It’s been five years since Emmet Brickowski and “Wyldstyle” Lucy saved Bricksburg from the threat of the Kragle, the celebrations cut short by the arrival of the aliens from the planet Duplon, seemingly primitive in their appearance but wielding a vast power which has reduced the city to a derelict wasteland now called Apocalypseburg, five years since the Justice League departed, never to return, only Batman remaining behind to brood.
Emmet still dreams of a life with Lucy in their perfect house where everything is awesome, but in truth everything is not awesome, Emmet suffering from a recurring nightmare of the last survivors who cling to Apocalypseburg falling into a pit called “storage,” a doom heralded by “Our-Mom-Ageddon.”
That day seems closer with the arrival of General Sweet Mayhem who kidnaps Lucy, Batman, spaceman Benny, pirate Metalbeard and Unikitty, an invitation they cannot refuse to the wedding of Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi, Emmet following in the company of bold adventurer Rex Dangervest, a man with a mysterious backstory he doesn’t want to talk about.
Released in 2014, The Lego Movie defied expectations to surpass the basic bricks of its construction to become a charming, optimistic, uplifting and subversive hit which was far more than the sum of its brightly-coloured post-modern plastic parts, the final act rug-pull having clarified and given context to the action of the entire film without detracting from the enjoyment.
Having been followed by both The Lego Batman Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie which built on that success in new ways, the challenge of The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is magnified and made more complicated in order to match the achievement of its predecessor, the trump cards having already been played first time around leaving the deck somewhat depleted.
Scripted by returning writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller but directed this time by Sky High‘s Mike Mitchell, in The Lego Movie 2 they have constructed a sequel every bit as manic but not quite as sharp as the original, this time the audience fully aware from the outset that what they are watching is a reflection of a wider reality, the meaning behind Emmet’s nightmare obvious to the viewer, only the events which will precipitate it – or prevent it – unclear.
Opening with a bricked-up riff on Mad Max: Fury Road to which Lucy has adapted better than the unquenchably optimistic Emmet, it is not until The Lego Movie 2 blasts off into space that it finds its place, moving through the 2001 influenced Stairgate to the new realms of the Systar system, all glitter and manufactured pop music and where, in keeping with the more childish approach of the mind behind the realm, rules are more flexible while demands are more insistent.
Chris Pratt voicing both Emmet and Rex, captain of a vessel crewed by Lego velociraptors, that double duty means the many cameos including Jason Momoa, Margot Robie and Bruce Willis as Aquaman, Harley Quinn and John McLane are overshadowed, little more than background in a film which is often too full of sound and fury for the sake of it yet which only in the second half finds focus to once again surprise with an emotional finale in both the real and the brick world.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is now on general release and also screening in 3D and IMAX