Image Credit: Warner Bros
There is only so many times you can go about rebooting Batman before the staple becomes old. Frankly, none of the cape crusaders as of late haven’t been able to capture the tone of The Dark Knight. Granted, the last inclination was Ben Affleck in the less than great mashup “Batman Vs Superman,” and then a brief cameo in DC’s other bomb “Suicide Squad.” I never thought it would take an animated world made completely of Lego bricks, and a sass-a-frass attitude of Will Arnett to reinvent Batman, yet here we are. “The Lego Batman Movie” is by far the best movie DC has put their hands on, aside from the untouchable Christopher Nolan trilogy that single handedly delivered the best superhero movie of all time.
Everything was awesome in the metropolis landscape of “Bricksburg” where Emmet and friends came together as master builders to thwart the plans of Lord Business a few years ago in “The Lego Movie”. The best parts that stood out though was no doubt the iconic mask vigilante himself, and the filmmakers thought it would be a good idea to lend him his own film. All the tongue and cheek references, dry sarcastic humor and self referential awareness is in full swing. Arnett is back to lend his talents playing Batman, who is at a crossroads in his life. He is struggling with his purpose, and facing his biggest fear, having a family. The filmmakers are quick to play with his origins story, and using it as a punchline for many jokes which, often, land their timing perfectly.
Ralph Fiennes lends his vocal talents to Alfred, Batman’s (and his alter ego Bruce Wayne’s) long time butler, and I would like to make a case for the actor reprising the role in future live action installments. Zach Galifianakis, oddly, adds some fun variety to playing Batman’s arch nemesis, Joker (another running gag in the movie is how Batman is “fighting around” and hasn’t settled on one bad guy - which makes The Joker very sensitive). That sensitivity is the driving force behind his plan for world domination. Or Gotham domination.
It’s fairly irrelevant as is most of the movie, so the plot is hardly of importance. There is a subplot that has Batman adopt an Orphan boy named Dick (played by Michael Cera) and he eventually becomes his sidekick, Robin. Another subplot further shows the beef that Batman had with Superman (Channing Tatum), and the results are quite comical. One joke has Batman showing up, uninvited, to the “57th celebration of the Justice League” at Superman’s lair.
All of this will, no doubt, be amusing to any of those youngsters in attendence and they should find massive chuckles out of Batman’s egotistical attitude, but there is plenty for the adults to sink their teeth into, including many nod and references to the old glory days of Adam West, something any fan will appreciate.
Speaking of fans, I know this movie is geared towards kids, but if you are like me and was left dissatisfied with “Batman V. Superman,” you will find redemption here. Mainly because the who’s who lineup of bad guys at the end, which among the ranks include; King Kong, Godzilla, and the dark lord himself, Voldemort, are so rewarding, the overall vibe of Batman doing his thing makes the ride very smooth. Smoother than what DC has originally done with their cinematic universe. What’s even more impressive, is how well everything flows and connects together.
There is a saying, however, that too much of a good thing can exist, and in the case of “The Lego Batman Movie” the phrase holds true. By the end, the tone of the script starts to wear you out, putting you into submission, which will keep fans like me at bay, but those on the fence might roll their eyes.
“The Lego Batman Movie,” for the most part, very skillfully makes the case to be clever and smart, and McKay keeps the action rousing till the end. Even though I’ve been disappointed with the direction DC has been taking their films, “LEGO Batman” serves as a frenzy reminder that laughing at the things we love is sometimes the best way to remember why we love them in the first place. A-