The difference between “The Lego Movie” and “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” is the distance between “love” and “like.”
Because although it has a delightful DIY feel, more of “This is how kids with imagination PLAY with Legos,” to its framework — a Lego-crazed boy is forced by his parents to share the toys and play with his little sister — the story slapped together under that banner runs out of gas and good gags long before the blocks snap together to spell “The End.”
We see the smudges and finger-prints on the Lego Duplo (aimed at the littlest kids) blocks, which are weird, illogical creations from that a toddler or pre-schooler might gurgle up.
The best lines are voiced by such a tyke, a villain threatened with her big brother’s characters snapping together laser cannons to take her down.
“I EAT lazubs!”
Still, there’s a lot for (allegedly) adult fans to giggle at, as the kid (Jadon Sand) has gotten over his “Everything is Awesome” phase and moved into pre-fanboy “Everything’s NOT Awesome” and turned “darker, broodier, Bale-iest.”
His Lego “Bricksburg” has morphed into “Apocalypse Burg,” complete with ruins and the half-melted Statue of Liberty from “Planet of the Apes.”
It’s “a heckish place to live” for everybody but orange-vested construction worker Emmet (Chris Pratt), who keeps a song in his heart and a Lego picket-fenced house ready for two-fisted heroine WildStyle, aka Lucy (Elizabeth Banks).
But there’s a new threat, Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi and her empowered aide, General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz), a new threat to “The World” as the kids playing with these toys see it.
Batman (Will Arnett) may be “off having a separate, stand-alone adventure” for much of the movie “and Marvel not taking our calls.” When he comes back he may have to MARRY the Queen if he can’t fend off General Mayhem’s assaults.
“EAT it and weep! Keep eating and weeping!”
Emmet? He’s too naive and wimpy to be much help, prompting WildStyle and new arrival Rex Dangervest to try butching Emmet up before the Final Confrontation.
I loved the way we see Lego piece ID numbers floating around the parts used as the heroes assemble assorted Mad Max-style getaway vehicles, the cute Bruce Willis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg cameos and Will Arnett’s peerless way with a funny line.
“I carry my tortured past in my chiseled gluts.”
Haddish sings and has the occasional one-liner that lands.
“I’m just not INTO Gotham City guys!”
The world-ending calamity that this quest contrived by feuding siblings is meant to avoid? “OurMom-egeddon.”
The teachable moment message — Everything ISN’T awesome, but learn to persist (and it is implied, ‘Resist’) — is…fine.
The quest itself is a tad dull and repetitive, the one-liners dry up and the several new tunes fail to delight.
And as much as I’d love to say this one sticks in my head the way it’s musical show-stopper, “This Song’s Gonna Get Stuck Inside Your Head” is supposed to, it just doesn’t.
MPAA Rating: PG for some rude humor
Cast: Maya Rudolph, Will Ferrell and the voices of Elizabeth Banks, Chris Pratt, Will Arnett and Tiffany Haddish.
Credits: Directed by Mike Mitchell, script by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. A Warner Animation release.
Running time: 1:45