3.5.19 lego movie 2

Stars: 4.5/5

Arguably the most surprising release in the history of modern cinema was 2014’s “The Lego Movie,” a film about one of the world’s largest capitalist empires with a surprising amount of humor and heart.

So when a sequel was announced, many were holding their breath that it would continue in the vein of the former – an honest introspection on the beauty of childhood imagination instead of a blatant and gross opportunity to sell out.

Fortunately, “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” takes all the pieces of its predecessor and builds something beautiful out of it, clicking at all the right places and providing ample playtime for kids and adults alike. It’s also one of the funniest movies you’ll see in a long time.

The movie revolves again around overly-optimistic Emmet (Chris Pratt) and his gang of colorful friends as his hometown of Bricksburg is ravaged by aliens – made out of Duplo bricks and hysterically voiced by a host of child actors. The city is then turned into a post-apocalyptic wasteland reminiscent of films such as “Mad Max,” with Emmet being the only person unchanged by this fallout.

Another alien attack sees all of Emmet’s friends, including an extremely self-centered and egotistical Batman (Will Arnett), abducted and taken to the Systar System on the outer fringes of the universe. Emmet then goes on a quest to get his friends back and prove he’s more than a plastic punching bag.

Does this plot sound absurd? It’s because it is, on par with “2001: A Space Odyssey” in terms of absolutely bogus and trippy movements across the cosmos.

In one segment of the movie, Emmet receives help from Rex Dangervest, a self-professed “galaxy-defending archeologist, cowboy and raptor trainer,” who is clearly an intentional lampoon of Chris Pratt’s recent roles as a macho action star in films like “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Jurassic World.” The fact that the producers made half the film about Pratt’s conflicting personalities is genius and insane all at once.

But go further down the rabbit hole and you’ll see that the plot of “The Lego Movie 2” actually makes a lot of sense. And once the pieces snap into place – brick pun – you’ll see that the movie is a subtle statement on the power of childhood just like its predecessor. It’s astonishing to see how the film reveals its true meaning as time goes on.

Thankfully, the slapstick magic that made the first movie so critically-acclaimed has not been lost. From a war-torn version of Abraham Lincoln and Gandalf from “The Lord of the Rings” to a running gag involving Bruce Willis and an incessant amount of air vents, “The Lego Movie 2” slings jokes at a breakneck speed for the young ones in the theater and the parents who may end up laughing even more.

Of course there was never a chance the sequel would outdo the sheer brilliance and originality the first film brought to the table over five years ago. The bar was set at almost unreachable heights, but “The Lego Movie 2” comes shockingly close to replicating that splendor the first one provided.

If you’ve never heard the terms “Armamageddon,” “Syspocalypsestar,” and “Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi,” the film is worth a watch. If you’ve never seen Batman break out into a musical number, the film is worth a watch. If you ever wondered how Maya Rudolph would react to stepping on a Lego brick, the film is worth a watch.

Point is, there are few films in this world that takes so many brands and notions from the spectrum of popular culture and manages to make it work. “The Lego Movie 2” makes it look easy.

Although the message of the movie is that everything isn’t as awesome as it used to be, seeing the film is an awesome time for everyone – highly recommended.

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