The LEGO Batman Movie Review

The LEGO Movie was such a surprise hit that it was only a matter of time before we got a sequel to it. Although we’re still waiting on that sequel, what we do get is a spinoff film starring the Caped Crusader himself. It’s not really that surprising because Batman is clearly one of the most popular comic book characters ever. Does The LEGO Batman Movie continue off of the success of The LEGO Movie or is this spinoff a film that should never have been spun in the first place?

Fortunately, The LEGO Batman Movie delivers laughs and entertainment through a barrage of pop culture references and gags. It may not be as good as The LEGO Movie but it’s still really good.

The LEGO Batman Movie follows Batman (Will Arnett) as he goes on a personal journey to find himself. In order to save Gotham City from the villainous forces of The Joker (Zach Galifianakis), Batman must discover the acceptance of family and the importance of working together as a team.

As a spinoff of The LEGO Movie, The LEGO Batman Movie doesn’t necessarily live up to the same playful quality as LEGO Movie but that doesn’t mean that it’s not very good. The LEGO Batman Movie still has the same type of humor that made LEGO Movie so memorable but like Batman himself, the film has a slightly more serious tone. Director Chris McKay brings his Robot Chicken experience to the table and is able to balance laughs, thrills, fun, and heart together with relative ease. Yet the film does suffer from some pacing issues because the 104-minute long film feels much longer.

Much of that has to do with the complex story to get Batman to realize that he’s not alone in this world. It’s not really surprising because The LEGO Batman Movie was written by five different writers (Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, and John Whittington) and the script slightly suffers from it. However, as many writers as there were, it’s amazing that the story is as coherent as it is. For an animated film, there’s a surprising amount of character development and layers between Batman and The Joker. The film takes a deep, intimate look at Batman. Everyone else provides an immense amount of heart despite being one-dimensional characters. But people are willing to look past that because of all the hilarious meta-references, one-liners, Easter eggs, and in-jokes that are in the film. Not to mention, all five writers seem to have built a better DC universe than its live-action counterparts.

What makes The LEGO Batman Movie so likable is the charming performance by the entire cast. Will Arnett is starting to establish himself as the go-to voice for LEGO Batman. Much like Kevin Conroy embodies the animated Batman, Arnett now embodies the LEGO Batman character. We know how funny he can be, but Arnett is able to show us how dramatic he can be too. He’s able to use his voice convey the misery that Batman’s trying to hide and through that pain, audiences will attach themselves even more to the character. Equally as impressive is voice work done by Zach Galifianakis. To be honest, the footage snippets of Galifianakis as The Joker did not impress but he impresses here. Instead of the psychotic anarchist that we’ve come to associate with the character, Galifianakis’ vulnerable portrayal of The Joker is a pleasant surprise. In a way, he’s able to make audiences care for the character too.

Ralph Fiennes and his recognizable British voice bring a bit of gravitas to the film as Alfred. He’s the perfect choice as Alfred. Michael Cera is adorable and very likable as Robin. In addition, he also brings much of the heart to the film. Rosario Dawson provides a bad ass, strong female performance as Barbara Gordon but doesn’t do much other than that.

Overall, The LEGO Batman Movie is a really funny and heart-warming film. Despite the film’s flaws, this film did more for Batman than the lackluster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ever did. Batman’s personal journey from loner to family man are the type of character moments that’ll stay with you. Who knew that LEGO mini figures can move you like that?

Rating: 4/5 atoms

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