“The LEGO Batman Movie” is directed by Chris McKay and stars Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, and Zach Galifianakis. The film is about Batman being forced to fight against Gotham’s worst villains led by the Joker, all while dealing with his newly adopted son.
This is a spin-off of 2014’s “The LEGO Movie”, a movie that truly is one of the best-animated films in recent memory. That, along with the fact that Will Arnett as Batman was one of the best parts of that film, made me incredibly excited to see what could be done with the LEGO version of the Dark Knight.
Once again, the animation style of these LEGO films is beautifully done, as each moment is brought to life by the unique blend of animation and blocks. With this film in particular, though, there are some truly gorgeous shots of the action, as well as some really well done moments of visual emotion, and it is an absolute treat to watch such an original concept be animated in this unique style.
Will Arnett is as great as ever in the lead role here, bringing the same comedy and wittiness that was so great in “The LEGO Movie” to his solo film. Arnett mixes the comedy with the emotional elements well, and he certainly maintains everything he did in a terrific supporting performance through this lead role, and does it consistently. Michael Cera is great as Dick Grayson aka Robin, and the back and forth moments he has with Arnett are very funny and well implemented into the story.
Much of the humor that is used throughout this movie is meta humor, and these are the jokes that I found to be the funniest. When “LEGO Batman” makes witty jokes about previous Batman films or takes a quick attack on failed DC films in the past, the jokes just worked very well, and these are the ones that I remembered immediately after viewing. The style of humor used from “The LEGO Movie” is also here, with a bunch of quick, rapid fire childish jokes that often brings a quick laugh to an otherwise ordinary scene.
What sets “LEGO Batman” apart from the 2014 film is how it implements emotion, as there are much more poignant moments where the movie really hits on some powerful themes. “LEGO Batman” accomplishes more character development in this one animated movie than almost every other Batman film combined, and that is because director Chris McKay doesn’t play it entirely safe, but instead uses the character flaws of Batman and makes a movie around them, and I think that is a stroke of genius.
While much of the same, witty humor from “The LEGO Movie” worked well in this film, there were also a lot more jokes that fell flat. That’s not to say that the majority of the comedy here doesn’t work, but there were certainly more attempts at humor where I just did not laugh, and while that wasn’t enough to really hurt the movie experience, it was a bit disheartening considering how fast “LEGO Batman” came firing out of the gate. The first 10 to 15 minutes are perfection, as the humor is hitting, the action is stunning, and the storyline works amazingly, but the middle chunk of the film slows down a bit and starts hitting less of its jokes, and it took a while for me to get fully invested in the film again.
Zach Galifianakis is good as the Joker, but it was his relationship with Batman that I had some problems with. In the opening, I loved how the two worked off of each other, but after a while their confrontations became stale, and I wanted the movie to mix up what this film was actually about, and when they didn’t, I was a little disappointed.
There are also a couple jokes that go on a bit too long, and a few moments that I felt could have been tweaked a bit to feature more humor or to have more importance to the storyline, even if they weren’t anything crazy. The themes are strong, but sometimes the plot itself isn’t as solid around it.
“The LEGO Batman Movie” features top of the line animation, a great lead voice performance from Will Arnett, and a lot of the same original humor that I learned to love three years ago. I do not think this film surpasses “The LEGO Movie”, as there are more misses here and a less engaging plot, but with the powerful emotional aspect, and some really clever superhero moments, “The LEGO Batman Movie” is still a ton of fun for all ages.
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