Nobody really saw “The Lego Movie” coming.
In what at first glance appeared to be shameless corporate cross-promotion designed to get kids to buy more toys, instead turned out to be a clever, heartwarming pop-culture mashup extolling the power of imagination with a super-catchy theme song to boot.
The wild success of “The Lego Movie” meant we could see “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” coming from a mile away. But, even though the novelty has worn off and the surprises don’t feel quite as surprising this time around, there is some fun new territory to explore and good times to be had.
Picking up right where “The Lego Movie” left off, invaders from the planet Duplo have arrived and begin wrecking everything faster than our master-builders can put them back together.
A dystopian, edgier, and “more grownup” world has emerged and, while most of the residents of Lego land adapt to this new world filled with adolescent angst, our hero Emmet (Chris Pratt) is as optimistic and cheery as ever.
Of course, that all changes when his best friends Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett), MetalBeard (Nick Offerman), and Spaceman Benny (Charlie Day) are abducted by the forces of Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish) of the Sis Tar Galaxy. OK, so maybe the allusions are a little more on the nose this time around.
Emmet builds a spaceship to go retrieve his friends, but the trip is more dangerous than he anticipated and he winds up being saved by super-stud Rex Dangervest (Chris Pratt again, but this time doing his best Kurt Russell impersonation), an overconfident explorer in a ship crewed by velociraptors (if that’s not cool, I don’t know what is).
Writers/directors of the first film Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have taken a step back, just penning the screenplay this time around while handing the directing duties over to Mike Mitchell of “Trolls” fame.
Lord and Miller probably could be accused of going back to the same well a little too often this time around (complete with another catchy song with the chorus “This song’s gonna get stuck inside your head!”), but once the movie hits its stride in the second half, there’s enough magic and imagination at play to make the new adventure more worthwhile.
Everything’s still pretty awesome and “The Lego Movie 2” certainly backs that high-bar up.
“The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” is rated PG for some rude humor.