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The Lego Movie 2: awesome again

Like the typical big bin of Lego blocks found in your childhood home, “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” pieces together a film of various plot points and narrative beats to form a colorful story fit for a child. Following the success of  “The Lego Movie,” a whole slew of similarly Lego-styled animated films were slated. The newly released film is a direct sequel to the 2014 original, following the established plot just moments after the ending. The next phase of the story takes our protagonists five years into the future.

This year’s sequel first and foremost successfully serves as a fun and entertaining film for the family. Just as visually appealing as the other films in the series, “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” continues the specific animation style that is both nostalgic for those who grew up on Legos and eye-opening for those who still can.

This specific entry delivers on the promise of action and humor almost too much. Action is spread throughout the film hitting bigger and bigger strides than the first film. Like the original, this movie does not short on its comedic fair. In its fully realized form, the movie cranks out jokes about anything ranging from silly, kid friendly jokes to self-aware references.

Continuing the success of the first film’s original soundtrack which received an Oscar nomination for best-original song for “Everything is Awesome,” this year’s sequel is filled with music numbers that fit into the current pop music landscape. The addictive emphatic rhythms and repetitive shouting of “Catchy Song (This Song’s Gonna Get Stuck Inside Your Head)” ring in the ears of audience members longer than they would like.

The plot, carried over from the first film, plays in a realm dedicated to a child’s imagination. It also develops in maturity with the characters themselves. Finn, the real-world creator of the Lego-world, transitions Bricksburg into a post-apocalyptic hellscape following the invasion of the Duplo from the last film. This post-apocalyptic landscape, dubbed Apocalypseberg, is similar to the worlds of “The Walking Dead” and “Mad Max,” showing properties a boy like Finn may have discovered in the five year gap from the last film.

Our main protagonist Emmet Brickowski has not changed much within the five year time jump. On the quest to save his friends, supposedly kidnapped by Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi, Emmet encounters the daring Rex Dangervest, a heroic macho-man with curiously familiar traits. Rex’s familiar voice, also voiced by Chris Pratt, reveals to the attentive audience that Rex is a future timeline version of Emmet with bad intentions. This sci-fi plot point, though somewhat out of context to the greater narrative, is perfectly fitted as part of the charm of the film. 

As later revealed in the film, the Duplo invaders are creations of Finn’s younger sister Bianca who merely wants to create peace between their two worlds. The violent and destructive notions Rex demands counters the loving and connecting themes the Duplo leader Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi and General Sweet Mayhem pose. The two opposing themes are literalized when Finn and Bianca clash between each other for playtime with the Legos, leading to the true villain: Armamageddon.

Just as the first film sees Finn and Bianca’s father as the film’s antagonist, the sequel sees their mother as the threat they must both combine powers to defeat. Through the Lego story within, Emmet must overcome the darkness of Rex and embrace the love of the Duplo to avoid Armamageddon. In the real-life story, Finn and Bianca must learn to share and enjoy the Legos together rather than fight over them.

The story ends itself in a nicely wrapped bow with the metaphorical and literal struggle solved and crisis averted. Though overt, the film does a good job in having a good time with both the audience and itself. The bigger story is what we can relate to, the Lego story is what we get to enjoy and it is all awesome.