It is quite clear from the start of ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ that the films intention is to spoof every thing that the Batman franchise has ever done in the movies (for the last 50 years or so). It pokes feverishly at the old Adam West movie that was based on the television show. It provides a decent amount of one liners that are lovingly ripped right out of Tim Burton’s movie and gauged just right. It gets the musical propulsion and the growl of Batman from ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’. And it delivers some really fun pokes at ‘Batman V Superman’ and ‘Suicide Squad’.
This kid friendly and light hearted version of Gotham certainly makes it rough to take any of it serious, but some really good writing and action scenes fill in the blanks. It also doesn’t hurt that the comedy comes so quickly and with so much love for the source material. Which is why I can’t imagine any Batman fan feeling left out by this movie. Especially, after so many of them seemed butt hurt by the darkness of the more existential ‘Batman V Superman’ last year.
The number one thing I remember reading last year when the ‘Batman V Superman’ hit the screen was a consistent problem with its darkness. There was barely a laugh to be found in that movie, and I had no problem with that. There were certainly some glaring plot holes (that were mostly fixed by the Ultimate Cut) and the odd addition of Batman’s dream within a dream, but I liked the way that movie used its heroes to explore the notions of how the world would react to a God on earth. However, it was missing a lot of the fun that the Marvel movies so easily display.
That is where ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ delivers big time. This movie is an absolute blast from beginning to end. The action sequences are loads of fun! All the cast of heroes and villains are a hoot! The music is exciting and even occasionally comical! And there is even a nice touch of heart and sweetness at the core of it all.
All this works so well because the writing team really seems to understand these characters and what people love about them. Now, I need to make it very clear that these characters are reminiscent of the other film incarnations and not that of the comics. This was the disconnect that audiences felt last year with ‘BvS’. Director Zack Snyder was more interested in a brutal version of Batman and the darker version of Superman that audiences had not seen. The characters that Chris McKay brings to life here will be very familiar to folks.
It also helps that he gives the plot loads of humanity for Batman to grapple with. Most of this comes in the consistent theme of family. Batman has never really accepted the idea of family after the loss of his parents and when Dick Grayson is thrown into his life it’s a bit of a wake up call. It takes him most of the film to realize it, but Robin, Alfred, and Barbra Gordon end up giving him the one thing he was missing most in life.
The last thing that must be covered is the amazing voice cast. Will Arnett returns as Batman and he is just as funny as he was in ‘The Lego Movie’. That’s no surprise, but we also get very fun work from Ralph Fiennes as Alfred, Micheal Cera as Robin, Rosario Dawson as Batgirl, Zack Galifianakis as Joker, Jenny Slate as Harley, and so much more. This film is a smorgasbord of talent from all ends of the spectrum and what they deliver is an extremely fun Batman movie. Who could possibly complain about that.