The Lego Movie, was one of those multilayered children’s films that everyone loves. It was fun for kids. It was well-written enough to be enjoyed by adults. It sold toys but it also carried an anti-capitalist message. All the pieces (sorry!) were there. And though The Lego Batman Movie that followed lost some of the absurd, self-referential humor that made the first film great, many still lauded it as the best Batman film ever made. (That isn't the highest bar to clear, as fondly as we remember Michael Keaton creaking in his upside-down sleeping apparatus.) Lego Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) is everyone's favorite Lego character, but it's hard to build a whole movie around a single gag. The original Lego Movie succeeded on the might of many running gags, and The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part returns to that premise—but that premise is beginning to feel a little worn-out.
Lego 2 picks up immediately where the first film left off: The Lego universe faces invasion from the girly Legos of Bianca (Brooklynn Prince), the younger sister of Finn (Jadon Sand). Lisp-laden challenges are uttered, glitter is thrown, and a battle of clicking plastic ensues until the toy metropolis of Bricksburg resembles a post-apocalyptic landscape.
Lego 2 takes its initial cues from Mad Max: Fury Road, with every character, especially Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), taking on tougher exteriors. Regular-guy-turned-Master-Builder Emmet (Chris Pratt) is the only one who hasn’t become a more grizzled version of himself, and his big journey here questions whether he should toughen up in the face of adversity. Along the way, we're graced by appearances from Tiffany Haddish as a shape-shifting alien queen and Maya Rudolph as Finn and Bianca’s mom, who is obviously prophesied to end the Lego universe in “Our-mom-ageddon.”
Lego 2 starts with some unsettling hate for glitter and pop music—labeled as feminine and therefore suspicious—before shifting into some teachable moments about sharing space. At the Lego 2 screening, I sat next to a family of three, and the mom sitting next to me enjoyed herself so hard that she put her arms out like she was on a rollercoaster and literally screamed with excitement during the pre-movie Regal Cinemas policy short. I sank down in my chair and SHARED THE JOY because you can't ask people not to enjoy themselves at the movies.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part squarely occupies (sorry!) a middle ground between the first The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie: The premise is played, but there's still some fun to be had, and you can see it with your kids. The bold messaging of the first film isn't present here, and the morality slides off after 15 minutes so. But it's nice that Maya Rudolph tried to teach me how to share, even though the message probably won't stick.