Everything’s not awesome. The Taco Tuesday Duplo attack had a profound effect on the town of Bricksburg. Now, five years later things have changed – and they’re about to change more.

With those giant toddler blocks seeking out all that’s bright, shiny and cute, Bricksburgians realised that they needed to bleak out – and so, the grittier and downright more “heckish” Apocalypseburg was founded. Think the world of Mad Max, but blockier.

Everybody’s hardened up – even cats have mohawks – but one person has maintained a positive outlook. Yep, that would be good old Emmet, bless his little cotton (OK, it’s probably polyester) vest. However, it’s his inherent Emmetness in constructing something that isn’t brown, tan or otherwise beige that attracts a wholly new danger to Apocalypseburg – something new from space, bringing happy hearts, smiley stars, a royal wedding invite and a kidnapping. All just after our favourite construction worker (sorry Village People fans) experienced a nightmare that predicted the ominous-sounding “armarmageddon”.

It’s a lot to take in, but with Lucy (AKA Wyldstyle), Batman, Benny, Unikitty and Metalbeard abducted, Emmet has to man up – to face the mysterious stairgate and prevent armarmageddon. Luckily he has some help from intrepid space guy Rex Dangervest – and his band of merry dinosaurs. But just who is this mysterious cool dude?

The LEGO Movie 2

As with the magnificent first movie outing, The LEGO Movie 2 works on several levels. For kids, it’s a fun cartoon movie where their favourite characters – and some cool new ones – have more adventures. It’ll work perfectly like that for many adults, too. Others will dig the deeper vein to the story, though. It’s five years on from events of The LEGO Movie, and as such the two kids that it ultimately revolved around, Finn and Bianca, have grown up somewhat. For Finn, now entering his teens, there’s the appeal of the likes of Mad Max and other references that pop up throughout such as Back to the Future, The Matrix and Die Hard. As for Bianca, she’s graduated to the very pink, magenta and even more pink LEGO Friends range, characters from which are introduced. It all cleverly echoes the natural progression of the development of children and their interests in real life.

This includes the arrival of even more bouncy pop songs. After the success of the deliciously insidious Everything Is Awesome from the first outing (which was misconstrued by too many people as being meant literally, rather than cynically – a point which is snappily addressed here), we get the likes of the accurately-named Catchy Song and the Beck and Robyn collision Super Cool (which espouses the virtues of staying for the credits – nice!). There’s also a pivotal – and really slinky – track sung by Tiffany Haddish, who stars as new character Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (who’s like totally not evil…) She has a sentient ice cream for a servant. We want one too!

The LEGO Movie 2 is a somewhat darker tale than the first movie, without really plumbing the depths of Laika or some of Pixar’s recent outings

But this gives us a fab Radiohead gag that would have had us squirting milk out of our nose, had we been drinking milk at that very moment in the cinema – which would have been slightly odd. Oh well, crisis averted.

It all ultimately makes for a story that will speak to many, from that certain loss of innocence that all kids venture through to the influence of marketing and beyond to matters of sibling rivalry, being true to oneself and the need to sometimes take risks. While they didn’t direct this one, the welcome writing fingerprints of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (the first LEGO movie, the delightful Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs flicks) are everywhere, from sneaky little references to the overarching depth of emotional oomph in what many less-enlightened types will wrongly dismiss as just another cartoon movie.

Everything may not awesome, but that’s just the way the world is. However, The LEGO Movie 2 is a very worthy successor, and that IS awesome.

star-4In cinemas: March 21, 2019
Starring: The voices of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett
Directed by: Mike Mitchell