Perfect fit: 'The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part' is nearly as good as the first

(L-R) Lucy/Wyldstyle (ELIZABETH BANKS) and Emmet (CHRIS PRATT) in a scene from the animated adventure "The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part," from Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Animation Group, in association with LEGO System A/S, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (Photo: Warner Bros)

"The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part"
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Mike Mitchell
Writers: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Matthew Fogel
Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish
Genre: Animation, Comedy
Rated: PG for some rude humor

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: Bricksburg has been overrun by an alien invasion force of Duplo toys forcing the inhabitants of the city to flee to a settlement known as Apocalypseburg. There we find our hero, Master Builder Emmet.

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Review: "The LEGO Movie" was a massive critical and financial success that seemed to come out of nowhere in February of 2014. Needless to say, expectations for "The LEGO 2: The Second Part" were always going to be considerably higher. Thankfully, "The Second Part" is a good film. It takes twenty or thirty minutes to find its course as essentially two children with entirely different ideas as to where the story should go play tug of war with the plot, but once it gets its foundation built the rest of the film falls into place. Its not the most effective storytelling, but it does accurately recreate the chaos that was made in the early 1980s in an unfinished basement where my friend Jeff and I routinely saved the world (you're welcome) or brought about its demise (sorry about that). We'd both aggressively assert our desire to by the hero of the story, never intentionally playing the villain's role. And yet, someone always became the bad guy.

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"The Second Part" slyly deconstructs the different ways that boys and girls play with their toys and the stories and worlds that they create with their imaginations. It's not nearly as heartfelt as the Toy Story franchise, but there's more going on here than you might initially believe. Still, the story does somewhat suffer in that it doesn't have the massive twist that "The LEGO Movie" had in its final act. That's not to say there isn't a twist, its just not as surprising or effective. In fact, there is a sense of predictability that holds the film back. We aren't seeing many of the characters for the first time. So, while it is amusing to see Green Lantern treated like the odd man out of the Justice League, it doesn't feel nearly as magical. The novelty of seeing Gandalf and Unikitty existing in the same world isn't nearly as thrilling. It never was going to be.

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I know that I'm overthinking this. Most people want to know if it is enjoyable. They aren't nearly as interested in finding deeper meaning in a film based on little plastic blocks and figures. To that end, I can confirm that "The Second Part" is amusing. It will appeal to young and old alike. It tells a familiar story, but is different enough from the original film that it doesn't feel redundant as it offers a different perspective.

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On the technical front, there is more texture in the animation. The first film looked fantastic. "The Second Part" looks substantially better. The new songs aren't all that different from the old songs, but they serve their purpose. There's also a sense of reckless lawlessness to the storytelling that gives the film its sense of energy.

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