The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
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The Lego Batman Movie continues its block-buster franchise's winning streak with another round of dizzyingly funny -- and beautifully animated -- family-friendly mayhem.
All Critics (293)
| Top Critics (54)
| Fresh (264)
| Rotten (29)
| DVD (2)
Emotion can reside in the unlikeliest packages. But there's not a lot of it on show here. The animation, however, is terrific and fans of the original should love it.
What's missing is any trace of 1980s-style punk cynicism to underpin the pop playfulness; instead, there's a complacency which is death to humour.
The Lego Batman Movie works precisely because it knows audiences are sick of its hero. It's a reassessment, an intervention, an effort to try and remember what's fun about him.
The sequel of sorts... is not quite as good, but at its best, it has the same whiplash wit and inspired freneticism.
The thing about a sequel or a spinoff, even a mostly fun one like The LEGO Batman Movie, is that it's hard to recreate enthusiasm and inventiveness. What was once new is now, already, routine.
Overall, The Lego Batman Movie offers enough action and silliness to enthrall children while providing sufficient pop culture and Batman-through-the-years references to keep adults entertained.
The voice actors all do a wonderful job, especially Arnett.
LEGO Batman is a little formulaic, but delivers enough laughs that it's hard to care too much.
It's more of a solid entertaining animated comedy rather than a game changer.
The Lego Batman Movie doesn't quite scale to the heights of its predecessor, but that's OK. On the strength of a funny script, some dynamite performances, a great look and a joyous sense of play, the movie stands perfectly well on its own.
(A) delightful send-up ... amidst the well-known mythos of the Dark Knight ... if you don't take it too seriously (the film sure didn't), you'll have a great time.
Instead of going darker, The Lego Batman Movie goes several shades lighter - and proves to be an even more revolutionary approach to portraying the iconic caped crusader than Christopher Nolan's revered Dark Knight trilogy.
[i]'What am I gonna do, get a bunch of criminals together to fight the criminals? That's a stupid idea'[/i]
So in the Lego universe, an unknown distance (at this point) away from what we witnessed in the first Lego movie, the city of Gotham exists. Within this city Batman and his allies battle the forces of evil on a regular basis, except on Sundays maybe. The forces of good have gotta have a day off right?
Well as usual it looks like the Joker is at it again with his criminal cohorts and their naughty antics. Whilst trying to detonate a bomb under Gotham City, Batman and Joker face-off. Unwittingly Batman appears to destroy the Joker's delicate feelings when he starkly informs the Joker he isn't his arch nemesis. In fact he doesn't even need the Joker, the criminal isn't as important in Batman's life as he thinks. This hurts the Joker more than anything that has come before and causes him to review his strategies. The Joker plans to show how important he is to Batman, how vital he is in Batman's life, and this will require a cunning plan of deception.
What I really loved about this movie was the raw exposure of Batman's life, his true existence. And by that I mean the fact he's essentially a bit of a loser, a loner, clearly narcissistic, a manic depressive, has maybe a touch of OCD and is quite possibly a bit unhinged. Bottom line we see right away that Batman does indeed need his enemies to survive, he does indeed need the Joker to give his life purpose. This is highlighted fantastically with the sequences in the Batcave where we see vast open spaces filled with technology and gadgets that could be used by a team of superheroes. Then again in Wayne Manor where we see Batman rattling around in large echo filled rooms all by his lonesome, except for the aging Alfred.
I loved the small bits where we see Batman preparing his lobster dinner, then eating it on his own. He then proceeds to his own personal cinema to watch his favourite Tom Cruise movie ('Jerry Maguire') on his own. His laughter again echoes around the empty room exposing his self-imposed solitary confinement. Its also during these sequences we start to see some of the sweet references to all the previous Batman movies. Admittedly they did kinda look the same (unavoidable) but I simply couldn't help but smile as I saw the brief visual flashbacks from every Batman movie in Lego form (except the 1966 movie which was live action).
Its these references to other movies, TV shows, modern pop culture and the humour that, for me, made this movie so enjoyable. Essentially the plot wasn't important, it didn't really need to be, and besides, it was always gonna be the same spiel anyway. This movie was basically a chance to look for easter eggs and have a laugh, and with that I wasn't disappointed. This movie is loaded with obvious and not so obvious nods to so many things. I liked how in between some scenes we saw the classic spinning Batman logo from the 1966-68 Batman TV series. The legendary shark repellent makes an appearance (again from the 66 Batman movie). There are naturally many recognisable Batman suits to be seen in the background at various stages. At one point we see the Burton Batmobile and Nolan Tumbler. The classic John Williams 1978 'Superman' score is used very very briefly and we also get visual nods to Jor-El (in Brando form) and Zod (in Terence Stamp form). There are many lines of dialog from previous Batman movies used here such as [i]'where does he get all those wonderful toys?'[/i]. There are also many many tiny nods with names being used, visual appearances, links to comics and the animated series etc...I could go on.
