It’s a Batman movie, so obviously it’s an instant 10/10. Thanks for coming, drive home safe.
Ugh. Fine, I’ll be objective.
The Lego Batman Movie is a spin-off of the character “introduced” in The Lego Movie, again voiced by Will Arnett. This time around Batman must stop the Joker from destroying Gotham City and must also learn the true meaning of friendship (because, life lessons!). Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson and Ralph Fiennes also lend their voices as Chris McKay, best known for his work on Robot Chicken, directs.
The Lego Movie was a manic, colorful surprise back in February 2014 thanks to the wonderful comedic style of writer/directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the directors of the Jump Street series (and producers of this film). Their awkward, overly-giddy, rapid-fire humor worked perfectly and not only made us forget we were watching a 90 minute commercial for Legos, but gave us one of the better animated kid’s films of recent years. Their same kind of comedy remains here, and thanks to Will Arnett’s dedicated performance, some very clever writing and beautiful animation, The Lego Batman Movie is a worthy brick added to the series.
Right from the opening credits you know exactly what kind of film you’re in for and it’s wonderful. The opening sequence itself likely is the highlight of the film, full of colorful animations, great music and the random Lego humor that made the original film so great (one running gag about people shooting guns and making a “pew!” sound never got old). Arnett isn’t the best Batman we’ve ever had, nor is he even the best Batman portrayed in the last 12 months, but his love of the character is clear and he makes it his own. The writers all know their Batman and come up with some brilliant references and meta jokes, even if sometimes the self-brooding and “I work alone” bits get a bit old and make it hard to fully empathize with the character.
Each actor does a great job, in fact, and all are perfectly cast. Many have to voice characters currently involved in the DC Cinematic Universe (like Channing Tatum’s Superman or Ralph Fiennes’ Alfred) but they put their own spin on them and don’t necessarily try to keep things canon.
The plot can get a little muddled at times, and after the amazing opening sequence I was worried that the film would not be able to keep up the same energy level the entire time (and I was right, it runs out of steam by the climax). And much like The Lego Movie the climax is drawn out a little long and becomes a mess of explosions and spastic jumping around, but kids will be distracted by the pretty colors so I’m sure I’m the only one who cares about all that.
The Lego Batman Movie is honestly the perfect family film, because just like with Pixar’s finer works it is able to write jokes for kids with pandering and add in some humor for adults without being inappropriate. As a Batman fanboy I was overwhelmed with the dedication and appreciation the filmmakers have for the Caped Crusader and his lore. Is it a genuinely great film like, say, Zootopia? No, but Lego Batman does manage to stay entertaining without wearing out its welcome for most of its 104 minutes and can be enjoyed by people of all ages. And sometimes, that’s enough.