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The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Year: 2019
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Mike Mitchell
Writer: Phil Lord/Christopher Miller/Matthew Fogel
Cast: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Alison Brie, Will Arnett, Charlie Day, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Nick Offerman, Maya Rudolph, Will Ferrell, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade, Jason Momoa, Cobie Smulders, Ike Barinholtz, Ralph Fiennes, Will Forte, Bruce Willis

Sometimes it's obvious why a movie flops and sometimes it's down to some mysterious alchemy that's never quite explained. Such was the case with this movie, which was as well written, funny and well executed as the original film but which barely doubled its money – not nearly enough to be considered successful by modern studio standards.

It starts as soon as the original film ended, with the invading Duplo characters promising to destroy Emmet (Chris Pratt), Lucy (Elizabeth Banks) and their friends. Emmet tries to talk them out of it by building a loveheart in the name of friendship, but one of the characters eats it. Deciding the act was hostile, Lucy and the gang fight back, and Bricksburg is razed in the ensuing battle.

Years later, an apocalyptic town has been built near Brickburg's ruins, Apocalypseburg. Lucy is in her element, raging about the bitterness and disappointment of existence through gritted teeth, while Emmet is his usual chirpy self, bringing her coffee and apologising for interrupting her brooding.

Several of the residents of Apocalypseburg have gone off to search of the Duplo homeworld, but a mysterious new character arrives in a spaceship and captures Emmet, Lucy, Unikitty (Alison Brie) and Benny (Charlie Day), taking them to the Systar system and bringing them before her master, Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi (Tiffany Haddish), a shape shifting creature preparing to marry and spread joy throughout the galaxy. The object of her affections is Batman (Will Arnett), who quickly falls victim to her charming reverse psychology.

But Lucy is convinced Wa'Nabi has villainous intentions and resolves to stop the wedding, which she thinks will enable the armamageddon (not a misprint – literally 'mom's armageddon') they've all been fearing. And while Emmet is pursuing the strange emissary from the new world, his ship is damaged in an asteroid field, leading to his rescue by the dashing Rex Dangervest.

To reveal the truth about Wa'Nabi and Rex would be to spoil the payoffs of a well constructed story with some genuine surprises, so even if the amazing VFX doesn't hook you in, you'll be interested enough disentangling who everyone is and turns out to be.

With the USP of the last movie now common knowledge, the movie spends more time in the real world, with the kids from the first film and their mother (Maya Rudolph, who has an amusing bit about treading on Lego pieces). And once again, the story inside the Lego universe is a nicely portrayed expression of what's going on in the imaginations of the kids in order to impart some valuable lessons about sharing, play and imagination.

But if you're only there for the lightning fast gags both within and about the story and the meta-story (Rex Dangervest's various professions parody Chris Pratt's past roles) writers Chris Miller and Phil Lord are best at, you're more than catered for. If you liked the original there's no reason at all you won't get as much enjoyment out of this one.

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