Review: The LEGO Batman Movie

I’ve seen my share of Batman adventures over the years. Whether the Dark Knight is in live-action or animated, feature-length or 30 minute program, there is a fair chance that I’d be down with it.

Anyway, 2017 marks the year that a brick version of the Caped Crusader made its way into movie theaters after the success of The LEGO Movie in 2014, where the character made a big impact as a supporting character, and now he has his own cinematic animated LEGO adventure of his own, hence The LEGO Batman Movie.

legobatman

Image by Warner Bros. and Warner Animation Group

Every Batman movie up until now has explored the various themes that have made the character so legendary since his creation; those themes being the need for solitude, fear of loss, “me player” rather than “team player,” basically, The LEGO Batman Movie takes themes such as these, mixes them with Michael Jackson lyrics while paying homage to/parodying the Batman films that have come before and I guess I would say over-infuses the film with too much fun! In fact, if a sliver of the fun and humor in this movie were injected into another recent superhero film that…well…sucked, it’s possible I would like these films more than I did.

I’m just telling it like it is! I thought The LEGO Batman Movie was cute. It made me crack a smile here and there and I found it’s humor passible. That being said, something about this movie just felt lost on me.

Perhaps it’s because I’m used to the brooding, serious takes on Batman that has been done in the past, perhaps the appeal of The LEGO Movie ran its course after its release a few years ago, perhaps this film was tailored for children rather than Batman fans all ages, I just couldn’t will myself to love this movie, but it isn’t bad by any means! I like the fact that it had a sense of self-awareness and made its fun by either laughing at itself or the Batman movies of the past and that demonstrates that a great degree of thought, passion and attention went into the construction of the film but I couldn’t will myself to love this movie.

The plot of trying to get Batman to open up about relationships and force him out of his funk of working alone and not acknowledging the significant figures in his life was nice but I think they tried to do too much with it. First, Joker’s feelings are hurt because Batman prefers to “fight around” rather than acknowledge him as his greatest enemy, then Commissioner Barbara Gordon tells Batman she wants him as an ally more than an independent vigilante to Batman’s chagrin, then he’s shanghaied into adopting this orphan named Dick Grayson on top of putting up with lectures from Alfred throughout the entire film; I found it all very bloating.

Director Chris McKay, writers Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern and John Whittington have certainly built a colorful and unique take on the Dark Knight that no one else ever has but I reiterate, it was lost on me for the most part.

The voices of Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Zack Galifianakis, Ralph Fiennes, Rosario Dawson, Siri with the voices of Conan O’Brien, Billy Dee Williams, Eddie Izzard, Zoë Kravitz, Jason Mantzoukas, Doug Benson, Seth Green, Jermaine Clement, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Hector Elizondo and Mariah Carey do fine work themselves.

I could definitely tell that a lot of work went into the construction of The LEGO Batman Movie but somewhere along the way, it went way over the top. I can respect the attention to detail in the building of this movie, but the final result was meh.

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