The LEGO Batman Movie
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Everyone’s favorite brooding Minifig vigilante is back in The LEGO Batman movie starring the voices of Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, and Zach Galifianakis. Is this movie as awesome and fun as The LEGO Movie, or is Warner Bros. just trying to cash in on the popularity of the Batman franchise?
2014 was an awesome year for animated family movies. I loved Big Hero 6, The Book of Life, and How to Train Your Dragon 2. But my favorite of the year by far was The LEGO Movie. At first when I watched it, I thought it was super silly with really goofy dialogue and clunky animation. But when the movie revealed that it was actually taking place within the imagination of a child, I thought it was sheer genius. Since then, The LEGO Movie has been one of my family’s favorite movies. I was even upset that it got snubbed at the 2015 Oscars and yet another Disney movie won, but that’s a different subject for a different time.
I’m not going to lie. Going into The LEGO Batman Movie I was already a bit super biased, especially since I’m a huge Batman fan. Even if it was only half as good as The LEGO Movie, I knew it would still be a fun time. Putting aside my fanboy cap and wearing my critical cap, I have to say that The LEGO Batman Movie does not at all disappoint. The movie is incredibly super funny, has realistic character models, awesome action sequences, and most important, it’s just a fun time.
The LEGO Batman Movie isn’t a sequel to The LEGO Movie, but it does take place within the universe. So to really get the jokes, you have to go into the movie knowing that the characters, dialogue and situations all come from a child’s imagination during playtime. The movie references every iteration Batman has ever had in comics, cartoons, and movies. It makes no apologies in pointing out the absurdity of the Adam West tv show or odd villains like the Condiment King. The movie is basically an amalgamation of everything Batman, but told from a child’s perspective. What’s also great is that the movie isn’t limited to just the DC Comics universe. The LEGO Batman Movie takes advantage of every single property that Warner Bros. owns. It’s really cool to see all the different worlds collide.
The LEGO Batman Movie starts off as epic as Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. An airplane carrying a ridiculous amount of of explosives is headed towards Gotham and is being hijacked midair by every single Rogues Gallery villain led by the Joker in a diabolical plot to take over the city. Of course Batman saves the day, but does it with style and awesome martial arts skills to the hilarious and catchy tune of “Who’s the (Bat)Man.”
While the media and public think Batman is awesome and must always party with friends until the wee hours of the night, the sad fact is that he’s actually a loner who prefers to do things solo. Batman has all the cool toys, gadgets, and ideas, but he watches TV by himself. He eats his lobster thermidor by himself. He even broods by himself. But Batman’s biggest problem is his overblown ego that sometimes purposely pushes people away. The friends he does have didn’t even invite him to the big Justice League reunion extravaganza. If not for Alfred, he’d just be alone in the world fighting crime. That’s until he inadvertently adopts an orphan boy named Dick Grayson and turns Batman’s loner lifestyle upside down. Batman must now learn what it is to let people into his life all while trying to keep Gotham’s most wanted at bay.
Everything that was great about The LEGO Movie carries on with The LEGO Batman Movie. Will Arnett really is the perfect person to voice this version of the Dark Knight. He’s cocky and egotistical and never backs down from a challenge. It’s as if Arnett channels every role he’s ever played and brings to life as a LEGO Minifig. I also liked the rest of the cast. I never would have pictured Michael Cera as Robin, but his cute, adolescent voice was perfect. Ralph Fiennes as Alfred was also perfectly cast. With her past work in the DC Animated movies voicing Wonder Woman, Rosario Dawson was great as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl. Who I wasn’t sure of that could pull it off was Zach Galifianakis as the Joker, but even he did a great job. I sound like a broken record, but really the entire voice cast was great. I even loved that Apple’s SIRI was the voice of the Batcomputer, because when you remember that the movie is within the mind of a child, SIRI would be what I would use to be my computer if iPhones were around when I was a kid. The great thing about not only the voice cast, but the characters themselves are just how many are jam-packed into the movie. The movie will definitely take multiple viewings to catch everyone.
I also loved the look of the movie. I know the movie was done with computers, but the characters look so realistic. You see the lines in the plastic where the molds formed the plastic to create the toys. The lighting reflects off the paint just right. You can see the textures and imperfections of the toys. The movie is so realistic looking within the LEGO world that you’d swear that it was filmed using still cameras with stop-motion animation. It really is incredible that the entire thing was masterfully created all using computers and a very talented staff.
But what makes The LEGO Batman Movie so fun is that at no time does it take itself seriously. The movie is very self-referential and loaded with humor for all ages. The kids will love the colors and action and the grownups will chuckle at the inside jokes and pop culture references. I couldn’t stop laughing and smiling. The audience at my screening was the same way as they were very vocal with their applause and laughing. My kids who range from 5-13 years-old also loved the movie and we all can’t wait to see it again.
My only complaint with the movie is that the story starts to fizzle out towards the ending. I get it, Batman is a loner. Batman is brooding. Batman is invincible and always does the best things ever. The plots gets beat like a dead horse. Now it’s not like I didn’t have a good time, I actually had a great time, but the whole plot point of Batman being a loner just got incredibly repetitive really fast.
The bottom line, If you loved The LEGO Movie as much as I did, then you are going to have a blast with The LEGO Batman Movie. It shares the exact same type of irreverent comedy, absurdity, and style with its predecessor. It’s as if the creators of Airplane! and the Naked Gun created a movie for kids, but instead of Leslie Nielsen, they replaced him with Will Arnett. I watch a lot of the “LEGO” animated movies that hit Netflix, Cartoon Network, and Home Video, but those take place realistically within the premise of those particular toys’ storylines. I actually prefer these LEGO Universe movies as the filmmakers aren’t limited to one franchise, but can mix and match characters and toys from other worlds within their universe. The LEGO Batman Movie perfectly represents what it’s like to be a child and make your own playtime fun with toys from different sets, franchises, and genres. It does for LEGO what Toy Story did with classic toys.
If you loved The LEGO Movie, then you’re gonna have a great time with The LEGO Batman Movie. The animation looks great and the jokes are non-stop. I laughed all the way from the epic opening to the heartfelt ending. My only complaint is the the story starts to fizzle out towards the end. The film really has lots to offer to both kids and adults, especially all the Easter Eggs and cameos for the hardcore comic fans. If you’re looking to take the family to the theater this weekend, then you’re gonna want to check out The LEGO Batman Movie. It’s fantastic!