The Batman and Joker we deserve and need
When Lego Movie came out a few years ago, there was the perception that it was just another kid’s movie and a transparent marketing ploy for Legos. Which it was…however, it was much more than that. It was a brilliant movie for people of all ages with various assortments of memorable characters in Lego form combined with plenty of meta and social commentary. Not only did it tackle the issues of fascism and religion expertly, it may have predicted the Trump presidency as well? I mean, it’s hard not to think of President Trump when you watch Lord Business do his thing. It was a movie that I had to watch over and over again just to appreciate all its layers and get all its jokes. I loved all the characters in Lego Movie, but Will Arnett’s Batman definitely came close to stealing the show. So it was awesome that Lego Batman got his own spinoff movie and that it came out the same week as the drudgery that is 50 Shades Darker. It was a welcome alternative.
While there may be some debate about the direction of the cinematic DC universe, its animated properties tend to do very well. Lego Batman may have the same stigma as its predecessor, Lego Movie, that of being a kid’s movie, it actually is a well-rounded movie for everyone to enjoy. Plot wise, it’s your basic Batman story. Joker has a plan to try and destroy Gotham while Batman tries to save the day. What’s really cool is that almost every Batman villain and character that’s ever been created gets to show up in this movie. That’s the beauty of Batman and this type of movie. Batman has such a rich history that it is easy to parody a lot of the situations. Anything in Batman’s history is fair game to show up in this movie. We’re talking old comics to any of the movies. It’s hilarious. If you enjoy parodies then you’ll love this movie. The jokes are fast paced, sometimes to the point where it’s overwhelming, but that’s not a bad thing. If you missed a joke, don’t worry…another one is going to be served up real soon.
The animation of these Lego movies is always fun to see. It’s fascinating to see everything that is going on screen. There are so many details presented. Lego Batman is CGI but it looks like stop motion which is incredible. The voice acting is stellar. Will Arnett makes for a great Batman and he is complemented very well by Zack Galifianakis’s Joker. Speaking of Galifianakis, I must say it was really enjoyable seeing his depiction of the Joker. We’ve grown used to seeing Heath Ledger’s Joker depiction but this lighter version of Joker really works. Another great thing about Lego Batman is that it doesn’t ignore the Batman Joker relationship which has always been fodder for gay and romantic jokes. Which leads us to another thing….Lego Batman is not just about action…it’s about relationships. It’s not just one note, slapstick…there’s plenty of emotion in this one. All of Batman’s potential relationships with Robin, Alfred, and Commissioner Barbara Gordon are in jeopardy because Batman is such a loner. The fact that the movie touches on this makes it so well rounded.
If you’re a fan of Batman history you’ll appreciate all the nods to Batman’s past. It’s not just a solo Batman movie either. Everyone gets a chance to shine…Alfred, Robin, Batgirl…I mean the list goes on. That the creators of this movie were able to pack so much in is an incredible feat. I still think Lego Movie is a better, deeper movie. The meta humor is present in Batman but not quite on the level of Lego Movie. This is totally fine. That movie had a different tale to tell and Lego Batman is focused more on his universe. If there is a critique of this movie, it is that it kind of slows down between the second and third act before picking back up. Other than that, you definitely get your money’s worth. This movie is quite a remarkable achievement that is worth watching several times to appreciate.