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– by Fox Troilo

 

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is the continuing story of Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) and his friends as they face a new threat to their world—the inhabitants of the planet Duplo from the Systar System have come to wreck all they hold dear. For five years the citizens of Bricksburg hold the Systar System invaders off, but when they capture Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett), MetalBeard (Nick Offerman), Unikitty (Allison Brie), and Benny (Charlie Day), Emmet finds himself on a brand-new adventure across space to save his friends and uncover the plans of Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi (Tiffany Haddish).

What works in The Second Part is its universal entertainment factor and the strong messages it conveys. Sequels, especially to highly acclaimed films such as The Lego Movie, always have an incredibly difficult time satisfying audiences at the level of their predecessors. Often it is an attempt to recreate lightning in a bottle to meet or exceed what might be considered unreasonably high expectations. Such is the case with The Lego Movie 2 which is a fantastically great film that just happens to stand in the shadow of an excellent film. With that context, this follow-up retains a great deal of the delightful humor of the first movie with jokes and bits that will absolutely appeal to all ages. The Second Part is gleefully self-aware of its existence and uses that to poke fun of itself as well as build in new ways and directions which more often than not will make audiences smile and play along.

RELATED: New TV Spot For The Lego Movie 2 Showcases Margot Robbie As Harley Quinn

The Lego Movie had a deep unexpected soulful quality at its core about identity, creativity, and perspective. The Second Part not only repeats the magic trick, but arguably outshines its predecessor on this characteristic—a particularly impressive feat. Parents should take great comfort in knowing that The Second Part puts forth a myriad of positive themes and lessons that are both complex and challenging without ever preaching. Once again, there’s a real heart at the center of this film that will leave everyone feeling awesome.

While The Second Part is a worthwhile enjoyable sequel, audiences may find that it takes a while to get going. The first act and a half are bit mundane and the jokes fall a little flat. Some may worry that the magic is gone but rest assured that The Second Part picks up considerable steam as it unfolds. In fact, it’s quite possible that people will enjoy this film more on a second viewing once they know the entire story as early moments and jokes might seem cleverer with context. The only other slight critique is that several of the minor characters (MetalBeard, Unikitty, and Benny) have far less to do this time around, but this is easily balanced out by putting the spotlight on the Systar System additions to the cast.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is a strong example of what a sequel should be—expands the universe, takes some risks with genre, but doesn’t forget the elements that make the franchise shine: joy and laughter. While it would be impossible to match the levels of the first film, The Second Part is a must-see for all families.

Recommended if you enjoyed: The Lego Movie, The Lego Batman Film, Ralph Breaks the Internet

FINAL GRADE: A

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Fox serves as an entertainment journalist in the Washington, D.C. When not covering cinematic news for LRM, he critiques films as a member of the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association. Fox also has a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Strategy from Indiana University Bloomington.