Genre: Animation, Comedy Director: Chris McKay Starring: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson
Batman? Lego? Fun?! But Batman isn’t meant to be FUN!!!
It feels odd that Lego now has some very high profile films behind it, but it’s been an interesting few years for the company. Why, you could almost say everything is awesome for it right now.
When The Lego Movie first released in 2012 it received universal acclaim, in spite of having the potential for disaster. I myself enjoyed it a great deal, including it’s humour, the use of animation and the Lego theme all combined together to create an enjoyable experience that was watchable again and again.
So when The Lego Batman Movie was announced, I was actually excited for it’s release; Will Arnett’s Batman is – in my opinion – one of the best Batman’s on film. The trailers gave the impression of a fast paced parody film, promising yet more humour and excellent animation.
And it delivered in all of this of course; it should come as no surprise at this stage. But what impressed me more is how The Lego Batman Movie can afford to make fun of its source material a lot more than any other previous Lego or DC movie. What a rare treat it is for a Batman film to have fun with its premise.
And yes, this is yet another thinly veiled criticism of DC’s execution of its franchises over the past few years… permit me that small indulgence. But the fact that DC was willing to agree to this project tells me that they’re doing some things right.
So the premise of this film; taking place in a brick-by-brick creation of Gotham City, the film follows Batman (Will Arnett) as he continues in his fight for justice against criminals such as the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) who is trying to show to a typically broody Batman that they have a ‘special connection.’ Naturally, If you know Batman, he is opposed to this, simultaneously wanting to have a connection and insist that he ‘works alone’ even while others, like butler Alfred, (Ralph Fiennes) eccentric adopted boy wonder Robin (Michael Cera) and newly minted Police Commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) try to be a part of his life. This all comes together in a fast paced adventure with endless action and messages about the importance of family.
And when I say it’s fast paced I mean that it’s Very fast paced. The action never really seemed to stop throughout this film. From it’s excellent and flawless start to it’s fantastic conclusion, there is never really an opportunity to slow down and take it all in. I can mostly forgive that, however, considering both the nature of the film and it’s target audience. (expect perhaps for me of course)
As a parody film too, this film is delightful to watch; referencing nearly every point in Batman history, from it’s darker moments to the more ridiculous and over the top. The Lego Batman Movie is not afraid to mock every moment that has come up. With Will Arnett once again taking the helm as Batman, he’s taking the role of a man-child surrounded by cool gadgets and fixated on how awesome it is to be alone. Essentially, it’s the common criticism that is thrown at Batman films lately. However, it is embraced to the point of not only showing those negatives, but also why Batman remains compelling, both regarding his allies and himself. It’s all done with fun and in good taste.
Nor is this restricted to Batman material either; the Justice League once again makes an appearance in this Lego film, made fun of in comparison to Batman – there’s even a joke about how Superman is Batman’s greatest enemy so, you know, points for self-awareness.
And… it’s not just DC material that gets brought up… being a Warner Brothers film; there are additional appearances from the rest of its properties. I won’t say what from, but if you’re into nerd culture the same way that I am, then you will likewise be delighted.
Voice work is also very well done; I’ve already mentioned Batman, but Robin as played by Cera is also fun to watch as well as Barbara Gordon (who I’m very happy to see in a more positive light) and of course the Joker (who I consider to be better than Jared Leto for the record) There are others, but I won’t give them away.
Being a Lego film, the animation is once again done stop motion style, giving it a very distinctive style in comparison to other animated comedy films. From the design of the city, to how Lego sets are built by the master builders (which was a bit underused this time around) to the explosion and laser effects, The Lego Batman Movie has a very unique look when compared to it’s predecessor.
Make no mistake though, this is less of a Lego film, and more of a Batman film; one that is not hesitant to make fun of itself or take itself seriously. Though the pop songs that were used were a bit annoying, this wasn’t exactly a deal breaker since it works within the context of a Lego film – nothing that quite sticks out as much as ‘Everything is Awesome’ though. I can only imagine how successful this will make Lego, DC and Warner Brothers, though it’ll be interesting to see how seriously I can take the upcoming Justice League film after this.
I’m close to rambling at this point so I’ll cut to the chase; The Lego Batman Movie is a great film; it’s non-stop hilarity and awesome action throughout, and a lot of people that I know will like this one. I imagine those said people will have seen this already, but it’s a point that’s worth making nonetheless.
So yeah, right now, everything is Batman