ATTENTION! Repeat viewings recommended.
Crammed with pop-culture references, snarky dialogue, catchy tunes, whizzy action and dazzling colors, “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” comes at you so fast it’s impossible to process it all on first contact.
Wait! What? Was that Ruth Bader Glnsburg in Batman’s wedding party? One may think, but in a blink she’s gone. And did we see Batman getting glitter-bombed?
What’s Bruce Willis doing here, in “Die Hard” duct-crawlling mode? Is that a “Hot Tub Time Machine” reference? And something about Skynet? Think so. Not quite sure. Hey, can you rewind this thing?
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Sorry. Onward it goes, at near light speed. Try to keep up, people. And good luck with that.
Praise be to Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the guys who wrote (and produced) this picture and wrote and directed its predecessor, 2014’s “The LEGO Movie,” the CG-animated megahit that made this sequel inevitable.
Men with nimble minds and a vast and encyclopedic love for all things pop-cultural, they work in the references in ways that keep you gasping and laughing at their inventiveness.
The story picks up five years after the events of “The LEGO Movie,” with Lego land reduced to a “Mad Max: Fury Road” dystopia (and yes, there’s a flame-shooting electric guitar on view).
The characters have been roughened and toughened by the collapse of their happy well-ordered building-block world. Lucy (voiced once again by Elizabeth Banks), a natural gloom-and-doom girl, has adapted well to the apocalypse. Standing atop the wreckage of the Statue of Liberty (thank you “Planet of the Apes”), she broodily ruminates on the ruination while sipping a cup of coffee, “the bitter liquid that provides the only only semblance of pleasure left in these dark times.”
Her sourpussery is interrupted by the chirpy voice of her brick-built buddy Emmet (Chris Pratt returning to role), an irrepressible fountain of good cheer.
Lucy takes it as her life’s mission to try to deflate his ebullience and make him better able to deal with the world as it is. Good luck with that, missy.
Also attempting to assist in the gloomification of Emmet is a new character named Rex Dangervest (also voiced, gruffly, by Pratt), introduced as a back-from-the-future “galaxy-defending archaeologist, cowboy and raptor trainer,” referencing Pratt’s roles in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Jurassic World” and “The Magnificent Seven” (the in-jokes just keep on coming). He’s future-Emmet, scuffed up by life and cynical. Can Emmet be saved from his dark side? Stay tuned.
Batman (Will Arnett returns after voicing the Dark Knight in the first movie and 2017’s “The LEGO Batman Movie”) is as egotistical as ever (and aware deep down he’s lonely and insecure) until he meets his match in a shape-shifting alien queen (Tiffany Haddish), who boasts about being “the most least evil person you’ll ever meet.” Batguy is skeptical, but soon he’ll weaken. then it’s time for giddy-signifying glitter.
Catchy tunes pack the soundtrack, including the “The LEGO Movie’s” signature “Everything Is Awesome.” Knowing full well what they unleashed on the world with that tune, the makers of the sequel came up with the shamelessly titled “Catchy Song” whose key lyric promises “this song is gonna get stuck inside your head.”
Aaargh! Earworm attack! Resistance is futile, folks. Please sirs, Can you play that one again? And again?
The movie, too. Pardon me while I scurry out and buy a ticket. The 7 p..m. show is about to start.
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
3 1/2 stars our of four
Cast: Featuring the voices of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Tiffany Haddish and Stephanie Beatriz.
Director: Mike Mitchell
Running time: 1:46
Rated PG for some rude humor