The Lego Batman Movie Reviews
The Lego Movie was great, really creative, had some great humor, an intriguing plot. So I had high expectations.
This movie is probably the most purely children's movie I recently got to see (among movies like Moana, Zootopia, and Kubo). A giant portion of this movie's humor was simply specifically tailored for kids. Lazy jokes, overdone jokes, uninspired jokes, just cheap laughs that kids would really enjoy. I guess I got spoiled by other animated movies. Not that it's bad because it's made for kids, it's just that I didn't expect it to be purely for kids. Thought the humor would be more thought out.
The plot was silly as fuck, they made batman a giant buffoon, a total joke. Had him make some uncharacteristically stupid decisions (some others actually did make sense according to the comicbook character). The plot actually completely contradicted itself at one point (have the basic villains fight the bigger villains as aid).
The talent they got in this movie was completely wasted. The only people that got to somehow shine a bit were (obviously Will and Michael Cera). Oh, Alfred was a good performance too. The rest might as well have been unknown actors. Generic as fuck.
Hey, at least the visuals were great. The music was kind of unnoticeable. Just generic Batman themed stuff.
I'm already forgetting a ton of things that happened in this movie. Utterly forgettable.
THE LEGO BATMAN
I'm one of those poor saps who didn't have Lego growing up... I had everything else but I never got a Lego set piece! Basically, I had no childhood and I see myself someday buying on a rant a bunch of Legos just to compensate that absence. In all truth, I only began to discover the essence of these bricks and their purity a handful of years ago. After the success of The Lego Movie, the studio did what's done best in Hollywood: drag it and make it even more profitable. It's always fascinating to watch the trailer for a sequel before seeing the previous movie and Lego Ninjago seems another push in that cow's udder. I get that every studio wants a chance of building its cinematic universe but this seems a little rushed. There should be time for the Lego Batman to breathe before a trailer for the next feature film is released because, if the novelty wears off too soon, people will stop caring. This new film, alongside with the original, if anything else, is a robust lesson on the power of copyright and trademark. Lego acquired several intellectual properties to build an enormous universe and that not only is in accordance to the rest of the brand, but also allows the creation of an impressive franchise. What's more, the film's script is extremely funny, it moves fast and hits its target audience right on the nose. It captivates you top to finish and it's seldom dull. It rides on the success of Deadpool, showing some degree of self-awareness that brings most of the humour. However, this self-referential component is sometimes used too freely, being used to excuse many cliches which makes it hard to tell apart lazy from smart writing. If you'll remember, in the end of the first movie, you discover that the film was actually a kid's play session. I think that relying on this concept gives creators too much liberty to conduct the plot however they like and, when all is immoderately convenient, it loses credibility. It may bid well when you're playing with Legos but thinking about plot and film is a whole different business. It also lacks the rich undertones of the previous movie which I wasn't quick to judge as a masterpiece and it wasn't deservedly nominated (though it got nominated in Best Original Song). In the end, it's a thrilling joyride and, though it's hard to admit, it's acutely likable. It condenses the meaning of the word Lego, which is "play well" in a childlike way. It's clearly entertainment for the masses, but at least it's well made.
Weaknesses: The Joker is an iconic character with some great voice actors. Zach Galifianakis is not one of those. It wasn't outwardly bad, it just didn't feel like the Joker. While I got a kick out of the references to the history of Batman, it's something that won't work for all viewers. If you're unfamiliar with the franchise, these jokes may not hit for you. My biggest gripe with the film was the ending. Joker's plan actually went well in destroying Gotham, but it gets patched together so quickly and wrapped up so neatly that it feels unearned. I get that animated movies are to end on happy notes, but this didn't work for me.
Overall: It's Lego and it's Batman. What's not to love? This is a truly funny film with some great nods to the history of the subject matter. It told an interesting story that was fitting of the Batman/Bruce Wayne character. It's great for Batman fans and kids alike.
Great pacing, great plot, great characters... this is a super fun movie that doesn't just rely on redemptive violence. Beating up the bad guy doesn't solve all our problems. Sometimes we need to go a bit deeper - and this movie definitely does that.
