Movie Review: The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
Fair warning, this review will seem curmudgeonly.
If you're looking for a film to babysit the kids, the child-heavy audience I saw it with had many outbreaks of giggling.
But is there enough for the adults?
Since 2014's truly awesome original, The Lego Movie, we've had a brilliant spin-off in 2017's The Lego Batman Movie. That's a lot to live up to, and sadly, this sequel is not on the same level.
At the end of the first film, the little sister's Duplo toys invaded the city of Bricksburg.
Five years on, the invasion has caused the city to be renamed Apocalypseburg, a dystopia of wild characters, body art, body armour and brooding monologues. Those and plenty of references the core audience is too young to know about - though it is fun to consider that a generation will grow up thinking Mad Max and Planet Of The Apes ripped off ideas from Lego.
But as the action moves into space and we meet Tiffany Haddish as alien queen Watevra Wa'Nabi - who has a sinister plan to marry Batman and unite the two realms - there is a feeling that this has been a struggle to script. It's missing the fizz of its predecessors.
The meta-comedy is hit-and-miss. References to how Lucy (Elizabeth Banks) was sidelined for Emmet (Chris Pratt) to be the hero in the first film are welcome but some feel obvious or dated (like sparkly vampires).
Pratt's other role of heroic Rex Dangervest - an amalgam of all Pratt's roles since he achieved stardom - feels like a smug move.
You have to wonder if the grown-up references are too obscure for a younger audience. Sparkly vampires? Bruce Willis and Die Hard? Maybe some of these can get by just on pure silliness, but they feel like a stretch. Who knows who the (Lego figure) cameo by Ruth Bader Ginsberg is for.
While The Lego Movie's theme song Everything Is Awesome was an uplifting sugar blast of happy pop, the sequel's The Catchy Song - with the main lyric of "This song's gonna get stuck inside your head" - feels calculative. Well, with hindsight anyway. At the time, it's toe-tapping fun.
It's also saddening that the most inventive part of the film is the credits featuring what appears to be a live-action Lego contraption and a song by The Lonely Island singing about how the best part of the film are the credits.
Even without the wow moments, The Lego Movie is still good enough.
But not everything is awesome and it feels this franchise has already run its course.
MOVIE : The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
STARRING : Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Tiffany Haddish, Will Arnett, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman
DIRECTOR: Mike Mitchell
THE SKINNY: Invaders are wrecking everything, so our heroes head into space to end the threat once and for all or face Ar-mom-ageddon.