Review: The Lego Batman Movie
By: Willden Doherty
When moviegoers saw The Lego Movie, they experienced something new. It got everyone saying “Everything Is Awesome!” by the time they left the theater. The film had incredible animation, story, and characters. I am happy to say that trend continues with The Lego Batman Movie.
Will Arnett reprises his role as the caped crusader in this spinoff and perfect voices the character as he did previously. Batman is still broody and continues to talk about how amazing he is. Michael Cera makes his debut as Robin, who is a scene-stealer multiple times throughout. He portrays the innocent and child-like attitude that is reflective of early comic incarnations. Zach Galifianakis does a serviceable job as The Joker. He manages to show a more vulnerable side to the character than we have seen before. Rounding out the main cast is Ralph Fiennes as Alfred and Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon. Both versions of these characters are a little bit of a departure from what we have seen before. They do, however, manage to keep qualities of the characters we love.
The animation shines in the film and gives some great actions sequences. The opening action sequence is a standout. So much in film happens on screen at one given moment that it will take multiple viewings to catch everything. As is the case here, there are a variety of sight gags either in the forefront or hidden behind the characters in a scene. The amount of references to Batman lore in this movie is also amazing. There are jokes related to film, TV shows, comics, and any pop culture reference you can think of. The film manages to balance the humor well enough so that those who miss out on these inside jokes won’t feel left out at all.
What is surprising about the film is how well the story is laid out. You can see how lonely Batman always was and there is a feeling of sadness. The story even makes the Joker resonate with the audience, which doesn’t sound like a good thing, but it works. There is a theme of family and connection that Batman struggles with. Characters who haven’t been in the spotlight for years get a moment to shine. There are some returning characters as well, but not necessarily ones you might think. That is what these Lego movies excel at. They give you something familiar, but find new and creative ways to make an entirely new experience.
As far as the music goes, there isn’t one particular song that is as strong as “Everything Is Awesome.” However, there are more original songs in The Lego Batman Movie than in its predecessor and they have fun lyrics and beats. The original songs are all great even though you might forget them after the movie. Where this film differs from the other Lego movie is the use of known pop music. Michael Jackson’s music is sprinkled throughout because that is Batman’s favorite artist. It is never really explained why, but it somehow doesn’t seem out completely out of place.
The Lego Batman Movie proves a side character from another film can work as a main player. When done right, you will get the same feeling of care and dedication to making a great product. Overall, it might not be as good as The Lego Movie, but is not far behind in terms pure entertainment value. This is another success in what seems like a growing cinematic universe for the Lego team.