2014's "The #LEGO Movie" proved to be one of the biggest surprise hits of that year, with many fans crying foul when it didn't receive Oscar recognition that year. That didn't stop Warner Bros. from building on its success by giving one of the film's standout characters, none other than #Batman, his own film. Three years later, Warner delivers "The Lego Batman Movie," and boy, does it deliver.
I'm fighting around right now
The film's story centers on Gotham's caped crusader who is at the peak of his popularity in the most crime-ridden city in the world. Batman, voiced by a returning Will Arnett, faces off with the Joker, voiced by Zach Galifinakis, in another bid to take over Gotham, while also contending with maybe his greatest enemy -- his own feelings and insecurities.
This allows the film to spoof Batman and have quite a bit of fun at the Dark Knight's expense, which is quite easy given the colorful history of the hero across all media. These include gags aimed at the old 1966 Adam West series, the "colorful" array of villains like Penguin or Two-Face, the Condiment King, Polka-Dot Man, and the more serious Nolan trilogy.
Despite the gags, there is also a great level of heart and intelligence at breaking down the titular hero. The core of this being a fear of relationships and family because of his own loss, resulting in a very lonely and isolated life. This is personified in the central conflict between Batman and the Joker, as the Joker simply wants to be acknowledged as his greatest enemy, and Batman doesn't want to admit it to himself. This helps ground the comedy and provides a strong emotional backbone to the entire film via Batman's emotional arc..
You're darn right, 'woah!'
This new entry serves, not only as a comedic take on Batman, but to further establish Warner Bros.' new in-house animation company, Warner Animation Group. They were able to create a unique animation style that could almost be confused for stop-motion in "The Lego Movie," and further refined that style in "The Lego Batman Movie," helping to differentiate their films from the animated works of Disney, Sony, and Laika, all of which have their own identifiable styles. The style and use of Lego also lends to the general tongue-in-cheek comedy of the film, playing into its fair share of gags throughout the film, but also provides great visual flair to the immense action set-pieces that take place, with the best one possibly being the film's opening.
The visuals are anchored by a strong script, finding great ways to spoof Batman's history. While it does produce great comedy, you also get the sense that the writers have a clear understanding and love of what makes Batman who he is.
It serves as a way of both critiquing and honoring the long history of Bob Kane and Bill Finger's creation, allowing the comedic and emotional core of the film to shine even more. Add to that a cast that is in tune with both the script and rest of the cast, and the final product shines wonderfully.
It's amazing to think a film of this quality was released in February, but it could also be a sign of shifting thought about spreading out major releases. That aside, "The Lego Batman Movie" manages to deliver on all fronts, marrying great action and visuals with a smart, self-aware comedy that breaks down and builds up one of the most beloved comic book characters ever created. #Movies