Quick Hit: Frantic and full, this iteration of Batman may be one of my favorite Bat films.
When you’re a kid, there is a lot less that a movie needs to do to be exciting or one of your favorites. If you’ve ever gone 15 years without watching a movie from your childhood, only to pop it in on a lazy Saturday afternoon, more often than not you’ll find yourself realizing that the movie you remembered as great is just a standard children’s film, with a predictable plot that is often glazed over with fancy colors and lame jokes.
I kind of remember the infamous Batman and Robin that way. Joel Schumacher’s much maligned film came out in 1997 and so I was probably seven when I first saw it. Looking back, it’s easy to see what a kid would like – the movie essentially transplanted the more kid friendly elements of the cartoon straight onto film, complete with jokes from Governor Arnold himself. Looking back, it’s not a good movie in the slightest, and you almost feel a bit dirty after watching it if you consider yourself a Batman purist.
However, there is more than one similarity to that travesty when you are watching The Lego Batman Movie. The both revolve around the fact that Batman cannot do everything alone. Essentially he needs to accept his desire and need for a family, and allow them to help him complete his mission. The good thing? This time they got it all right.
Batman is a tragic character. We’ve had years of animation, comics, and live-action movies tell us that over and over. So it’s easy to satirize what he went through, because it’s something more than half the planet knows the story of. Here, every bit of the screen is filled with the Bat’s past – whether it’s villains that just quite don’t make the cut of his typical Rogue’s gallery, or an Adam West (RIP) dancing Batman, there is almost nothing that doesn’t get a call out here. And it’s fantastic, and funny, and dazzling in its ambition.
Will Arnett continues to shine as Batman. His gruff voice gives just enough of a Christian Bale vibe for you to smirk slightly. Since we saw him before in The Lego Movie, I expected his greatness. What I didn’t expect was how great the cast around him would be. I really enjoyed Zach Galifianakis as the Joker. He felt right in the role, and really had to carry the show and the jokes for a while. They were delivered with the same glee that Jack Nicholson gave his lines nearly thirty years ago (holy cow – I just realized it’s been nearly thirty years since Michael Keaton was Batman… yikes). I was also really happy with Michael Cera. While his character was mainly played for jokes (really, really funny ones), his character also turned into the study of what a sidekick should be for a superhero. His character is the one that nearly approaches the heart of the original Lego Movie.
Admittedly, the movie doesn’t have the same heart that the original does. But I don’t think it’s really trying to. It does have its emotional beats – Robin and Batman share a particularly touching moment – but it’s more about the humor and the joy that seeing a Lego representation of one of humanity’s favorite heroes on screen. I’ll have to watch it several more times before I can even approach all the jokes that are stuffed inside it.
So sit down, warm up some lobster thermidor in the microwave and pop in this flick. Good thing there’s only one seatbelt – this will be a ride you won’t forget. I’m giving The Lego Batman Movie an “A-“.
For more on this movie check out IMDB.
For more like this, check out:
The Lego Movie
Batman V. Superman
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"