“The Batman movie we need and deserve right now.”
With all the problems that Warner Brothers are having with their DC properties, it was fantastic to see the Lego Batman Movie do so well. Reprising his role from The Lego Movie, Will Arnett returns to voice Batman/ Bruce Wayne in one of the best on screen versions of the character. Warner Brothers have done a great job with the Lego franchises so far, especially since they can cross over different franchises and include a large number of their existing properties out side of DC. One of the best attributes of the Lego Movie was that it was a kid’s movie that appealed to adults, The Lego Batman Movie has a similar feel. Though it leans more of the childish humour there are still some very funny and clever moments that are targeted towards an adult audience.
The film begins by demonstrating the self-aware nature of the movie by highlighting the dangers of living in Gotham, the most crime riddled city in the world (What could go wrong?). The film then moves into a great action montage of all, and I mean all of Batman’s Rogues Gallery (Villains) attempting to destroy Gotham. This also mocks the nature of Batman’s Rogues, who are often thought as the best comic book villains by showing how many silly villains have existed over the years, such as the Condiment King. The clever montage shows Batman’s ability to beat the bad guys but not necessarily stop them. Batman can often save the day but the villains are able to escape until the next time they attack. This becomes a central theme surrounding Batman through out the film, which is a very deep concept for a children’s movie, and one not often explored in the live action films.
The beautiful thing about this movie is the way it is able to explore a different side of Batman not seen in other movies. If you examine the different iterations of Batman, we see different filmmakers take on the Dark Knight. The way Chris McKay was able to bring an element of truth to Batman by utilising his past as a reason for his actions through out the movie. We see that Batman pushes everyone away and uses humour and his ego as a coping mechanism for the pain of loss he experienced as a child. He uses crime fighting to stay busy and keep people out of his life rather than just avenging his parent’s deaths. This level of thought into Batman was only ever seen in Nolan’s movies where Bruce Wayne utilises his own fear against the criminals he fights. There is a reason people were blown away by a Lego movie and that is because the filmmakers got Batman. They also demonstrate an interesting dynamic between Batman and Robin that has not been seen effectively on screen until now. They develop an interesting dynamic between a man who only cares for himself and an orphan who just wants a family.
Now it is important to remember that this is a Lego Movie and therefore there will be an element of humour aimed towards children. Some of the humour worked and some of it felt like it took me out of the movie. An example of this is Barbra Gordon and how she went to Harvard for Police, a joke that comes up several times through the film. Comments from Batman like ‘I only have one butt’ are a similar example. None of the jokes are bad, but they may fall flat for some adults, and if you are in a cinema full of kids they will laugh a lot. The filmmakers also tried something interesting with the villains picked for the final conflict. Many of the ones they picked were from other Warner Brothers properties, which was interesting given that so many of the characters aren’t child friendly villains or from properties known to younger children. It still adds to the humour though, in particular when they bring in Voldermort from Harry Potter, who was played by Ralph Fiennes who voices Alfred in Lego Batman.
Where the Dark Knight highlighted Batman and Jokers relationship as ‘an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object’ Lego Batman puts an interesting new spin on it. The Joker believes they are in an exclusive Hero Villain relationship, which plays perfectly towards his interactions with Batman, as Batman explains he doesn’t have ‘one’ villain. This plays off the ideas put forward in stories like The Killing Joke that the Joker is Batman’s greatest enemy and that Batman and the Joker need each other. Even though Batman pretends not to care we see him obsessing over the Joker throughout the film.
Perhaps one of my favourite moments of the movie is the montage of all the previous Batman movies shot in Lego as Alfred recalls all the years they have been together. Not only was this a clever way to acknowledge all who came before, but also the response Bruce Wayne gives perfectly sums up the ego of the character “I have aged phenomenally”. I really enjoyed the montage that included Batman V Superman, 90s Batman and the 60s movie, it was a great look at the history of an iconic character.
I really enjoyed The Lego Batman Movie and the way it understands the character and makes fun of him. Anyone who is complaining about the tone of the DCEU and the need for Batman to be Darker or Lighter will love this because it finds the balance for the character perfectly and Will Arnett does an incredible job voice acting the role. If you liked the Lego Movie or are a fan of Batman make sure you do not miss The Lego Batman Movie. Here’s hoping we get a Lego Justice League or a Lego Superman with Channing Tatum as Superman next.
The Lego Batman Movie scores an 80%
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