The Lego Batman Movie Review: Batman’s Reckoning
Lightning does strike twice, which is an anomaly in most major studio films these days. Who knew that The Lego Movie would be such a success, as well as an overall splendid time for adults and children alike? One of the high points of the now classic animated film was the supporting character of Will Arnet’s Batman. He was in the movie just enough to be a great comedic presence, without being the main focal point. When word came out that an entire film would be centered around him, I had some reservations. Sometimes, things are better left in small increments, because too much of a good thing can result in something not terribly great (Minions). However, The Lego Batman Movie not only is a good spin-off to its predecessor, but it also stands on its own as the best Batman film since The Dark Knight.
Batman is coming to terms with his loneliness, though he may not be admitting it to himself. He lives to fulfill his needs in catching Gotham City’s criminals and being a hero. However, when a new commissioner, Barbara Gordon, takes control of the city, she wants Batman to work with the police in catching these criminals by the book. No matter what incarnation of Batman you’ve seen or read over the years, he doesn’t do by the book. He also has to take responsibility for his new adopted son, Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), an upbeat orphan, who just wants to be loved. How can Batman accept the responsibility of a son, when he can’t even be responsible for his actions?
Before the opening scene begins, we are brought back into this self-aware Lego world with a hilarious voice over from Will Arnet himself. “Every good movie starts with a black screen,” we hear as the studio logos begin to fade out. The fun nods at the more ridiculous and repetitive elements of the superhero genre are present throughout, with more adult audiences finding great humor in the subtle details of some of the movie’s dialogue.
The action scenes are both creative and a blast to watch.The incorporation of building legos into these scenes are done with creative flair, whether it be assembling the Bat Mobile, or using the characters heads to build a bridge, the aesthetically pleasing animation is wonderful. What’s great about animation is that there are no limits, no shaky camera or poor CGI to bring a set piece down. The fun never stops when it comes to Batman kicking butt, which is sure to have those of any age demographic being thoroughly entertained.
What surprised me most about The Lego Batman Movie is the amount of heart it had, as well as the story’s core message. At its core, Lego Batman is about relationships, family, and dealing with loneliness. Themes I actually did not expect from a film like this one. Batman dealing with the death of his parents is something we’ve seen dozens of times, but this time we see him struggle with letting anyone into his life. He’s afraid of having feelings for anyone, which makes sense due to the nature of his backstory. The relationship between him and Alfred, especially, had me choking up at a few moments.
The messages about family, talking about your problems and dealing with loss were a pleasant surprise, making it stand apart from some of the more standard, non-Pixar animated movies.The bond between Batman and Robin was also a high point, with a good father and son bond that is a natural progression and comes to a heart-warming conclusion.
Truth be told, there’s not a lot to go into with The Lego Batman Movie, and that’s not a complaint either. The jokes don’t always land, and certain plot elements become repetitive towards the latter half. I do wish the movie was a bit funnier, but when the jokes do land, I was keeled over in laughter. This is certainly a film that you should bring the whole family to. Audiences universally will surely be entertained, and us comic book fans will get a little extra with the plethora of nods to the genre.
The Lego Batman Movie opens on February 10th, 2017