Home / Entertainment / The Lego Movie 2 offers a second part with more songs, lots of laughs, and a little less tune

The Lego Movie 2 offers a second part with more songs, lots of laughs, and a little less tune

Photo: Warner Bros.


Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Alison Brie, Stephanie Beatriz, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day, Richard Ayoade [1

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Theaters everywhere February 8

How long can you keep playing with little plastic building blocks? That's a question The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part raises twice, both as part of its narrative and by its very existence. Like the questions asked by so many sequels, it's something that first movie more or less answered, with his grown-up father character (played in a surprise live-action cameo by Will Ferrell) adulthood-and that's never too late to re-learn how to play, rather than simply collect.

Lego Movie 2 presses anyway, rephrasing the question without deepening it-and without the same craftiness about concealing it's parallel , our live-action story. Like Brad Bird's recent Incredibles 2 it follows up a dazzling animated original (all the more details for earning that design based on a toy line) with some big ideas that do not coincide with the same streamlined magic as its predecessor.

Also like Incredibles 2 the movie is a great deal of craft. Lego Batman movie and the more red Ninjago spin-off.) While Bird specializes in the creation of action pieces, Lego ' s Phil Lord and Chris Miller deal in jokes issued with a toddler's frantic enthusiasm but a comic's goofball commitment. Lord and Miller are only out this time, having left the director's chair to Mike Mitchell, but they still care about this toy world in the deceptive control of their abilities. The Invaders hath wrought. They spoof Mad Max and send the Justice League to their doom with the perfect throwaway jokes.

Everyfig Emmet (Chris Pratt) stays upbeat in the face of these superhero disappearances, dusty landscapes, and sewer babies, while his partner Lucy (Elizabeth Banks) broods darkly over their new status quo (though she does not seem to revel in that brooding). Lucy, along with the previous movie's supporting cast-Batman, Unikitty, pirate MetalBeard, and myopically spaceship-obsessed Benny -and spirit them away to a far-off planet.

Both plots listen to semi-mysterious strangers: a masked figure takes the kidnapped friends to meet a shape-shifting passport of bricks known as Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi (Tiffany Haddish), while Emmet encounters Rex Dangervest, sort of a hybrid of more domination Pratt roles (seriously, he's a raptor-training space cowboy). Suffice to say that the movie's second level reveals itself earlier and less elegantly than last time, which means that the joke pace starts to slow a little earlier than before, too. Even as the filmmakers make jokes about exposition, they're indulging more of it.

Happily, the jokes still land, and the plastic-looking characters still shine. Haddish's queen is a delight, and the movie, which is not quite a musical but definitely leans that way, gives her two original songs, both very funny-not least because of one involved in elaborate negging of Batman. Haddish, Brie, Banks, and Pratt, whose mock-machismo has been threatened, in Lego Lego Lego some live-action roles, to fall into garden-variety cockiness. Emmet may prove his enduring big-screen character.

Underneath the expressive voice work, songs, in-jokes, and nonsense cameos, there's some thematic to Lego Movie 2 not fully tapped. As the movie adds characters patterned after the company's Girl-Targeted "Friends" line, Lucy Chafes at the Queen's Glitter-Centric Lair in the "Sistar System," and a post-apocalyptic character Bricksburg as "Grittier" and "Cool,

Ultimately, though, the movie looks for a story that's cute but far less complicated. Toy Story sequel, Lego Movie 2 It starts to feel as if it were "poptimist" -which is to say, open-minded about how people all their fun … as long as they're not too grimdark. "In the first movie, the theme song" Everything Is Awesome "was both wonderfully catchy and an implicit critique of rigid conformity. Here, it's a gift to the world that you really should just lighten up and admit you love. The thing is, The Lego Movie 2 is lovable. It does not need to be reproduced.

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