Directed by Chris McKay
Starring: Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson and Ralph Fiennes
With the current state of DC comic book movies in total disarray and chaos, “The Lego Batman Movie” might be the DC hero film we both deserve AND need.
Building on the success of 2014’s surprise hit “The Lego Movie,” Chris McKay’s Lego Batman spinoff is both a triumphant homage and a hilarious roasting of Gotham’s Dark Knight. It’s a love letter to the famous Caped Crusader while also ripping on Batman’s more absurd personality traits.
Taking place in Lego Gotham, “The Lego Batman Movie” tells the story of the Lego Dark Knight who fights evil Lego villains such as Lego Joker, Lego Catwoman, Lego Bane and Lego Clayface to fulfil his own narcisstic belief that him and only him can defend Lego Gotham against Lego injustice. But deep down it’s a cry for help as Lego Batman is secretly very lonely and is afraid to be a part of a Lego family again.But after accidentally adopting Lego Dick Grayson (who eventually becomes Lego Robin) his Lego world turns upside down as he starts to come to grips with the fact that maybe he doesn’t have to be lonely anymore. Meanwhile Lego Joker is obsessed with Lego Batman not giving him the attention he feels he deserves and now plots to destroy Lego Gotham to prove his point.
(Total “Lego” word count: 18)
Like “The Lego Movie” the most charming thing about “The Lego Batman Movie” is its clear love for its source material and self-awareness of the fact that this is a film featuring characters in toy bricks. There’s a child-like joy the writers and director are clearly having with this concept and its contagious throughout the film. Just try sitting through either film without feeling tempted to buy Legos.
The film makes numerous jokes and nods to the universes its parodying that both fans and haters of DC alike will enjoy with both subtle and not so subtle jabs at the DCEU playing hilariously throughout the movie.
Like the 2014 film, one of “The Lego Batman movie’s” strength’s is its near perfect voice acting cast.
Will Arnett, one of the many high points of “The Lego Movie” in 2014, has steadily made his way toward the top of the voice acting mountain as one of the best in Hollywood between this film and Netflix’s “Bojack Horseman.” Arnett continues to deliver the best lampooning of Batman to date mocking Bruce Wayne’s very real narcissism and inferiority complex that the character has been known for.
(What a lovely, lovely singing voice…)
Meanwhile Michael Cera steals the show in his own way as Batman’s Boy Wonder, Robin, gleefully bouncing around the scenes as Bruce Wayne’s biggest fan. Zach Galifianakis also delivers as one of the better, more unique takes on the Joker to date as Gotham’s Clown Prince is portrayed as more a jilted lover to Batman than an anarchist, psychopathic clown as he is usually.
With all this hilarity in tow, the film still manages however to tell a very relevant to the character Batman story. The Caped Crusader has always been a strange, narcissistic loner throughout his history. Even in “The Dark Knight” the fact that Bruce decides that its ok to spy on the people of Gotham to find The Joker because he employs someone who he alone trusts to handle it is kind of nuts. Even Batman stories where he does work with friends like “Batman: Hush” and “Batman: The Animated Series” there’s always this lingering sense of resentment he has for those closest to him, because of the loss of his family. “The Lego Batman Movie” manages to ask this question of “Why is Bruce such a God damn loner? Why can’t he just accept other people’s help?” and it’s kind of brilliant for fans of the character even if the setting is more absurd.
(Suuure you weren’t, Bruce)
“The Lego Batman Movie” is the perfect parody of DC comics’ most popular hero (sorry, Superman) while also paying homage to the best parts of the character. If this film is any indication, Lego movies are here to stay and fans of both these fun tiny bricks and DC comics should be excited about it.
Compared to the 2014 film it might be slightly less memorable, especially without that overly catchy earworm, but make no mistake; this is going to be one of the best films of the year by the end of 2017 (better not snub it this time, Oscars…).
In any case, with the success of this new franchise, why not a Lego Superman movie with Channing Tatum in the future? Can’t be worse than “Dawn of Justice” at least…
5 out of 5
You know what? Why not just redo the DCEU completely in Lego bricks. That will solve it’s horrible narrative problems and poor script writing right? Right?