Another thing that I really loved was the inclusion of so many supervillain characters. Something that could normally be seen as a bad sign and set off alarm bells, works just fine here. Why? because the plot is daft and meaningless and its all about the comedy and visual recognition. Yes we see a shit load of villains who have literally nothing to do but be seen in the background or say one line or complete one task. Who cares! in this movie it just doesn't matter because its literally like watching a child play with his toys (ala the first Lego movie). The fun part is firstly just seeing all these wacky characters in Lego form, secondly then Googling their Wiki to find out more about them. Zebra-Man? Kite Man? Clock King? Condiment King? Calendar Man?? Seriously??? I love it!!
One little niggle though, something I didn't really get or like. All the villains in the Phantom Zone were villains/baddies (dinosaurs?) from other movies such as 'Jurassic Park', 'Gremlins', 'Harry Potter' and the old Universal monster movies of the 20's - 50's. Why? I don't get why they used these characters because it kinda took me out of the whole superhero vibe of it all. Of course I know its because Lego covers virtually everything and if they can use the license they will, but I just didn't like that idea. Why couldn't they just use more from the huge catalog of DC characters? And why wasn't Zod, Ursa or Non used as main villains? They show Zod but don't utilise him which was an odd choice frankly. I'd much rather see him used than Dracula for heavens sake. Also, why does the Joker look more like a demon? He has pointed teeth and again an odd choice in hairstyle.
This did all lead me to ask myself one thing though, seeing as the first Lego movie established this Lego universe as merely a young boys imagination (I believe that's how it went if I remember correctly). Does this mean that everything in this movie is also merely a young child's imagination? Would it be the same child? Seeing as this is a spin-off and linked to said original movie, I must assume its all a child's imagination at playtime.
Anyway that aside, I did enjoy this movie, more so than the first Lego movie methinks. The voice work from the multitude of actors was again spot on (just like the first movie). Obviously Will Arnett as Batman wins hands down because its just so damn amusing to hear Batman talk about regular everyday stuff in that gravelly macho voice. It all looks sharp, colourful and gorgeous. That Lego stop motion animation is so endearing although a tad frenetic at times, and the comedy overall is pretty much pitch perfect. There's stuff for the kids, stuff for the adults and plenty of stuff for the fanboys and nerds. Normally I'm not the greatest fan of modern pop culture references and trendy in-film songs, especially on overload. But this movie shows how it can be done well without being annoying.
Not only is "The Lego Batman Movie" another immaculately crafted and highly entertaining bit of cross promotion that has no right being as good as it is; it also truly gets the "Batman" mythology and sends up "The Caped Crusader" is effortlessly hilarious and creative fashion. It may not reach the level of "The Lego Movie's" existential twist, and you may need to do a little Bat Research in order to get the most out of it's endless Easter Eggs, but "The Lego Batman Movie" is a worthy follow-up that's wacky, irreverent fun and the best Batman flick this side of Nolan!
Not as clever and neatly written as the original Lego Movie, but retains the same style of charm, humor and animation that made it great.
The drama and emotion portrayed was all overly contrive though, it's just too mechanically written to make ends meet for Batman's character progression. This wouldn't be such a glaring fault if it were not pivotal to the story's plot.
I hope this isn't an example of Lego movies to come, there are signs of lazy, formulaic production that squander the creative genius of the original.
Without these comparisons Lego Batman is certainly acceptable family entertainment, but where do we draw the line and accept that this franchise is aiming to be good, when it could be great?
The Lego Batman Movie is first and foremost about the Caped Crusader. He's once again articulated by Will Arnett. His absurd rendition stands in stark contrast to the dark and brooding iterations of the cinematic adaptations since 1989. Nevertheless, his goofy performance ranks up there with the very best. It's a clever choice that his Arrested Development co-star Michael Cera voices Robin. The cast is spirited. Rosario Dawson is the new police commissioner, Barbara Gordon. Ralph Fiennes is Bruce Wayne's loyal butler. Zach Galifianakis is the Joker. Even Mariah Carey plays a character. The whole production is agreeable fun. If there's a quibble, it's that the story is merely a perfunctory excuse to make wisecracks. Even as the narrative sags in the 2nd half, the action continues to zoom forward in an increasingly eccentric fashion. It plays for 15 minutes too long. Still, there are enough left-field references and rapid-fire gags to entertain. In fact, it's tough to catch them all the first time around. I just might be willing to see it a second time.
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