Published: 00:55, 06 February 2019
With a new LEGO exhibition opening in Kent, movie makers have timed the arrival of The Lego Movie 2 in cinemas perfectly. Here, Damon Smith reviews the film.
A lightning bolt fashioned from coloured plastic construction bricks almost strikes twice in The LEGO Movie 2.
Set five years after the award-winning first film, Mike Mitchell's briskly paced, uproarious and imaginative sequel is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland that Mad Max might begrudgingly call home, where plastic characters from the LEGO and Duplo universes live in perpetual conflict.
Scriptwriters Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, masterminds of the award-winning 2014 original, show a delightful disregard for convention as they lampoon the Marvel and DC Comics universes and swathes of pop culture.
The Twilight saga, velociraptors from Jurassic Park, show-stopping film musicals and John McClane from the Die Hard series (voiced by Bruce Willis with tongue wedged firmly in cheek) provide hearty laughs amidst expertly-staged action sequences.
When the Justice League takes flight to repel alien invaders in a breezy prologue and one of the superheroes demands, "Where's Batman?", a cohort testily responds, "He's off having a standalone adventure."
Digitally-rendered visuals, which mimic the imperfect movements of stop-motion animation, are laden with in-jokes that demand a second viewing.
Everything Is Awesome, the infectious song which temporarily supplanted Let It Go from Frozen as the soundtrack earworm of despairing parents, gets another airing alongside a new ditty, Catchy Song, which features the chorus, "This song is gonna get stuck inside your head".
I can confirm, resistance is futile.
It has been five years since Finn (Jadon Sand) allowed his younger sister Bianca (Brooklynn Prince) to play with his LEGO sets.
Consequently, Bricksburg has degenerated into the den of despair known as Apocalypseburg.
The relentless good cheer of mini-figure Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) is out of step with the prevailing gloom and Lucy (Elizabeth Banks) wishes he could be more manly and heroic.
"We have to be hardened and battle ready at all times!" she growls.
Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi (Tiffany Haddish), who presides over the rival Systar galaxy, dispatches her masked envoy General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz) to Apocalypseburg to facilitate nuptials with Batman (Will Arnett).
The caped crusader refuses to relinquish his bat-chelor status so General Mayhem kidnaps Batman plus Lucy, Unikitty (Alison Brie), MetalBeard (Nick Offerman) and Benny (Charlie Day), and spirits her hostages to her shape-shifting leader.
A distraught Emmet gives chase and encounters a swaggering and stubbled ally in the manly form of archaeologist adventurer Rex Dangervest (Pratt again).
The Lego Movie 2 comes close to replicating the boundless glee of its predecessor.
Pratt has a blast in dual roles, poking merciless fun at his Guardians Of The Galaxy and Jurassic World screen personae.
Romance with an amusingly snarky Banks comes to the boil with precision timing.
The script's core message about overcoming differences and playing together in harmony is a tad heavy-handed but in this brightly coloured, intergalactic war, subtlety is the casualty.
* The Lego Movie 2 (U) is out in cinemas in Kent from Friday, February 8.