Everything is not quite awesome in ‘Lego Movie 2’


Elizabeth Banks and Chris Pratt in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)

It’s not hard to forget 2014’s breakout hit, “The Lego Movie,” especially if you might still have the theme song “Everything is Awesome” ringing in your head. Well, Emmet the minifigure and the gang are back in a new rollicking adventure, “The Lego Movie 2” directed by Mike Mitchell.

“The Lego Movie 2” is set in a crumbling Bricksburg, once a perfectly designed metropolis where everything was, indeed, awesome. Now, not so much. Duplo Legos have taken over, rendering the Lego city into an apocalyptic, “Mad Max”-esque nightmare. Still, Emmet’s (Chris Pratt) chipper attitude and naivete remain buoyant as always despite the depressing turn of events.

When Emmet’s “special best friend”  Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Unikitty (Alison Brie) and Lego Batman (Will Arnet) are kidnapped by a mysterious General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz), Emmet must face the ruler of the Duplo kingdom, Queen Watevra Wa’nabi (Tiffany Hadish) to get his friends back. It’s a little more complicated after that, but not much more exciting.

As in the first installment, the plastic characters’ lives depend on the actions of the people who own them and in this story a feuding brother and sister are at the root of the Lego people’s problem. At the end of the day, the story is resolved through surprising plot twists and lots of singing.

For all of this potential, it’s hard to really love this movie. That’s not to say that it’s bad, but it definitely lacks some of the charm of the original with a plot that just can’t quite justify an hour-and-a-half of screentime.

Instead, “Lego Movie 2” makes up for its lackluster story with relentless (and mostly funny) joking, which to be fair, is really the big draw for these films.

The writers, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, succeed in writing jokes that resound with both older and younger audiences. Countless pop-culture references keep older members of the audience entertained, but there are still enough gags and silliness to entertain the true target demographic: kids.

Another feature that sets “The Lego Movie 2” apart from other animated films of today is its stellar animation. The animators show off their creativity by creating entire worlds modeled after real-life plastic bricks and the design of the art is totally unique to the field of animation.

The soundtrack is full of catchy, bubbly hits that are just aching to become the next “Everything is Awesome” and the bright colors and designs will keep you entertained through the last scene. There’s even a song in the credits that’s all about how great the credits are.

At the end of the day, “Lego Movie 2” is still fun to watch. The jokes are expectedly hilarious, and there’s plenty of satirizing and skewering of pop-culture for all age groups, but this film could have been so much more. Maybe one day, the franchise will return to a time when everything is awesome once again.