The LEGO Batman Movie – Movie Review
Rating: A (Fantastic)
Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Warner Brothers Pictures
Batman has one of the most storied and legendary histories of any superhero, with so many different interpretations and eras for the Caped Crusader. That is what director Chris McKay and the team behind The LEGO Batman Movie use as a jumping-off point in this high-spirited and hilarious romp. Taking more than a few cues from the classic Batman television series with Adam West, but going in an even more ridiculous direction, this is a fast-paced adventure sure to lead to repeat viewings. Like its predecessor, The LEGO Movie, there are multiple jokes in each frame that even the most eagle-eyed viewer won’t catch on one cinema trip. However, there’s also a sincere love for the DC heroes and villains that makes this film extra special.
The beginning of The LEGO Batman Movie sets up not only the frequent meta-humour, as the jokes begin before the studio logos even start rolling. It also tackles the fun that comes from being a superhero, in sharp contrast to the more serious and brooding Batman of the films and even the animated series. Yet that loneliness that comes from being a billionaire with no parents succumbs to this LEGO version of the Dark Knight and that drives much of the heart here. Robin, voiced with utter glee by Michael Cera, becoming a part of his life sets off both a humourous and sweet chain of events. There is a real chemistry there, something that was missing in even the big-budget Joel Schumacher-directed Batman entries. The innocence with which Cera voices Dick Grayson plays a key role in making him so endearing.
The filmmakers also have a ton of fun with the villains and they make sure to include every single foe of Batman’s. For long-time Batman fans, there is an instant joy at seeing so many villains from his past arrive on the big screen in LEGO form. Meanwhile, novices will get a laugh out of the sheer number of ridiculous baddies the Caped Crusader has fought. There are so many of them that not everyone gets a chance to shine (Conan O’Brien’s Riddler and Billy Dee Williams, who finally becomes Two-Face after years of being denied the opportunity, sadly get few lines), but the attention to detail and willingness to include all of them is appreciated. The Joker gets a bulk of the screen time as he has his own story-arc which fits in with how long him and Batman have been fighting.
The action sequences have an incredible fluidity and stakes remain high. Chris McKay and the camera crew treat the film as if they were making a big-budget live-action blockbuster. However, they always remembers the characters are made of LEGO and a lot of fun is had out of the vehicles and buildings and Gotham City’s own infrastructure being made from the famous Danish toy. The rules and physics of the LEGO figures are always in check, even as the characters are jumping and fighting. The animation team and production designers do a tremendous job of making the entire world look like a believable play set. It’s easy to admire all of the work that went into The LEGO Batman Movie, even as the camera speeds through the various locations.
LEGO and Batman fans will probably find the most to appreciate here, but the film is not merely a string of in-jokes and gags making fun of the Dark Knight’s long history. There are jokes almost every second and if one doesn’t hit for a specific audience member, there is something more their cup of tea in the next frame. However, there is still a carefully thought-out story here and a surprising amount of emotion as Batman contemplates his role as a loner. The LEGO Batman Movie is a worthy addition to the character’s mythos and one of his best big-screen adventures.