Creative duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller continue to expand their repertoire of zany, self-aware comedies with a follow-up to their smash-hit, fourth-wall-breaking, feature-length advert The Lego Movie. By now you'll know what to expect from Lord and Miller, a fast-paced, often hilarious film with characters who speak in sarcastic one-liners and have big hearts on the inside. If The Lego Movie 2 (directed by Mike Mitchell - Sky High, Trolls and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo?!?) can't quite match the original, it does at least prove an entertaining viewing experience with at least one song that will get stuck inside your head (damn you, 'Catchy Song').
Picking up five years after the original, Bricksburg has fallen into ruin due to constant attacks from terrifying Duplo aliens. Now Apocalypseburg, there is one beacon of happiness in the form of Emmett, still happy and surrounded by his friends. His cheerfulness is put to a halt by a terrifying vision of doom, and his friends are kidnapped. To save them he must go intergalactic and maybe even toughen up.
What works so well here is that The Lego Movie 2 acts as a witty parody of the status of modern blockbusters, poking fun at the need to go darker and
If there is a problem with The Lego Movie 2, it is that being the fourth in the expanding Lego cinematic universe lessens the impact it has. Certainly there is room for some odder digressions (with some truly marvellous cameos) then previous installments, but there's no reveal that has the impact of the last act of The Lego Movie. Missing that moment where the rug is pulled out from the audience, it feels more apparent that this is a branding exercise. Even if it is an extremely clever one.
The Lego franchise still has enough charm in the tank to power this sequel. It's a fast-paced hoot that sadly can never quite reach the heights of the previous installment. But, maybe it doesn't have to. The Lego Movie 2 is first and foremost a sweet, family friendly picture with a message about siblings finding a way to co-exist. It's ambitions feel more modest than the original, less a revolution and more of an evolution.