'The LEGO Movie 2 - The Second Part'
(PG / 1hr 47 mins)
Overview: The citizens of Bricksburg face a dangerous new threat when LEGO DUPLO invaders from outer space start to wreck everything in their path.
The battle to defeat the enemy and restore harmony to the LEGO universe takes Emmet, Lucy, Batman and the rest of their friends to faraway, unexplored worlds that test their courage and creativity.
Verdict: 'The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part' is the over-extended, overly self-referential and overly pleased with itself sequel to 2014's 'The Lego Movie,' which was hip and fun and irreverent in a way that made everyone a part of the joke.
That said, sorry but 'The Lego Movie 2' makes you wonder if the joke was ever funny in the first place!
It was, although that's easy to forget when wading through the self-satisfied sludge of 'Lego 2.' This is a movie for kids that strains itself to not only appeal to adults in the audience but buddy up to them to prove how cool it is.
It's the annoying neighbor child that comes over to play with the kids but really wants to hang with the parents, and strike up a conversation about what they read in Variety that day.
There are jokes about script doctors, social media influencers, "C.P.D.s" (that's shorthand for convenient plot device) and corporate licensing agreements.
You know, all the stuff kids love!
It's meta in a way that jokes aren't just made, they're made and it's explained that they're jokes, as if the deconstruction and over-explanation of those jokes makes them funny. It doesn't.
Nowhere is this more prevalent than with the Batman character, voiced again by Will Arnett. Batman was a scene-stealer in the original 'Lego Movie' and was successful enough to spin off with 2017's clever 'Lego Batman' movie.
Here, the well of jokes about Batman's darkness and narcissism is all dried up, and line after line lands with a resounding thud.
'Lego 2,' written by original 'Lego Movie' writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and directed by Mike Mitchell ('Trolls'), unfolds five years after the events of the original movie.
The last film ended with the revelation that the film's universe was all in the head of Finn (Jadon Sand), a young child using his imagination to help cope with his overworked father (Will Ferrell).
Ergo, the first 'Lego' movie was like rediscovering your favorite childhood toy had been brought to life by the smartest people in the room.
However, 'Lego 2' is like stepping on a Lego. And anyone who's ever had the misfortune of stepping on a Lego knows that feeling is anything but awesome!