Anthony's Film Review
The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
If you want Batman to make you laugh, here's a movie providing just that...
The Lego Movie in 2014 could've been a one-time stand-alone movie, but given how the big Hollywood studios want to stay big (or more likely, grow even bigger) by milking a money-making idea to death, it's no surprise that The Lego Batman Movie would follow three years later. In fact, don't be surprised at all that there will be a Lego movie series. I know this because I saw a poster for The Lego Ninjago Movie right before walking into the theater to watch The Lego Batman Movie, and I watched a trailer for The Lego Ninjago Movie before The Lego Batman Movie began. Basically, name any pop culture franchise, and you will see it get Legoed eventually.
If you've seen The Lego Movie already, you know its visual style and storytelling pace: a world where everything is made of Lego toy blocks, and all the scenes, especially the action scenes, move fairly quickly. The Lego Batman Movie (and I expect every future Lego movie) is exactly that. There is one thing, though, that is somewhat unique about this movie: the main character here is quite funny. Will Arnett provides a deep voice for Batman/Bruce Wayne that simultaneously personifies the character's edginess and makes fun of the character's self-centeredness. You can give Lego Batman corny lines to say and he'll likely generate a chuckle or two. The character is also funny as we, for the first time, become aware of his soft emotional side.
Making the movie even funnier is the story. The main reason I enjoyed The Lego Batman Movie is because it is not simply a remake of any previous Batman movie in Lego form. In fact, the only real connection to the live-action Batman movies is a quick scene that references all of them (plus the 1960s Batman television show). Otherwise, the plot is fairly original. When I say original, I mean that it's silly to the point where no live-action Batman movie would follow this story. The way I see it, the writers for this movie approached the story the same way many kids play with Lego toys: the conventions of the Batman universe are taken apart and then reassembled in newer ways as well as combined with elements that normally don't match. The result is that this Batman movie is the only one to date that features Alfred the butler in a retro Batsuit, Batman watching a Tom Cruise movie, certain Batman villains momentarily becoming Batman's allies, and the Joker enlisting the forces of King Kong, the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, and Sauron from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Overall, what you have is a silly unconventional plot with exaggerated epic action and Batman actually learning what it's like to have a heart. In case it isn't obvious before, the targeted audience consists of hyperactive people who like to see things move quickly. Expect to see corny but funny dialogue followed by or occurring alongside action scenes, all in a matter of seconds. Movie watchers wanting to slowly take in a movie can pass on this one. For the rest of us, this movie delivers a silly good time.
The Lego Batman Movie isn't the greatest, but it's far from the worst. After this movie, I think the Lego movie formula will be another franchise that Hollywood will milk to death. So I hope future Lego movies continue to be entertaining while doing new things to stay fresh. For now, I'll at least say that The Lego Batman movie may not be a live-action Batman movie, but it's still way better than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. (Come to think of it, would that movie benefit from getting the Lego treatment? Maybe. Then again, maybe not.)
For more information about The Lego Batman Movie, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my review of The Lego Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie.