The sequel begins right where the first part left off: with Dad’s casual bombshell that if his son can play in the basement LEGO paradise, then so can the son’s younger sister. Cue the arrival of the adorable Duplo destructors, and hello, new central conflict! You might even say that The Second Part connects to the first as snugly as, oh I don’t know, a LEGO brick! Ha ha? But the conflict here — play with your sister, son, lest all the LEGOs suffer Armomageddon and disappear into the Bin of Storage (pronounced store-AJ) — just isn’t that compelling. There’s a lot of talk about how growing up can interfere with the essential sweetness that makes such sibling cooperation possible — at one point, a character actually goes so far as to say that the action is just an expression of the death of the imagination in the subconscious of an adolescent — but the fact remains that the kid in question is still imaginative enough to play with LEGOs, so…what’s the problem, exactly? Never mind, here’s a half-baked song about Batman and romance to take the kids’ mind off things! And for the adults in the room, we’ve got time travel as a major plot point, so let’s throw in a Back to the Future reference! It won’t matter if the kids don’t get it, as long as we make explicit acknowledgment that the kids don’t get it in the film itself! Because you can never get too meta! Oh, wait. Exhausting, and exhausted. (2019) — Matthew Lickona
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