Everything’s not awesome.

Well, maybe for the characters of the first Lego Movie who now face an apocalyptic situation when a marauding band of Duplos have invaded their world. Emmet (Chris Pratt), Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett) and the rest of the gang are back in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, a sequel that may actually be better than the first installment. So, that’s pretty awesome, no?

Written once again by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (with Mike Miller sliding into the director’s chair), this second installment features a wry, knowing script filled with non-stop jokes that unfurl at multiple levels. Whoever thought that Batman was a Radiohead fan? Yet, it makes perfect sense.

Everything in the Lego films happens on more than one level. Even the story itself is derived from the play of two children with the largest collection of Legos known to man. When we last left the characters, the younger sister’s Duplos had been introduced into the world. Rather than get along, the two sides have engaged in an out-and-out war, turning the utopia of the first film into a post-apocalyptic realm straight out of Mad Max. Bricksburg has become Apocalypseburg. It kinda sucks. Once again, our hero Emmet is a man out of time. He is still hopelessly chipper, unwilling to succumb to the violent and inhuman world that he now inhabits.

But then Emmet’s friends are whisked away to the Duplos’ home world where their Queen Waterva Wa-Nabi (Tiffany Haddish) has decided that she wants to marry Batman. As each of the Lego characters are seduced by this new world (and a song that will literally get stuck in your head), it’s up to Wyldstyle to lead the fight with Emmet left behind in Apocalypseburg. Will the little sister conquer her brother’s toys?

All hope is not lost. Emmet meets Rex Dangervest (also voiced by Pratt), a Han Solo-meets-Buzz Lightyear space jockey who arrives in a ship crewed by a host of velociraptors. Rough, manly and chiseled, Rex is everything Emmet is not. But why is Rex so willing to help Emmet and why does he so badly want to destroy all the Duplos? Is Rex really a good example of manhood for Emmet or does something insidious lurk under the surface?

Despite the same effusive jokes and pop culture references that pervade the first installment, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part feels less garish in many ways. While Emmet and his friends battle the Duplos, an even greater threat lurks: the real-life children’s inability to play together may lead to the banishment of all their toys into storage. That would equal a real apocalypse in the imaginary world. Even if the story gets a bit too meta for younger audiences to truly grasp, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part will still thrill them with its non-stop action. And best of all, it will make your kids beg you to buy them Legos when the lights come up.

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