The Lego Batman Movie

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It has been awhile since we had a Batman movie as good as this, and it is a Lego movie.

Who would have thought that The Lego Batman Movie would be able to show the character of Batman in a way that the movie franchise has been trying to get right for years now.

The Lego Batman Movie was a bit of a risk considering how taking a side character (Batman) from a huge movie (The Lego Movie) does not always work (ex. Minions).  The concerns about whether the Lego Movie’s version of Batman could extend past its one note character and into a character that could carry its own feature length film were extremely justified.  Fortunately, The Lego Batman Movie succeeds tremendously in just about every possible way.

Batman (Will Arnett) continues to save Gotham from the criminal element of the city while keeping his distance because of the loss of his parents.  When Commissioner Gordon retires and is succeeded by his daughter Barbara (Rosario Dawson), she wants to encourage Batman to work more with the police instead of being the city’s savior.  Batman did not like this idea.

Also, the Joker (Zack Galifianakis) was struggling with the challenge of getting Batman to commit to a relationship as well.  The Joker balks at Batman’s refusal to admit that the Joker is his greatest enemy and the rebuffed clown sets out on a plot to destroy Gotham because of it.

The Lego Batman Movie is remarkably clever.  The script is fantastic and is chocked full of humor.  This movie is one of the funniest films of the year.  The jokes fly fast and furiously throughout the movie that you almost miss some of them.  I would guess that if you were to see The Lego Batman Movie a second or third time, you would uncover material that you missed on a first viewing.  I mean, the list of the real DC Comics Batman rogues gallery of villains alone is worth the price of admissions (Condiment King, Calendar Man, including Batman ’66 villains like Egghead, King Tut etc).

Another aspect that makes The Lego Batman Movie is how much of a satire the film is toward the other Batman movie and television franchises of the past.  There are allusions to every version of Batman that has ever been, from the 1966 camp-fest Batman TV show to Batman vs. Superman in the DCEU.  These references are thrown in across the film and are some of the most brilliant parts of The Lego Batman Movie.  These Easter eggs make watching this film as a Batman fan very rewarding.  I must say that I really did want to see a reference to “Martha” in the film.  Unfortunately, that was not to be (unless I missed it.)

The writing was spot on and I loved how they kept bringing quotes and lines from past movies and blending them into this one.  You had to pay attention or else you might miss something.

The film does seem to have a grasp on what makes this character work.  Unlike some versions of Batman, the Lego version actually is one of the best versions of the character we have seen.  Despite being used for humor, Batman is a fully developed character with understandable motivations and a distinct character arc.  There was a better insight into what makes Batman tick in this movie than in most of the other films involving the Caped Crusader.

The animation of the Lego Batman Movie was awesome and had some beautiful colors creating the imagery of the city.  The use of the Legos in the film was not as creative as it was in The Lego Movie itself.  It just felt like more of Batman’s cool toys.

Will Arnett was great as Batman, leading an extremely talented cast of voice actors.  Ralph Fiennes was a really great Alfred.  Michael Cera voiced an over-the-top excited Robin.  And there were a ton of cameo voices including Billy Dee Williams (Two-Face), Conan O’ Brien (Riddler), Siri (Computer), Zoe Kravitz (Catwoman), Seth Green, Eddie Izzard, Jermaine Clement, Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Doug Benson, Adam Devine, Chris Hardwick, Hector Elizondo and Mariah Carey.  There were just as many awesome cameos among the villains who appear int he film.

The Lego Batman Movie was far from a side joke film.  It was one of the better Batman movies we have gotten recently and shows how you can have fun and still have a character that is honest to its core convictions.  This is a great animated movie.

4.75 stars

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