Five years after optimistic Everyman Emmet (voice of Chris Pratt) defied expectations by becoming a Master Builder and winning the heart of Lucy (voice of Elizabeth Banks) his heroics are called upon once again when LEGO DUPLO invaders from outer space make everything far less than awesome by reducing Bricksburg to rubble in “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part.”
Although the helming reins have been picked up by “Trolls’” Mike Mitchell, original filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have written this followup which, while beginning in media res with all kinds of action, still seems to huff and puff for quite some time to pick up steam. With Bricksburg redubbed Apocalypseburg and the toddler version DUPLO LEGOs destroying rebuilding efforts with childish giggles, Emmet is still upbeat, thinking he can escape the mayhem with the new house he’s constructed for himself and Lucy.
But another form of mayhem, General Mayhem (voice of Stephanie Beatriz), stops him in his tracks by kidnapping Lucy, LEGO Batman (voice of Will Arnett), Unikitty (voice of Alison Brie), MetalBeard (voice of Nick Offerman) and Spaceman Benny (voice of Charlie Day) and whisking them off to her home planet and Queen Wahtevra Wa’Nabi (voice of Tiffany Haddish) who is planning a matrimonial ceremony involving one very alarmed ‘Man of Bats.’ While her fellow victims are seduced by the ‘Catchy Song,’ which promises to ‘get stuck inside your head,’ Lucy dons earphones and escapes into ventilation ducts (hello Bruce Willis!). Meanwhile Emmet takes off in his converted house, teaming up with his intrepid alter ego space cowboy Rex Dangervest (also voiced by Pratt) mid asteroid field for a daring rescue mission to avert Armamageddon (yes ArMAMAgeddon).
It’s difficult not to feel that initially, at least, “LEGO 2” is going through the motions. The dialogue just doesn’t achieve the level of fast-paced wit of the original. Instead, look to song lyrics that have Batman extolling his virtues from his ‘Val Kilmer lips’ to his ‘Adam West tights’ and Spaceman Benny suddenly ‘getting’ Radiohead. Where the film really comes alive is with its thematic connection to the real world where Finn (Jadon Sand) isn’t happy that little sister Bianca (“The Florida Project’s” Brooklynn Prince) has been admitted into his play space and Mom (Maya Rudolph) is threatening LEGO banishment to storage bins. Bianca’s influence is felt not only through the DUPLO LEGOs, but in characters like Superman (voice of Channing Tatum), Aquaman (voice of Jason Momoa) and Green Lantern (voice of Jonah Hill) reveling in their new coating of glitter and in the elaborate wedding preparations for the shape shifting Queen and her duped suitor (Wahtevra Wa’Nabi (say it slowly) expertly uses reverse psychology by swooning over Superman). Emmet alter ego Rex Dangervest’s insertion into the plot is awkward, but his flashy self advertisements and crew of referentially and amusingly named velociraptors are fun.
“The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” fails to astound as much as the original with its LEGO brick ocean waves and rapid-fire funny, but its real world parallels pay off splendidly.
Robin did not see this film.
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