By the end of the first Lego Movie, everything was awesome. Now, in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, things are far less so.

Five years have passed since the events of the first movie, and the bustling metropolis of Bricksburg has been invaded by colorful and emotionally volatile aliens, the Duplo. Now, the citizens of Bricksburg live in the gritty wasteland of Apocalypseburg, and while most of them have hardened up accordingly, only Emmet remains fun and upbeat. However, he has a terrible vision of an upcoming, catastrophic event, called the “Ar-mom-ageddon.”

Another Duplo member, General Mayhem, arrives, but rather than destroying what’s left of the town, she kidnaps Lucy, Batman, Benny, Metalbeard, and Unikitty. Emmet’s pals are all taken to the Systar System in order for Batman to wed the system’s leader, Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi. Emmet heads off into space in order to try and rescue them, running into the extremely cool Rex Dangervest along the way. Rex helps Emmet to harden up a little bit in order to better be able to rescue his pals, though with the Ar-mom-ageddon looming, they only have so much time to make things awesome again.

When the first Lego Movie came out, I had sort of middling expectations – I thought the animation style looked cool but that it would otherwise be a kind of dumb kid’s movie. I was proven wrong, because that first film was wildly clever without ever patting itself on the back too much. So I was pretty excited at the idea of a second film, but again didn’t get my hopes too high. Thankfully, The Lego Movie 2 is equally as funny as its predecessor and just as clever.

Warner Bros. makes good use of the various other properties they have under their umbrella, which leads to a whole lot of self-referential humor that in the hands of a worse writing team probably would have gotten old and grating. Thankfully, the jokes here manage to toe the line between clever and obnoxious, and a lot of the jokes are clearly aimed at the parents rather than at the kids. The writing is also good enough to really tug at your heartstrings at times – the framing device in this movie is that of a squabble between a brother and sister, and the way that it ends up being resolved will likely hit many audience members right in the feelings.

All of the voice acting in the film is spectacular – Chris Pratt returns as Emmet, but he doubles up by voicing Rex (who is basically a fun amalgamation of all of Pratt’s other roles). Elizabeth Banks is great as Lucy, and Charlie Day, Alison Brie, and Nick Offerman all return to their roles from the first film as well, in grand fashion. Will Arnett’s take on Batman may be one of my all-time favorites (they didn’t give him his own film for no good reason, after all), though the addition of Tiffany Haddish as Watevra Wa-Nabi might be the best part. The potentially-evil galactic Queen is easily my favorite new character for this franchise, and it doesn’t hurt that the song she sings (explaining how definitely-not-evil she is) absolutely slaps.

Honestly, all of the music in this film is really good – I wouldn’t go so far to qualify the film as a musical, but it makes some really key use of music. “Everything is Awesome” was the earworm from the first film, while The Lego Movie 2 gets “Catchy Song” instead. Not to spoil anything, but it will definitely get stuck inside your head.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part absolutely lives up to the standards set by the first movie and is a more than worthy sequel. It’s consistently funny with a relatable framing device, and the animation is to die for. I hope this is a franchise that continues to expand at the level of quality it’s enjoyed so far.

-Carrie Wood