WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, in theaters now.
One of the biggest joys of the LEGO movies is the wide range of pop culture references, unlikely cameos and quick Easter eggs scattered throughout as winks to fans, and The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is no exception. While the number of cameos doesn't quite compare to its predecessor, and The LEGO Batman Movie, the sequel still has plenty of blink-and-you-miss-it appearances and nods to make older viewers laugh.
Below is a list of the best references and cameos found in The LEGO Movie 2:
Justice League Action
With the launch of the extraterrestrial invasion of Bricksburg that kicks off the film, the Justice League sets out to take down the aliens on their own world. While Channing Tatum, Cobie Smulders and Jonah Hill reprising their roles from the 2014 film and The LEGO Batman Movie as Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern is no big surprise, Aquaman is voiced by Jason Momoa, and redesigned to resemble his DC Extended Universe incarnation. As the team leaps into action, Momoa even echoes his lines from the DC Extended Universe's Justice League, and the team's logo is the same as in the promo images for the 2017 live-action film.
Later, in the Systar System, Superman is seen as friendly neighbors with Lex Luthor, while Aquaman mentions he has been hanging out with General Zod in the sparkly, idyllic setting, before the team launches into a catchy song-and-dance number through the streets.
Welcome to Apocalypseburg
In the wake of the invasions by the Duplo armies, the formerly cheery Bricksburg has been transformed into gritty Apocalypseburg, taking inspiration from such classic post-apocalyptic films as Mad Max and Planet of the Apes, right down to its fallen Statue of Liberty. After Lucy & Co. are abducted by General Sweet Mayhem, Emmet turns to his fellow inhabitants of Apocalypseburg inhabitants, including Gandalf, the original Aquaman, Velma from Scooby-Doo, Seattle SuperSonics player Gary Payton and WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes, but to no avail.
Even Harley Quinn briefly appears, declaring that any plans to rescue their friends from the aliens as a "suicide mission," a nod to the character's role in 2016's Suicide Squad. Similarly, she turns down Emmet as he looks for help. Frustrated, Emmet notes that even with the Justice League missing, Marvel still isn't returning his calls.
Enter Rex Dangervest
Cool, hardened and certainly extreme, Rex Dangervest is a pastiche full of pop-culture nods. Like Emmet, he's voiced by Chris Pratt, foreshadowing Rex's true identity. The character is an amalgamation of sorts to Pratt's more action-oriented roles: He travels through the stars and admits to listening to his mixtapes way too loud in a nod to Pratt's portrayal of Star-Lord in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; and he also keeps a private army of highly trained raptors in reference to Owen Grady in Jurassic World and its sequel. Additionally, cutaway gags reference Pratt's appearance in The Magnificent Seven reboot, and rumors that he would replace Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones.
And while Jurassic World's raptor, Blue, doesn't show up, the other raptors have names that are obvious sci-fi action nods, including Ripley from Alien, Connor from Terminator, Quaid from Total Recall and "the other one." Together, Rex and his crew fly the Rexcelsior, a reference to Stan Lee's signature catchphrase.
Perhaps the most surprising and funniest cameos in The LEGO Movie 2 is the appearance of Bruce Willis as himself. Seen dressed similarly to John McClane from the Die Hard franchise, Willis observes that without her hair, Lucy doesn't resemble the famously bald actor. Later, as Lucy makes her escape through the Systar System's air ducts, she encounters Willis in a nod to his famous scene in the original Die Hard.
Willis makes one final vocal appearance when Emmet and Rex sneak through the ducts themselves. As Lucy listens in through her radio headset, she overhears the duo encounter Willis, who greets them nonchalantly.
Just as 2017's The LEGO Batman Movie had a full song-and-dance number recounting the entire history of DC's iconic superhero in other media, The LEGO Movie 2 has its own song dedicated to the Caped Crusader. As Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi wines and dines Batman, she launches into a song about how she actually prefers Superman to secretly entice a jealous Batman to change his mind regarding their wedding.
The song is full of references to the cinematic history of the character with every single big-screen, live-action incarnation of the Dark Knight name-dropped, with Batman admitting he's more of a Michael Keaton guy with George Clooney's charm and Val Kilmer's lips after Wa-Nabi dismisses him as not being relevant since Christian Bale. Ben Affleck and Adam West are both similarly referenced.
Much of the aliens' plans in the film revolve around the marriage of their queen Watevra Wa-Nabi to Batman. While Batman's wedding party consists of his friends from Apocalypseburg, Queen Wa-Nabi's wedding party is a bit more eclectic, including several original characters, the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
While the Supreme Court justice's cameo is a silent one, she is seen happily dancing during the impending nuptials before they are rudely interrupted.
After Rex reveals his true identity as an older, hardened version of Emmett, he explains how he traveled back in time to change history and cause Our-Mom-Aggedon. Stealing parts from Back to the Future's time-traveling DeLorean from Doc Brown, Doctor Who's TARDIS, "whatever Skynet is using" from the Terminator movies, the magical telephone booth from Bill and Ted and the hot tub from Hot Tub Time Machine, Rex is able to construct his own time-travel device to rescue Emmet in his own dastardly plan.
Later, after Emmet is rescued by Lucy and refuses to become as hardened and cynical as Rex, the reformed villain realizes that, because history has changed once again, he and his timeline no longer exist. As Rex fades out of existence, he refers to it as "Back-to-the-Futuring" in a nod to an ominous fate nearly shared with Marty McFly in the classic 1985 film.
Directed by Mike Mitchell, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part reunites Chris Pratt as Emmet, Elizabeth Banks as Lucy (aka Wyldstyle), Will Arnett as Batman, Nick Offerman as Metal Beard and Alison Brie as Unikitty. They're joined by Tiffany Haddish as Queen Watevra Wa-Nab, Stephanie Beatriz as Sweet Mayhem and Arturo Castro as Ice Cream Cone. The film is out in theaters now.