By M. V. Moorhead
Whenever the subject of Legos comes up, as it does more and more frequently in popular movie reviewing, I feel the need to mention that I never had Legos as a kid, or particularly wanted them. Nor have I played with them as an adult. Even so, I’ve enjoyed all of the Lego movies I’ve seen.
2017’s The Lego Batman Movie was my favorite, an on-the-money spoof of torturous, “dark” superhero flicks. But 2014’s original The Lego Movie was a charming, funny, unpretentious meditation on conformity versus individualism.
Now we get the sequel to that film, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, directed by Mike Mitchell from a script by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Matthew Fogel, and set, appropriately, five years after the events of The Lego Movie.
The locale, once again, is the vast Lego metropolis of Bricksburg. The name has since been changed to “Apocalypseburg,” however, after an invasion of cutesy but lethal aliens has reduced the town to dystopian wreckage. Even so, our hero Emmet (Chris Pratt) remains as upbeat and cheerful as ever.
When aliens abduct Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), Lego Batman (Will Arnett), and several of Emmet’s other friends, taking them to the distant “Systar System,” Emmet follows, intent on rescuing them. Along the way, he meets Rex (also Pratt), a tough guy space mercenary—with a crew of dinosaurs!—who helps him summon reserves of gritty resolve.
This is only the beginning of the plot’s twists and turns. Like its predecessor, Lego Movie 2 is a dense and complex piece of storytelling. It’s almost—though maybe not quite—as seamlessly thought through as the original, yet it flies along with effortless speed and precision.
As before, much of the comedy derives from the limited range of motion available to Lego figures, and there were gags that went over my head. I don’t know why, for instance, sequences of numbers appear onscreen when the characters are building some new contraption, but I’m guessing this involves the technical side of Lego-building.
There are also endless, and amusing, references to pop culture classics starting with Planet of the Apes and 2001 and carrying on throughJurassic Park and the Lord of the Rings movies up to the most current industry gossip.
The voice cast also helps, from Pratt’s openhearted sweetness as Emmet and his jaunty Kurt Russell- like swagger as Rex, to the tough but soulful heroine of Banks to Arnett’s growl as Batman.
Most hilarious here is Tiffany Haddish as Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi of the Systar System; her blossoming romance with Batman made me feel protective of both characters.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is rated PG and plays at Harkins Tempe Marketplace, Chandler Fashion Center, Arizona Mills and many other multiplexes Valleywide.