The Lego Batman Movie
The Lego Batman Movie
Release Date: February 10th, 2017
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by: Chris McKay
Starring: Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, and Ralph Fiennes
So far, the Lego film franchise has built itself (get it?) on appealing to nostalgia while hanging lampshades on the fact that they're all plastic toys. The Lego Movie was not just a feat of computer animation, but brilliantly funny. It was quick, well-timed, and didn't shy away from poking fun at its own absurdity while also fully embracing it. As far as family entertainment goes, I would argue that it belongs in the Top 10.
The Lego Batman Movie takes us back to the same brick world where the first Lego movie took place. Lego Batman plays with the setting faster and looser than its predecessor: for one thing, the characters move with a lot more fluidity and creativity than the first movie, which tried to keep the pieces confined to their limited mobility. Second, while there are hints at the overarching conceit (and, slight spoiler for the first film, we are basically watching a kid's imaginative story during playtime), they're brushed aside in order for a different kind of twist that appears halfway through the movie: the appearance of even more "super villains."
The Lego Batman Movie takes this biting humor and silliness and applies it to the most popular comic book character created. The movie is a walking pop culture nerd's fantasy, packed to the brim with shout-outs, references, easter eggs, and cameos, cameos, cameos (After seeing the film, you should find a cast list of the various actors that lend their voices. You'll be amazed who shows up, if even for a few lines.) And nothing is sacred: Adam West's Batman, Robin's costume, Bane's voice, the romantic subtext between Batman and Joker, and the absurdity of some of Batman's lesser-known rogues are all lovingly parodied. And yet despite the humor and silliness, Lego Batman tries to plumb some emotional depths as well, centering the major internal conflict on his fear of losing loved ones and the terrible realization that Batman is, by all accounts, actually a villain.
Now the movie doesn't ever reach the emotional level of the first Lego movie, and any messaging that may have been attempted gets lost in the razzle-dazzle of the manic animation and quick jokes of the cast. The film doesn't surprise like the first Lego movie did with its big third-act reveal. Once the main conflict gets underway, it's easy to see where the beats are going to occur and it becomes predictable. That doesn't mean that it isn't thoroughly entertaining and worth the time of anyone who enjoys Legos, Batman, or a mix of the two. And even if you're not, the movie is definitely worth your time.