In the last few years—since the release of the first “Lego Movie”—a lot of people have come to realize, or at least come to feel, that everything is not awesome. Like, in the world—not everything’s awesome. Nor is everything cool, even when you’re part of a team.

Indeed, in “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” untoward environmental dynamics are raining on Finn’s (Jadon Sand) Lego parade. The destabilizing element in Finn’s world is his baby-in-chief sister, who wants to play too, but  in her own way. The pre-existing characters in Lego world—which, recall, include Emmet (Chris Pratt), Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett), MetalBeard (Nick Offerman), Benny (Charlie Day) and so many others—are rightly terrified by this development.

Emmett, ever the optimist, tries to reach out to the new sister-made Lego Duplo creations. But things don’t go well. And before you know it, Bricksburg is Icksburg—a dystopian “heck”scape ala Mad Max.

Some of the more heroic Lego characters, particularly a bunch of the literal superheroes, head out to baby sister’s Lego world—i.e., the “Systar System”—to fight back, but when they don’t return, those left behind begin to lose hope.

Except for Emmet, that is. He’s still listening to his uplifting pop music, ordering super sugary coffee from a run-down coffee shack, waiving “hello” to all these mean biker dudes and terrifying robots, and, well, one could say, making the best of it.

Until his best friends get taken away by General Sweet Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz), the head of the Duplo army. It’s strange, actually. General Mayhem comes along to say that their leader, Queen Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish), wants to marry the leader of Bricksburg (now Apocalypseburg), whoever that is.

Batman thinks it’s him, but then so do a bunch of other people, so General Mayhem takes them all away. Emmet is clearly not leadership material, so he gets left behind.

But that’s when Emmet finally sounds the alarm, gets pissed, kicks it into gear, and pursues the enemy. With the help of a familiar sounding bad boy, Rex Dangervest (Chris Pratt), Emmet makes it to the Systar System where his friends are being held.

Well, but now they’re not actually being held—they seem to live there now. They appear happy and content. Almost too-content. And Queen Wa’Nabi is nice-enough, but in a creepy, I-may-actually-dismember-you sort of way.

Emmet and Rex don’t buy it. Neither does Wyldstyle. They think everyone has been brainwashed. So, it is up to them, or at least they think it is, to shake everyone back to reality, or what they think is reality.

While watching “The Lego Movie 2,” I laughed just about as much as I expected to laugh. Pretty close. Which, first and foremost, is praise for the movie, because I expected to laugh a lot. I liked “The Lego Movie” and really liked “The Lego Batman Movie.” This sequel is cut from the same, witty cloth.

Like the previous movies, “The Lego Movie 2” is funny, irreverent, fast-paced and quirky in all the right ways. Kids will love all the fast action, exploding Legos and slapstick humor, while parents will crack up at sharp puns and cultural references. So, yeah, this is a Lego movie. And that’s a good thing.

That said, I didn’t laugh more than I was expecting. And I liked “The Lego Batman Movie” better. Also, while the moral in “The Lego Movie 2” is both well-executed and timely—and I really do appreciate it addressing the not awesomeness in life—it won’t exactly blow you away with its profundity.

 

So, “The Lego Movie 2” is good, not great.  

“The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” is rated PG for mild action and rude humor.

Matt Duncan, a former Coastal View News editor, has taken physical but not emotional leave from Carpinteria to be a philosophy professor at Rhode Island College. In his free time from philosophizing, Duncan enjoys chasing his kids around, watching movies, and updating his movie review blog, duncansreeldeal.blogspot.com.

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