an eye out for figures and pieces they recognize.
Older audience members will catch on to some of the more nuanced humor, including references to films like “Die Hard” and the DC, Marvel and “Mad Max” franchises. They’ll also appreciate how the film pokes fun at its own poorly explained plot devices, such as vague descriptions about how Rex’s tools work.
The animation will dazzle all. Legos are used not only for characters and set design, but to add brick-like elements to smoke from explosions and dust from crumbled buildings. Color schemes show differences between various cities.
“The Lego Movie 2” improves on one area of the first film: music. “The Lego Movie” gave us the Academy Award-nominated song “Everything is Awesome.” It’s back in the second film with inventive remixes, along with new songs with catchy beats and humorous lyrics. For example, “Catchy Song” includes the line, “This song is gonna get stuck inside your head.” And it does exactly that.
Really, the only weakness of “The Lego Movie 2” is that the plot and characters were so well-developed in the first film that the sequel has a bit of a “been there, done that” feel. But if you avoid comparisons, everything is awesome in “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.”