“Life doesn’t give you seatbelts”: ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ Review

Posted in Screening Room by - February 12, 2017
“Life doesn’t give you seatbelts”: ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ Review

As a spin-off from the instant classic, The Lego Movie, Director Chris McKay’s The Lego Batman Movie works tremendously well but as a self-contained entity, it works even better.

Created with the same enthusiasm, energy, and sense of fun as The Lego Movie, this spin-off really is the Batman film that we need and deserve right now. It manages to send up the character, honor it and even poke fun at it in ways that are bold, innovative and just plain entertaining.

What The Lego Batman Movie manages to do incredibly well is deconstruct the mythos of the character by basically reinventing its 70+ year history. After discovering that he doesn’t need anybody, Batman (Will Arnett, in an amazing vocal performance) infuriates the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) so much that he devises a plan to bring out the worst villains of all time (they’re locked up in the Phantom Zone) and destroy Gotham once and for all.

One of the most amazing and surprising aspects about The Lego Movie was that underneath its main “hero arc” it also dealt with ideas such as self-awakening, brainwash, and many others and thankfully, The Lego Batman Movie continues that trend. Underneath its borderline satirical take on Batman, it also deals with the fact that Joker and Batman can never be apart from each (Joker just wants Batman to tell him he hates him, I mean he is the Clown Prince of Crime after all) or the idea that Batman doesn’t have to do everything by himself. There’s a beautiful message of family underneath the film that gets at the core of what Bruce Wayne/Batman has always wanted but hasn’t had since his parents died and that to not be alone.

The film also understands that Batman is a morally compromised hero; he is undoubtedly a vigilante with shades of gray. The Lego Batman Movie understands the flawed nature of the character in a way that hasn’t been depicted on screen since Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. It understands that he can be kind of a bad person to the people he loves because he is under the impression that he needs to do everything by himself, which ultimately isn’t true. McKenna’s film manages to be a fascinating reinterpretation of the character by staying true to the character and providing a wonderful reconstruction of the mythology for audiences.

Aside from the excellent portrayal and deconstruction of the mythology, The Lego Batman Movie also packs so many lovable and thrilling references to previous iterations of the character that it’s guaranteed to please fans the more times they watch it. Also, the tone is absolutely perfect (hey look it’s an insanely fun DC film that’s not all dark and brooding) and encompasses why it’s such a great reinterpretation of the character. It melds both incredible satire, wonderful heart, and sincerity that you can’t help but fall in love with the characters and the world that they’ve created.

The Lego Batman Movie also showcases its amazing cast by allowing them to play with their characters in great ways. Arnett is, of course, perfect as Batman but Michael Cera (hey look, it’s an Arrested Development reunion), Rosario Dawson and Ralph Fiennes are all delightful in their supporting turns. Even Galifianakis brings a manic energy but also a sympathetic heart to the Joker that distinguishes him from previous portrayals of the Joker.

Fun, joyful and full of charm, The Lego Batman Movie ranks as the best Batman movie since The Dark Knight; filled with visually stunning animation that compliments its smart and playful storytelling. Much like The Lego Movie, this spin-off is a hilarious, smart and incredibly entertaining piece of animation that packs in clever surprises but never forgets about what its characters represent.

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He is an avid movie fan and loves to write about movies perhaps a little too much. He also considers Casino Royale to be the best James Bond film ever made and he's ready to defend at any moment.
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