The Lego Batman Movie | Chris McKay | February 10
Since The Lego Batman Movie takes place in the same universe as 2014’s The Lego Movie, Will Arnett reprises his role as the Caped Crusader. However, instead of the brief background that we were given in The Lego Movie, The Lego Batman Movie expands on the Gotham side of this Master Builder.
We are quickly introduced to The Joker (Zach Galifianakis), who is trying to destroy Gotham (again) with the help of quite literally Batman’s entire rogue’s gallery. Batman swiftly defeats everyone and tells The Joker that he means absolutely nothing to him (despite The Joker showing that Batman clearly means something to him) before sending him away to Arkham Asylum. Upon returning to the Batcave, we find that Batman/Bruce Wayne is living a sad and lonely life outside of his vigilantism and his butler, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), expresses his concern that Bruce’s lifestyle and loner mentality are becoming detrimental to his well-being. Even though Bruce ignores Alfred’s concerns, his lifestyle as The Batman is challenged when he unwittingly adopts Dick Grayson/Robin (Michael Cera). This is compounded with the introduction of Gotham’s new police commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), who wants to have a Gotham that doesn’t need Batman, and The Joker’s latest scheme.
The Lego Batman Movie is a great film on many levels. The detail and quality of the animation is something to behold. Every scene is highly detailed, from the characters facial expressions and actions, to the use of Lego bricks for almost every effect. It’s amazing to see how much is going on during some of the more chaotic parts of the film. The backgrounds of each scene are so highly detailed, that I look forward to watching this film again to see if there were any jokes or references that I missed.
Speaking of jokes, The Lego Batman Movie is very well written and quick-witted. The film utilizes humor that both kids and adults will find funny, without pandering to either audience. However, what really sets this movie apart is just how self-aware it is. There is a constant stream of references to previous Batman films, TV shows and comics throughout. Everything from shark repellent to the Suicide Squad gets lampooned; they even got Billy Dee-Williams to reprise his role as Harvey Dent from Tim Burton’s Batman. On another note, I think that the film’s message of not being afraid to ask others for help is something that many adults (myself included) and kids could learn from.
Otherwise, the voice actors seemed to have fun doing this movie. Michael Cera has a wonderful take on Robin and seems to make the character his own. Will Arnett continues to impress as Batman, he even expands his music skills from The Lego Movie’s brief “Untitled Self Portrait,” to beat boxing and rapping. Ralph Fiennes is a very nice fit for Alfred, as he effortlessly switches from unbridled sarcasm, to father figure, to hero.
The only real negatives that I can think of are that there are some short lulls throughout the film and that Barbara Gordon seems to be a little too similar to The Lego Movie’s Wyldestyle/Lucy, but these are minor transgressions and don’t really take away from the experience.
I like to think that The Lego Batman Movie functions as the DC Universes’ PG answer to Deadpool. It’s fast paced, funny, self-aware and was made with an impeccable attention to detail. If you or your child likes Batman, Lego, superheroes, or are just looking for a fun 90 minutes to take you away from the outside world, go see this movie. You won’t be disappointed.