The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
A cooler-than-ever Bruce Wayne must deal with the usual suspects as they plan to rule Gotham City, while discovering that he has accidentally adopted a teenage orphan who wishes to become his sidekick.
I like movies that are aware of what they are selling... without [any] greater aspirations than to make people laugh and that's it.
It's complicated... I really like the directing, acting and writing but, there are issues with the way it's shot that I just can't deny. As much as I love the storytelling and the fantastic performance but, there are also certain scenes that didn't need to exist.
The performances transcend the film's tropes, grounding it in characters that feel more complete than this subgenre often produces.
It's funny, it's tense, it features two great performances from two actors and the director expertly creates a web of odd tension where you actually don't know what is happening for the majority of the run time.
While I did definitely have a great time watching this there are 2 major things about this film that really bother me, with that said let's talk about the awesome stuff. This is obviously made by the creators of The Lego Movie therefore we have really cool animation, creative designs for all the beloved characters of the DC universe as well as the unknowns, and a very clever childish tone. The voice acting really works to, consisting of Rosario Dawson as Batgirl, Zach Galifianakis as the Joker, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred, Michael Cera as Robin, and of course the best casting choice of them all, Will Arnett as Batman (I'll talk about him more in a moment), there are even tones of cameos from other celebrities and it's impossible to name them all. The hate-relationship between Batman and the Joker is a very unique and clever concept that's never been done before in a Batman movie alluding to the self-awareness that the film loves to poke fun at which can result in a lot of funny break-up and get-back-together moments. Robin's adorable innocence is always a welcoming highlight whenever he's onscreen making it very obvious that he's a child who can do literally anything you tell him, even in reverse. The film is also filled with lots of references to other DC properties, such examples include Alfred discussing the different phases Batman went through for the past 50 decades while shots from different movies that came each decade made with Legos appear (as shown in the trailer) which is talked about again by Batgirl showing the other famous shots from the previous media Batman has been in, the collection of Batmobiles Batman has in the Batcave, Billy Dee Williams voicing Two-Face after only being able to play Harvey Dent in Tim Burton's Batman, mentioning the Suicide Squad, and of course Batman having the famous Shark-Repellent Spray. Batman's portrayal in this film is one of my all-time favorite portrayals of him thus far, the writers are basically making fun of him by having him as a greedy, egotistical, narcissist who can't handle anybody but himself winning in everything which is exactly how I see him, I dare say he's making all other famous and beloved franchises out there look bad because it doesn't seem like anybody cares about anything other than him, and this film almost perfectly represents that. But if I were to say what the best part of the film is, it has got to be none other than the opening, the film opens up with Batman narrating and addressing lots of cliches we get in all movies such as company logos appearing, dramatic music, and films opening with a black screen, then it builds up a scheme all Batman's villains are plotting, while quoting and mentioning scenes from The Dark Knight and Tim Burton's Batman, Batman arrives in a disguise and as soon as he reveals himself he ends up defeating every single one of his villains all at the exact same time while singing a song he wrote that talks about how awesome he is, this scene is a perfect way to represent how much you love a certain property or character, sometimes I imagine watching this but with Spider-Man beating up his villains, I dare say that this scene almost as good as the opening title sequence of X-Men: The Animated Series. Although now it's time for me to address what ruins the movie for me which are 2 different things, 1. Batgirl, she's so unlikable and such a Debbie-Downer in this, constantly getting after Batman for every little thing she does, talking about being supervised and following the law, and complaining, this is the exact same reason why I hate Lois Griffin and Donna Tubbs. 2. The constant insults thrown at Superman in this, Superman is my favorite DC superhero and I even say he's the best superhero in the world and yet hardly anybody else in the world seems to agree with me, people seem to have forgotten that Superman was the first superhero ever created in history thus he pioneered the trend of superheroes, and yet in this film he's constantly made to look bad in this, aside from Batman making jokes about how he can beat Superman, saying he's better than him, and blowing a raspberry at him when he sees him on the news, what happens is Batman breaks into the Fortress of Solitude and destroys the crystals containing memories of Superman's family on Krypton as a means to steal the Phantom Zone Projector to prove to Batgirl he can put his villains away for good, and when he finally learns his lesson, he doesn't bother returning it to him, it gets destroyed and he doesn't even care, WHAT A JERK, he destroyed the only remaining memories of Superman's beloved parents Jor-El and Lara, stole a dangerous device Superman couldn't allow to get into the wrong hands and got away with it, that is one of the coldest thing I've ever seen Batman do. So overall this film does a fantastic job parodying some of many of our fond memories of what we grew up with, is able to reference stuff we love to talk about in a very clever and enjoyable way, have very cool visuals and animation, great voice acting, hilarious jokes, and one of the best openings to a film ever, but Batgirl's constant nagging and buzzkilling and the insults toward Superman make it impossible for me to say this is a "great film" or anywhere near as good as The Lego Movie.
The LEGO Batman movie is geared towards kids, but adults can get great mileage out of this movie, too. It mixes the spirit of Batman with with the childhood memory creator that is LEGO. In the movie, Batman finds out that Gotham City doesn't need him anymore, citing the lack of capture of Gotham's baddest villains. The new Commissioner Gordon takes over all crime fighting. Batman then unawaringly adopts somebody from the orphanage, one of his biggest fans who later becomes his sidekick, Robin. The Joker thinks Batman doesn't think he's his greatest enemy, so he sets out to prove that by releasing monsters from the Phantom Zone. Near the end, when the city separates, Batman convinces Joker to help him save the city, and the city of Gotham helps out as well.The movie has the allure of colors of LEGO for the kids, while older adults will appreciate the adult references and callbacks to prior Batman movies. The LEGO Batman Movie is something all ages can enjoy.
This movie is fun. It's just ridiculously fun. There are so many jokes crammed in one after the other that people of all ages will enjoy. That's the great things about family movies is their layers of jokes. There are so many moments where it makes fun of the source material throughout the ages and creates this self reflective jaunt through nostalgia and pop culture. The film has taken the increasingly dim, dark, and serious figure of Batman and flipped the gritty in reverse for a chance of some comics related media that children can consume without being horrified at the violence or the boring plot (sorry DC but your movies suuuuuuccckk).It tackles something other Batman films are Too Serious to tackle and that's Batman's isolationist attitudes, cold heart, and inability to reach out and trust others. It's really refreshing to see someone tackle toxic masculinity and unhealthy coping mechanisms - and even stranger to see it in a light hearted children's movie. Batman spends most of the movie resisting the idea that others are people he can let into his heart instead of obstacles or (at best) tools for his own purposes. His ego prevents him from helping himself. It's a good message and a central flaw of the Batman mythos we've all seemed to embrace (and spun as a heroic feature?).The movie is both absurd and moving. Two tonally different things that are difficult to mesh together but it manages it. There's so much in it to love and the Lego franchise is an unexpected gem in contemporary cinema. Just like the building blocks the movie takes inspiration from this will capture all the joy and imagination of childhood and creating a magical silly world where silly things happen, the stakes are ridiculous, the characters are all hyper and over saturated, and it's a nonstop rollercoaster of laughter.Great for all ages, even the bitter old fan boy who has been reading gritty Batman comics for decades.
The beautiful thing about a Batman parody via Legos? No back story or realism are required. It would seem that every joke and reference are teed up for you (not to mention a seemingly unlimited special effects budget). But this story actually would have benefited by being a bit more constrained. They did not need every WB villain of all time. They did not need to try SOOO hard. They did not need to undercut the suspense by making it clear Batman always wins. A simple Batman story would have worked. Anyway, I still laughed, but when the funniest lines are in the trailers...