February 28, 2017
A new Batman film is in theaters, but for the first time since “The Dark Knight Rises,” it’s actually enjoyable to watch.
The original “Lego Movie” released in 2014 surprised audiences world-wide with its wacky humor and well-executed, surprise twist.
Its follow-up film, “Lego Batman,” decided to drop the shocking twist in favor of telling a cohesive, if not somewhat nontraditional, narrative that pays off.
Like its predecessor, “Lego Batman” delivers its jokes in an over-the-top, rapid-fire way that would not work in any other film. This film should be seen in a crowded theater to experience the humor in the most fitting way.
“Lego Batman” tells the story of Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Ralph Fiennes), who forces Batman (Will Arnett) to reevaluate his lone wolf lifestyle.
Famous Batman villains, including the Joker (Zack Galifi anakis), the Riddler (Conan O’Brien) and the rest of the Rogue’s Gallery, seemingly surrender to new Police Commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) throughout. Sensing a deeper plot, Batman enlists the help of his accidentally adopted son Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) to investigate what is really going on.
The exploration of Batman himself is what really stood out in the film. Of all the Batman movies I’ve watched over the years, this film did the best job at questioning the moral standpoint of the Dark Knight and exploring the toll that the lifestyle places on Wayne.
The jokes were delivered with perfect comedic timing and paired with physical comedy that can only be accomplished through the medium of the Lego world.
To add to the humor, existential jokes and puns were used in a way that mirrored “Deadpool,” but in a more family-friendly way.
Everything from callbacks to earlier Batman films, including the parade scene from Tim Burton’s “Batman,” to narrating the construction of the film is included in “Lego Batman,” and no topic was off limits.
The film doesn’t just break the fourth wall; it blows it apart with an array of explosive allusions. Moments where the characters recall and comment on the campy and psychedelic 1966 Adam West “Batman” are some of the funniest moments of the year in film so far.
The movie even takes several jabs at recent DC disasters such as “Batman vs. Superman” and “Suicide Squad,” with the characters explaining and criticizing several key problems in the films.
But, surprisingly, there are several moments where the film slows down and delivers some deeper levity that tugs at the viewer’s heartstrings.
One particular scene where Batman is forced to view his questionable methods from an outside perspective was surprisingly deep and moving.
Other highlight include the Joker’s immense desire to be recognized by Batman as his greatest foe was enjoyable, as well as certain characters in the movie thinking that Wayne and Batman are roommates or lovers.
It also helps that this is easily the best Batgirl we have ever gotten on film, even if the competition is unimpressive to say the least.
While there are some issues with the movie, they are minimal and don’t have a lasting impact on the enjoyment of the film.
One of my greatest complaints with “Lego Batman” was that while the insane, wacky style of storytelling was one of the movie’s greatest strengths, it sometimes went too far and gave scenes that were bizarre and hard to follow.
Clayface and Bane riding a rocket-car and punching out King Kong, or Daleks and Godzilla accidentally destroying Sauron’s All-Seeing-Eye (yes, these are events that actually happened in the film) are just a couple examples.
While these scenes were enjoyable to watch, they detracted from the much-more enjoyable exploration of Batman’s character.
“Lego Batman” does a fantastic job walking the line between delivering humor that pleases both adults and children alike. It is an enjoyable, laugh-out-loud film that manages to please both Batman novices and hardcore fans of the Dark Knight legacy.