I recommend this for all ages. Great movie.
Batman has always been a favorite character of mine. This has largely been his ability to get his hands dirty but keep the overall ideals in place even as he faces the menacing psychopaths in a city riddled by crime. The struggle of the character is the dual personality of the playboy billionaire Bruce Wayne and dark violent Batman. Batman always fascinates me and he toes the line often between good and evil. Lines are often blurred in his universe and it is understandable the lengths he goes to in his pursuit for a greater Gotham. Sometimes, it begs the question why he even tries in a city so damaged in its reputation and its embrace of the criminal underbelly. His presence in the city is imposing despite the stronghold of the villains and bureaucracy of the law. However, this leaves behind a lot of broken relationships as Batman fears someone will get hurt by being too close to him. Again, this is an understandable fear but it is not expressed as openly as this film.
The picture early on explores this fear but Batman is reluctant to admit he does not want others to get hurt by their involvement with him. Will gives a deadpan performance as Batman and digs into the inner turmoil of Batman. His performance pokes fun at himself for his need to be a one man wrecking crew while also infusing him with more heart throughout the course of the film. Irreverent jabs at Batman's dark and sinister side but also shows Batman's underlying craving for support and love of others. Rosario gives a fun and strong counter point to Batman's controlling nature. Ralph is spot on as the butler Alfred Pennyworth and one of the few voices Batman will listen to and with good reason. Michael Cera also makes a performance as the frequently peppy Robin which the screenwriters take pointed jabs.
Nothing is really safe from the screenwriters of this film. The need for Batman to be everything dark in psyche and in personal taste is a major take for jokes. The past of Batman and his failures results in some true and hilarious quips. Joker is reminded of his past failures in previous films and I found it humorous as it was another take on his exploits. Warner Brother's properties such as King Kong and Lord of the Rings make an appearance showing the irreverent nature of the story.
Writing also does its job to show Batman as more of a human and not flawless with the example of the Boy Scout Superman. Another reason to love Batman is his ability to fail but still push on and he is more relatable than any other super hero. His ultimate sacrifice is often himself but it shows in this movie it is more about relationships. Batman despite his abilities still needs the help of others even the overly giddy Robin. One of the beauties of the movie is the writing and showing Batman's slow development to accept the help of others.
This realization takes a while and fittingly the Joker concocts a plan forcing Batman to accept what he could not do in the past. The sense anyone needs a support system even Batman is a common theme running to the end credits. Symbiotic relationship between Batman and Joker is put to humorous effect. They have always needed each other despite their differing moral values.
Visuals pop with the fun of everything exploding in blocks. This creates a fun atmosphere but reminds you how creative Legos can be. The world created is stunning given the difficulties of computer graphics mixed with the block nature of Legos. There are some beautiful moments where they support the emotional weight of the story.
My biggest complaint is the Joker develops an ingenious plan but the ending forces everything to be rectified so well. There are many animated movies where the ending did not necessarily end happily but it satisfied the characters' story arcs. It felt rushed and hastily done to an otherwise heartfelt movie. The message was very important but it could have been delivered with a less sweet ending.
Another complaint is the referential nature of the movie. A knowledge of characters from other movies is necessary to appreciate some of the jokes. A problem exists if you do not know these characters and I did not feel characters from other franchises were necessary in this movie. Batman has a rich enough history and wealth of characters where there should be no shortage of possibilities. If you watch the film, other characters make sense in the film but it should have been from the Batman universe. This does follow in the tradition of The Lego Movie where multiple character universes are involved. Too many characters are a distraction and I felt it when they were introduced.
Overall, the movie was a very enjoyable ride with some touching scenes of Batman forced to confront his innermost fears. There is no fear of anyone but an angst of loneliness and losing the people he cares about. Will gives a charming performance as Batman and elevates the self-deprecating jokes of the writers. His Batman also has more heart than you expect in an animated picture and you get a chance to really care about him. The greatest power of this movie is its ability to never take itself too seriously while still delivering an important message about family. This is the latest interpretation of Batman and an exciting ride although it gets bogged down by the amount of the characters. A humorous love letter to Batman is worth another trip to the theater.