"The LEGO Batman Movie" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
The world of cinema has seen many different iterations of the iconic Batman character. We have the dark films from Tim Burton, the goofy and abysmal films from Joel Schumacher, and the even darker masterpieces from Christopher Nolan. But, we have never seen the type of Batman that is present in Chris McKay's "The LEGO Batman Movie". This satirical take on the cast of characters that occupy Gotham is hilarious, fun, and surprisingly heartfelt.
Practically every single Batman villain in history (including some made-up ones) are present in the opening sequence, hoping to blow Gotham up once and for all. They are led by The Joker (Zach Galifianakis), who takes joy in his constant battle with the Caped Crusader. However, like every other time the bad guys try to act on their devious plans, they are thwarted by Batman (Will Arnett), who sings heavy-metal while kicking some butt.
Batman and the new police commissioner, Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), are able to get the villains to submit and turn themselves in. Suspicious by this new development in the villains' story, Batman thinks Joker and his goons are in there on purpose, forcing him to start hunting for a new plan to stop the villains once and for all. Alongside his sidekick, Robin (Michael Cera), who he adopted on accident, Batman is now looking for any way to get rid of the Joker for good, therefore protecting Gotham from the most serious foes.
This film is absolutely hilarious, never failing to make me chuckle at the quick jokes and one-liners. Batman is this cocky, self-righteous douchebag who thinks he is the best thing since slice bread, and Arnett does a fantastic job of giving Batman this personality. I think the best comedic scenes are when he is present with Robin, who is perhaps the best character in this entire film. They share great chemistry together and are able to converse naturally and hilariously. I would go as far as to say this film is funnier than its predecessor, "The LEGO Movie".
Robin react steals the show in every scene he is in. He is absolutely adorable, and easily the fan-favorite character. Cera gives him this child-like innocence that practically radiates off the screen. I think Dawson and Galifianakis give great vocal performances as well, especially the latter who crafts this new, child-friendly version of the iconic character.
What I didn't expect was for this film to be as heartfelt as it was. They portray Batman as this unlovable character throughout the whole movie, but when we get into the final act, we start to learn Batman is just scared for anyone to get close to him, in fear of losing them like he did his parents. The film also shows the profession of Batman and Robin's relationship, showing how Batman feels more like a father figure over time, despite him wanting nothing to do with the young sidekick. While this film may rely on its comedic timing and jokes a lot, it also presents a beautifully told story of family and love.
Now, even though it sounds like I'm singing this film's praises, there are also some flaws present here. After a while, some of the jokes just seem a little too much, relying on just jokes to further the scene that is playing out. It seems like the writers ran out of content and decided to just keep dropping jokes to make the film runtime's a little longer. Also, while it does maintain a pretty steady pace throughout, the ending starts to drag, and the movie should have ended about twenty minutes before it did. This didn't take away from anything else that the film did, but seems like it tries too hard at times.
I was honestly very surprised with this film. I thought it was a fun time throughout, and it was interesting to see this new version of the iconic superhero. They practically satirized this franchise and its characters in such a funny and memorable way that it's hard not to enjoy it. I was iffy about this movie and what it would be before watching, but boy am I glad I gave it a chance.