Movie Review | The Lego Batman Movie
Movie Summary: A cooler-than-ever Bruce Wayne must deal with the usual suspects as they plan to rule Gotham City, while discovering that he has accidentally adopted a teenage orphan who wishes to become his sidekick. (IMDb)
This film had quite a lot of work to do to count as a worthwhile entity in its own right: not just as a spin-off from the surprise success of The Lego Movie, but also to counter the negative reactions to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad - the Dark Knight did not have a good 2016.
Fortunately, this film isn’t all grim and gritty as Zack Snyder’s version of Batman, although the Lego version of the Caped Crusader really wishes it was. Instead, Batman is pretty much an annoying, bratty teen and it works perfectly.
It certainly helps that he is essentially the only character taking himself so seriously, with plenty of meta-commentary on how the idea of Batman really is a little silly and how ineffective he is considering all his enemies remain at large to keep coming back.
The references to the DCEU Batman, Nolan’s version, and all the others going back to the 1966 television show are great, as well as the sheer number of characters, both from Batman’s rogues gallery and the wider DC Universe. There’s a lot of love for the character as a whole in this film.
That does lead to one of the problems with the film, with so many characters and references leading to it feeling a little crowded. The story of the Joker trying to prove that he is Batman’s greatest villain while Batman himself struggles to accept others into his life is fairly simple, but it does occasionally feel like some character depth is lost just so another reference could be squeezed in.
Likewise, with so many characters, the action scenes get more than a little chaotic and there are moments when so much is happening on screen that it becomes visual white noise, with you just blanking out what’s going on until events settle down a little.
The last real criticism is that some of the jokes do feel a little strained, as if the large number of writers really liked a joke and didn’t want to cut it from the script, even if it doesn’t really need to be there. Really, that is just a nit-pick about the humour though, as the film is really, really funny and for every joke that falls short or feels strained, there are a dozen that will draw at least a smile, with plenty of laugh out loud moments.
Batman’s history, the Lego Batman’s immaturity, DC and superhero movies, even Hollywood blockbusters in general – the list goes on. Not even Marvel is safe, with a couple of shots at Iron Man in there too.
It should also be noted that, just like The Lego Movie, there are plenty of jokes in this film that will go completely over the heads of any kids watching, although they are sly enough that they will go unnoticed unless parents start laughing a little too hard.
Also, just as a personal thing, I like that Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are still bringing Jump Street to the Lego movies as Superman and Green Lantern respectively. If 23 Jump Street never ends up getting made, a Lego Superman/Green Lantern movie with those two would be perfect.
It is odd though, that there is no real reference back to The Lego Movie other than Batman’s continued status as a Master Builder meaning he can generally engineer a solution out of parts of the environment when needed.
That isn’t a real criticism though, The Lego Batman Movie is the best film to feature the Dark Knight since… well, The Dark Knight and will be a perfectly fun way to spend just over a hundred minutes of your time. Lego movies are two for two – can the streak continue?