The Lego Batman Movie Review — Lighten Up, Bats

You don’t want Superman to upstage you, do you?

  • With the runaway success of The Lego Movie, obviously a bunch of people are looking to bite off a piece of that pie, and Warner Animation were definitely looking for a reason to keep going after the box-office bomb of Looney Tunes: Back in Action sent them into hiding for a while. I mean we’re already getting another Lego movie this year and from what I heard, there’s a sequel to The Lego Movie on the horizon. It’s like what happened when that Lego Star Wars video game came out and ended up spawning a bunch of light-hearted, slightly subversive movie tie-ins.
  • And I sorta get the appeal. With satire films being as dead as they are for a reason – incidentally fuck Seltzerberg’s upcoming Star Wars parody – the cutesy aesthetics as well as the fundamental mechanics of legos and how they’ve been used to parody things in the past are a great way to bring them back for a new generation. And we’re starting off the lego movie cash-in trend with parodying Batman because, well, why not? Everyone knows who he is, he has an extensive history, and he hasn’t been bright and colorful for two decades now (also for a reason), so it makes perfect sense.
  • Oh yeah, and he also had a major part in The Lego Movie, so that might be a big reason too. Hell, they even got Will Arnett to voice him again. And he does a decent job, as I couldn’t really hear Bojack whenever Batman spoke.

Batman and Superman do not get along in this movie at all

  • The film’s plot centers around Batman foiling all of his villains for the billionth time with Joker cackling in glee that he gets to piss off his favorite adversary, only for the caped crusader to say to Joker’s face that he doesn’t acknowledge the bond between them. This gets Joker really upset (in a tearful way, because he’s an attention-hog in this film) and he ends up hatching a plan to go to another dimension and recruit all the famous villains from various pop culture in order to wreak havoc on Gotham in a way that totally surpasses all his other attempts to do so. I mean he gets Sauron working for him in this movie, and that giant eye alone is more dangerous than all of Batman’s villains combined.
  • Meanwhile, Batman is dealing with loner issues like watching bad romantic comedies in his spare time and never letting anyone get close to him in order to avoid the pain of losing his family. When Barbara Gordon becomes the new commissioner and wants to work together with him on a more personal level, Batman refuses to the point that he unwillingly helps Joker in his plan and takes in a teenage boy who we all know is going to become Robin, so I spoil that with no shame whatsoever.
  • Most of the runtime is dedicated to making various jokes at Batman whether it be his extensive film history or the very concept of a man dressed as a bat running around and beating up street thugs. This does mean that you have to at least contain baseline knowledge of Batman in order to get all the jokes, and even then there’s all the jokes dedicated to his extensive film history, the TV adaptations, and all those villains he’s accumulated over the years with the more obscure stuff getting a quick “Google it” joke thrown in at the end.
  • And hopefully you’ll find most of the jokes funny, because the plot is pretty typical stuff. Batman doesn’t want people getting close to him, he must learn to open up in order to stop this new threat, and all that stuff. It’s well-told and I did get emotional for the dude in certain scenes, but there are also very few surprises thrown into the actual formula in order to even be considered a storytelling masterpiece.

Despite the image, the Justice League only show up for like one scene

  • I enjoyed the humor when it was focused on Batman’s villains and a lot less when it was focused on Batman himself. Not exactly a huge fan of lego humor to begin with, but it works really well when it focuses on the relationship Batman has with his Rogue’s Gallery because that’s always the best part of Batman stories. Doesn’t exactly help that a lot of the jokes centered on Batman himself are stuff we’ve already seen made fun of before. And some of them by us to boot.
  • Batman may produce the best superhero stories in the business, but most of the time it’s never because of him, himself. And choosing to base a majority of the jokes on said reason whilst clumping all the villains together for a few jokes feels like a giant missed opportunity. Hell, aside from the Joker, none of the villains even have time apart from each other to show off their own stuff. I think Voldemort had more individual scenes than Catwoman or Two-Face.
  • Of course your mileage may vary, as a lot of people love The Lego Movie, while I’m more of a 21 Jump Street kind of guy. What matters is that if you’re looking for a colorful and fun satire of everything Batman stands for, then your first impressions of The Lego Batman Movie will definitely be positive. I was never bored watching the thing and while it didn’t get many big laughs from me, the energy and character acting did a fine job in getting me through.
  • Won’t be watching it again anytime soon, but I’m glad I saw it nevertheless.

Minor Quips

  • I’ve never heard of Condiment Man before now, and I’ve seen Catman in his current incarnation.
  • Batman and Batgirl having a romantic relationship was never good in either the original comics or any of the adaptations. Why would it be good here?
  • What the fuck the Justice League was doing while Gotham was burning, I will never know.

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