Lego Movie 2

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The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

*** ½ out of five stars

After half a decade, Emmet the Master Builder and his fellow toy brick friends are back for another cinematic odyssey. Will everything still be awesome?

Five years ago, Duplo creatures from the Systar system invaded Bricksburg. The resulting attacks resulted in the city renaming itself Apocalypseburg and adopting a Mad Max-like motif and attitude. Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) retains his upbeat, optimistic view on life, much to the dismay of his love interest Lucy/Wyldstyle (voiced by Elizabeth Banks). One day, the Duplo General Sweet Mayhem (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz) comes to Apocalypseburg, proclaiming that her ruler, Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi (voiced by Tiffany Haddish), wants to marry the city’s leader. Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) fits the bill, and he, along with Lucy, Benny the Spaceman (voiced by Charlie Day), MetalBeard (voiced by Nick Offerman) and Unikitty (Alison Brie) are whisked away to the Systar system.

Emmet teams with the multitalented adventurer Rex Dangervest (also voiced by Pratt) to rescue his friends. Emmet is under the impression that if Batman and Watevra Wa'Nabi are wed it will cause the dreaded “Armamageddon” that he has foreseen in his dreams. But not everything may be as it seems…

When The Lego Movie premiered five years ago, it was unbelievably new and different. Its sequel suffers from the problem that nearly all sequels do – the second go-around will feel predictable and stale compared to the first. This is compounded by the fact that we have received two spin-off Lego movies in the intervening years (the much-acclaimed Lego Batman Movie and the more lukewarmly-received Lego Ninjago Movie), causing further saturation of the toy bricks.

Lego Movie 2 still has its charms, however. The returning characters are as entertaining as ever, and the new characters such as Mayhem, Watevra Wa'Nabi and her banana court jester Banarnar (voiced by Ben Schwartz) add to the fun.

The film also touches on some rather deep themes. It would spoil the film to fully explain how these themes fit into the movie’s story, but I will attempt to analyze its message nonetheless. The film examines how we balance cynicism and optimism in our worldviews as we grow up. Younger children typically have a sunnier, happy-go-lucky view on things, and this is how Emmet behaves at the start of the film. During our teenage years, we all go through periods of angst and pessimism, which describes the demeanor of both Lucy initially and certain other characters later. The film ultimately shows that true maturity involves balancing the good and bad in life. While far from being the most original moral, this is nonetheless invaluable advice not only to children but people of all ages.

The Lego Movie 2 isn’t the groundbreaker that its predecessor was, but if you want to see more adventures with Emmet and friends, you’ll most likely find something to enjoy here. Just be careful not to step on any wayward toy bricks on your way to the theater.

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