Directed by Chris McKay (Titan Maximum, Robot Chicken)
Written by Seth Grahame-Smith (Dark Shadows, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies), Chris McKenna (The Mindy Project, Community), and others
Music by Lorne Balfe (Megamind, The Dilemma)
Produced by Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Phil Lord, and Christopher Miller
Starring Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, Ralph Fiennes, and Rosario Dawson
In The Lego Batman Movie, Batman is as we have always known him, or at least an amalgamation of everything we have known him to be. Except now he is a Lego man, and he can shred a mean metal guitar, and he writes killer raps about himself, which he performs while putting his Kung Fu and Master Builder skills to use pummeling hundreds of bad guys. He’s also lonely, but he won’t admit it. He tries to watch romantic comedies in his huge home theater, but he can’t figure the inputs out. At least he has Alfred. Although even old Alfie seems to be getting tired of the usual Bat-antics, and the Bat-depression. Meanwhile, Joker is about his usual evil Joker plans. He sure loves fighting Batman! Yet when Joker tries to reinforce his arch-nemesis nature with Batman, Batman rejects him.
“Admit that you hate me,” Joker cries. “Admit that I’m your greatest enemy!”
Batman, cold as ever, dishes it to him cold. “You’re not my greatest enemy. I like to fight around. Batman and Joker are not a thing. I don’t need you. You mean nothing to me. No one does.”
And just like that, Batman breaks the Joker’s heart, setting Joker off on a curiously sad path. Something’s up his sleeve, and Batman is sure of that.
On top of all this silliness, two new people come into Batman’s life. The first, a pesky new Chief of Police who doesn’t approve of Batman’s vigilantism. Gotham is no safer, she claims, after all these years of Batman fighting crime unaccountable. What a drag! She might also have Batman entranced. The second person is an orphaned kid who Bruce Wayne accidentally adopts.
Batman’s life couldn’t get more hectic, or more ridiculous. Well. . .
The Lego Batman Movie. Who would have thought that in 2017 we’d be reviewing a theatrically released movie by that name! But here we are. The big question: Is it worth seeing? I’ll say this. I do not recall the last time I laughed this hard and this consistently throughout a movie. And then, when the customary sappy stuff came at the end, I actually cared enough to be happy with what was happening. This movie, man, it is actually really good!
As for the quality of the comedy, it’s great! The humor really leverages the Batman lore to maximum effect, and for even the most casual Batman fans, it’s a riot. For folks who aren’t Batman fans at all, there’s still a lot to appreciate. The jokes are very Airplane-esque in their steady-stream, punny nature. In fact, Airplane, or something like Galaxy Quest for that matter, is a very apt comparison, due to the way Lego Batman handles its off-the-wall, parodic humor, though this is certainly more kid friendly and more loving of its subjects. It gives the Batman/Gotham world a good ribbing without a trace of cynicism, and not only is the movie and its story funny, but it actually gives us a heartfelt story and a neat story arc for Batman and the gang. All this only improves the humor.
The animation, too, is terrific. It’s impressively breathtaking how they make this whole world look like everything, and I mean everything, is made of Legos. It’s awesome! And the colors pop out of the screen beautifully. If I didn’t already know how some of these same people made The Lego Movie, you might have been able to convince me the animation was stop-motion using Legos, and I can’t imagine how that would have looked any better than this. It would have certainly taken ages longer.
The voice acting is mostly great. Will Arnett as Lego Batman is simply inspired. If you liked him in The Lego Movie, you’ll love him here. If you hated him in Lego Movie, I don’t think you needed this review to know that Lego Batman is not for you. I don’t want to give away all the voice actors because I had fun trying to spot them, and you should too. The choice for Robin is perfect. The other choices range from decent to really good.
As for negatives, I don’t have many. As I said, not all the voice actor choices are necessarily the absolute greatest. Also, the story plot follows a structure similar to The Lego Movie, and it relies on many things we already know. In addition, although the movie throws jokes at you left and right, and pretty much all of it stuck for me, there are a few moments that may be a bit too slow, and there aren’t any songs quite as catchy as “Everything Is Awesome.” But. . . that might be a good thing. Especially if you hated hearing your kids or your relatives’ kids constantly singing that song. I liked better Batman’s hilarious metal/rap theme, “Who’s the (Bat)Man,” from Patrick Stump and Chad Smith.
Look, this isn’t a movie just for kids. If you have kids, by all means, take them. They’ll have a blast, but I’m willing to bet you will too. Definitely go see this if you like any one or more of the following things: The Lego Movie, Batman lore, ribbings of popular characters, parodic humor, impressive CGI animation, well made kids films, or just a good, fun, and hilarious but clean film. I may have enjoyed it a little more than some people because I like Batman, but even people who don’t can still glean a ton of enjoyment.
I’m going to give Lego Batman a 91%.