Continuing the irreverent, pop-culture saturated craziness of the first movie, Emmet, Wildstyle and all your favourites from “The Lego Movie” are back picking up mere moments from the end of the first movie as the Duplo aliens attack.
With the previously harmonious world of Bricksburg transformed into the post-apocalyptic wasteland Apocalypseburg by the repeated invasions of the Duplo army, life has become dark and edgy and tougher for most of the residents. But when the latest invasion force, led by General Sweet Mayhem, captures Batman, Wildstyle, Benny, MetalBeard, and Unikitty, it’s up to Emmet to toughen up and become the hero he thinks Wildstyle wants him to be and avoid the threat of Our-Mom-Ageddon.
The metatextual flourish that crowned the first movie becomes something of a distracting liability this time around, as you find yourself constantly trying to read the ongoing adventures for their real-world subtext. Thankfully it’s pretty artfully done with the developments of Bricksburg’s population neatly mimicking the early teenage obsessions of darkness and angst in storytelling.
Admittedly the Lego Batman stuff feels a little more worn than it might otherwise have been thanks to “The Lego Batman Movie”, with this film covering much the same jokes as his solo outing and there’s a slight air of Lego fatigue thanks to the lacklustre “Lego Ninjago” movie. Still, there’s wit to spare with appearances aplenty by DC heroes (and an amusing reference to the conspicuous absence of Marvel heroes) and even cameos from Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Bruce Willis (as himself). and there’s a nice line about Marvel not returning their calls when wave after wave of superheroes disappear while trying to combat the Systar menace. There are also more – and better – songs this time around with Tiffy Hadish’s Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi getting not one but two slyly hilarious songs and Lonely Island are back too with the brilliant end credits song “Super Cool”.
Overall, it’s a slightly darker tale than the bright and breezy first movei given it’s tackling Finn (Jadon Sand) growing up and away from childish things while his sister just wants to play Lego with him. As he teeters on the brink of following in the footsteps of his father from the first film, the adventure reminds him that just because it’s impossible for everything to be awesome all the time, that’s no reason not to keep that spark of imagination and optimism alive which, it turns out, is a pretty important message for all of us out here in the real world.