Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Lego Batman Movie Review

Can we just get Will Arnett to be the new Batman from now on?

(Full disclosure; I'm just getting off of a very bad cold where I was bedridden for the better part of two days. Hence, this is going to be a shorter review. Thankfully I don't really have much to say about Lego Batman that hasn't already been said so... there you go!)

Has it really been three years since The Lego Movie came out? Seriously, The Lego Movie was surprisingly one of the best movies of 2014 to the point where people were vocally upset it didn't get an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. When was the last time you ever heard of a large controversy over the omission of an animated movie? Looking back at The Lego Movie, it still holds up really well today, both in terms of its great animation and its hilarious dialogue. So enter Lego Batman, a spinoff of The Lego Movie as well as an all together new Batman movie. And yes, this is one of the best Batman movies ever made, despite there being only two other Batman movies it had to compete with for that honor.

Unlike every other portrayal of Batman, the Batman here is a narcissistic child that never grew up. He thinks he's edgy and cool and that no one else is smarter or more awesome than he is. Essentially, he's an ass that doesn't really do well around others. That is until the Joker just surrenders. The Joker and all of Gotham's other villains give up, so Batman has nothing to do and no way to impress anyone. Batman knows that there's something going on though, so he hatches a plan to put the Joker into the Phantom Zone so he can never cause any harm again and become Gotham's hero once more. All the while, he has to deal with his new adoptive orphan Dick Grayson and the new police commissioner Barbara Gordon, both of whom just want to be with him and work with Batman.

I'll be upfront when saying that Lego Batman is undeniably hilarious. The jokes are rapid fire and work almost all of the time, and the animation lends itself to some great physical humor. But I think the reason why the jokes work so well is because we're watching different versions of the characters we love, but they're still recognizable. Batman is a narcissist, Dick Grayson is always obsessed with showing off how much he likes being adopted, and the Joker is shown more as a spurred lover than anything else. His whole planned is based around how much Batman doesn't want to admit he hates the Joker and how the Joker wants to be to Batman what Superman is to Zod. All of these relationships work and makes Lego Batman stand out from the crowd.

So I'm actually looking at this movie from two different fronts, as both a Lego movie and as a Batman movie, and the movie is great at being both. There's enough approachable humor here to satisfy kid friendly Lego fans, and enough action and drama to satisfy Batman fans. Obviously this is no Dark Knight, but Lego Batman isn't trying to be that thankfully. This isn't as dark and soulless as Batman v. Superman, where Batman was just shoved inside of a Man of Steel sequel to promote a new shared universe, but instead a light movie that just does its own thing and pokes fun at itself enough times so it doesn't feel forced. 

Are there any flaws that I can think of for this movie? None really to be perfectly honest. I mean sometimes the jokes don't land as well as they should and it's only so long until I can get genuinely annoyed at Batman for just not growing up, but that's all kind of the point. This Batman isn't supposed to be the Batman we know in love, but a satire of him. It pokes fun at how overblown DC has made Batman and it takes a lot of guts to show just how overblown the Batman love really is. 

At the end of the day I was completely satisfied with The Lego Batman movie. Maybe it's the copious amounts of Advil and medicine I've been taking, but I just can't muster any reason why I didn't like Lego Batman. It was funny, it had some great set pieces, and it showed that yes, Batman can have a lighter side and it isn't the end of the world because of it. Batman can joke around and be a joke, but still be a great character and a good superhero because of it. 

Also, Lego Batman beats 50 Shades Darker at the box office. That alone deserves high praise. 


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