The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)

3:08 PM

Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman.
 The LEGO Batman Movie is directed by Chris McKay (Robot Chicken, Moral Orel) and stars Will Arnett (The LEGO Movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Michael Cera (Juno, Superbad), Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Seven Pounds), Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter, The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, Due Date). "Bruce Wayne must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted". The LEGO Batman Movie is the first of many spinoffs from the successful LEGO Movie - are these spin offs actually going to be good or are they simple cash grabs?

I actually have a bit more to say about this film than I was expecting - I actually really enjoyed it, however, I think the score is a little lower than it should be as when you take into account the actual quality of the film, it's not as remarkable as the message or the tricks this film has up its sleeve. I'm going to get this out there now - I really didn't enjoy 2014's 'The LEGO Movie' - in fact, I ranked it at number 3 on my worst films of 2014 list. I feel that if I was to re-watch it again now, I may warm to it a bit more but my hatred from 3 years ago has led to me avoiding anything to do with that film - my hopes for LEGO Batman were pretty low, even though the trailers were quite funny. 

Let's start off with the voice performances - Will Arnett does a really good job and I think his reincarnation of Batman is very good - his voice suits the role very well and looking at Arnett, I actually think he could play Batman in a live action film, not anytime soon though. Michael Cera is good as Robin and Rosario Dawson does a good job as Barbara Gordon. The only problem with her character is I feel that most of her lines were a little too blatantly feminist - I am all for a strong, empowered female character but her lines just didn't fit well with the rest of the film - overtime her character was about to speak, you could expect a slightly onthenose feminist line about everyone being able to work together - even though what she was saying is right, I think the audience don't need to be told over and over again. I also really liked Zach Galifianakis as The Joker - this version of the character is probably the closest to what The Joker is like in my head - wacky, crazy, funny and plain mad. Even though I'm a fan of Heath Ledger and Jared Leto's versions, when I think of The Joker, I think of someone as wacky as the one in LEGO Batman. There are also many other voice talents that step in but there roles are so small, they aren't worth mentioning. I have a slight issue with how the voice acting was done - I'm not too sure why but none of the voices seemed to fit fluidly with the characters on screen - I don't know if this was to do with the animation style but it felt like they were literal voiceovers inserted in post production rather than being part of the story. 

The LEGO Batman Movie is also pretty funny - there are no big laugh out loud moments or belly laughs but there are plenty of times where this film will make you giggle. I think this is because the film takes more of a parody style - there are many lines picking at previous DC projects which are quite funny for knowing audiences. The film also seems to be very self-aware - for instance, the opening of the film is genius and definitely something about the film that I will remember. This made LEGO Batman start off on a really strong note. Without spoiling it, I would compare this opening sequence to the type of humour in the opening credits of Deadpool. The only part where I think the film fell flat in terms of humour was a weird musical moment towards the start where Batman bursts into song - it was quite cringe-worthy and I didn't find it too funny. 

There really is nothing to this story which is where the film falters - it's your typical Batman vs The Joker plot, nothing more. Thanks to many surprises the film up its sleeve, it does end up becoming more than that or else I think this film would be marked now majorly for its generic and unoriginal storyline. There are some touching moments though as Batman and Robin develop their relationship. I also found it interesting how the film developed the relationship between Batman and The Joker in quite a humourous way. The action sequences are all pretty good - obviously not up to the standard of their live action counterparts but they were exciting. The final sequence did go on quite a bit but I think it ended just at the right time. 

SPOILERS - the sleeve of surprises that this film has that I definitely was not expecting is fantastic. The Joker rallies up most of Warner Bros' famous villains to go against Batman - Voldemort, Gremlins, Kong, Jaws, Daleks, Dracula, Godzilla, The Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz...the list goes on. The moment where these characters were introduced was pretty awesome and is the dream moment of many fandoms. My favourite line came from Voldemort when he said that he enjoyed the ending of Marley & Me - this was so fitting with the character and also darkly funny. For most films, this weird extended universe just wouldn't work but its LEGO and LEGOs are a toy so essentially this is a playset and the creators can play with any toys they want. This is one of the cool benefits of the LEGO movies - the possibilities are endless. Now for the other DC characters that feature - due to the addition of these WB villains, they don't get the screen time they deserve. Harley Quinn isn't utilised well enough in my opinion but she's always welcome when on-screen. All the other villains aren't given enough screen time either - Poison Ivy, TwoFace etc - why couldn't Batman have to tackle all of his villains at once rather than all of these random WB villains. Both situations would have been cool but I think I'm happier with the route they chose to go down. 

The animation style definitely didn't bother me as much this time around - it was something I found intolerable about The LEGO Movie but here it was fine and not obnoxiously noticeable. I actually now appreciate how the animators are able to create a stop motion effect with CGI - it's pretty cool and clever. I also think this is going to create lots of merchandise and toysets as everything is made out of LEGO so it almost seems possible for viewers to replicate their favourite moments at home. 

Finally, what really blew me away about the film and made me kind of love it was its message. It is so timely to right now so I don't think there was a better time for this film to be released. Unity. That is the message. SPOILERS - at the end of the film, Gotham is about to be destroyed despite Batman doing all he can to save it. However, the only way the city can be saved is if good unites with evil and everybody works together putting aside their differences. This is so poignant to what is going on right now in the world - to make the world a better place, everyone needs to put aside their differences and work together. Another message in the film is the importance of being a good person - there is a moment where Batman is sent to a place just for bad people but the talking brick highlights he is not your typical bad guy and that is because he just isn't kind. Kindness is a key characteristic that all should have and Batman learns this. Finally, the film touches on the idea of losing people and how that is ok - I think this is yet another important message for a film to teach viewers of all ages. 

The LEGO Batman Movie surprisingly has more on its mind than just being a cash grab - there are great messages about unity, kindness and loss. All of which are pretty timely to what is going on right now and I applaud the film for going there. The voice work is great and Will Arnett definitely shines. There isn't too much to the story though which lets the film down but there are some great surprises which make up for this. I prefer The LEGO Batman Movie to The LEGO Movie but I just wish there was a bit more substance to the story other than some funny one-liners. 


What did you think of THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE? What was your favourite WB villain cameo? - COMMENT BELOW

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