The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

The LEGO Movie defied all expectations by being much more than just an extended commercial for the popular building blocks. It told a story that tapped directly into the sense of imagination and creativity that is a fundamental draw of the toys. The LEGO Batman Movie and, to a lesser extent, The LEGO Ninjago Movie did likewise. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is the formal sequel, and if it falls slightly victim to the typical pressure to go “bigger,” that's okay, because where the story takes us contains an important ring of truth.

The plot finds Bricksburg largely destroyed by LEGO Duplo invaders. (For the uninitiated, Duplo blocks are designed for younger kids.) A Duplo army arrives and takes hostage a few important residents of the town, including Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and Batman (Will Arnett). They're ushered off to another planet whose leader, Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi (Tiffany Haddish), professes to be benevolent. Wildstyle believes otherwise. Meanwhile, Emmet (Chris Pratt) races to rescue his friends, with the help of a new ally named Rex Dangervest.

The LEGO Movie 2 feels a little over-stuffed in the early going. Whereas the original began by exploring the idea of a whole city made of the plastic bricks and the way of life of its citizens, the sequel jumps right into the mayhem. There's a lot of stuff thrown at you very quickly – action scenes, character additions, Emmet's visions of catastrophe, and so on.

Then the film starts to settle into a vibe. As with the original, the tale of Emmet and friends is symbolic of play happening in the real world. Without giving anything away, there's a whole theme of rivalry between children of different ages. Hints are dropped along the way, then, in the final half hour, The LEGO Movie 2 digs in, providing an insightful message to young viewers about the value of getting along. The way it's carried out is touching.

Elsewhere, the sequel maintains the visual appeal of the first LEGO adventure. New worlds created for the movie are clever, especially the decimated Bricksburg, which is dubbed “Apocalypseburg” and resembles something out of Mad Max: Fury Road. Easter eggs and in-jokes abound, the most hilarious of which might be the presence of a certain A-list star who takes part in a terrific joke related to his most well-known film. Laughs come frequently in The LEGO Movie 2, thanks to a witty screenplay from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.

All the actors are once again perfectly cast, with Tiffany Haddish being a particularly nice addition. Several new songs – including "Super Cool" by Beck feat. Robyn, and the Lonely Island – give “Everything Is Awesome” a run for its money, and the animation is stellar. These elements work together to generate non-stop fun.

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part isn't quite as good as its predecessor, but it's close enough to provide a great time for LEGO enthusiasts of all ages.

Bonus Features:

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part comes to 4K UHD, Blu-ray combo pack, and DVD on May 7. A complimentary copy of the Blu-ray was provided by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment for the purposes of this review.

The bonus materials are both plentiful and entertaining. They begin with an informative audio commentary from the filmmaking team. There's additionally an “Everything Is Awesome Sing-along” that offers lyrics, trivia, games, and more.

“They Come in Pieces: Assembling The LEGO Movie 2” is a featurette that focuses on the film's voice talent. All the major actors are present to talk about their characters, why they think the sequel is a worthy follow-up to the original, and what their own childhood memories of playing with LEGO sets are.

“Emmet's Holiday Party” is a three-minute Christmas-themed short in which Emmet organizes a yuletide celebration for his friends. It packs several good laughs into a brief running time.

About twelve minutes of outtakes and deleted scenes are here, as well. Most significant among them is a subplot involving Wildstyle and General Mayhem that ends with them being chased by a Roomba. (It's too bad the sequence wasn't included in the final cut, because it's really clever.) Some of the cut scenes are fully animated, others in storyboard format.

A large amount of promotional material is also on the disc. It includes the music video for “Super Cool” by Beck featuring Robyn and The Lonely Island, interviews with a couple of the LEGO designers, and brief clips created for various online and theatrical outlets. Chief among them is a “please mute your cellphone” spot produced for cinemas.

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part looks and sounds excellent on Blu-ray. The movie is terrific, and the extras are enjoyable, so this is a good purchase for LEGO fans.

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out of four

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is rated PG for some rude humor. The running time is 1 hour and 46 minutes.