Everything was awesome about The LEGO Movie as Phil Lord and Christopher Miller showed the world that it was possible to construct a fantastic movie based on the popular brick-building toy. It was a wonderful animated film for kids and adults alike and encompassed the LEGO brand perfectly. One of the best things to come out of the film was Will Arnett’s dark and brooding depiction of Batman. In the first of a series of LEGO branded spin-offs, The LEGO Batman Movie explores what it’s like to be both Batman and Bruce Wayne and is surprisingly one of film’s best depictions of the Caped Crusader. Underneath all the humor and outrageous character references, there’s a lot of heart.
Batman (Will Arnett) has dedicated his life to protecting Gotham from the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) and the rest of the city’s obscure supervillains. That doesn’t leave much time for anyone else in his life, and after insulting the Joker by saying he’s NOT his archnemesis, the Joker and every other bad guy decide to turn themselves into police. With crime now gone, there’s no need for Batman. But in an effort to show Batman that he is his greatest enemy, the Joker devises a plan to get sent to the Phantom Zone and bring the evilest villains in the universe back to Gotham. To save Gotham this time, Batman is going to have to push his own fears aside and learn to fight as a team with the people he cares about.
The LEGO Batman Movie gives audiences the most complex version of Batman we’ve seen on the big screen, despite the films kid-friendly appearance. It’s all about Batman learning that he cannot tackle the world alone and that he needs the help of those closest to him. Pushing them away won’t protect them from dangers as he thinks. Will Arnett does a great job at being both hilarious and serious given the need of the scene. You’ll laugh at his jokes, but also wonder at what’s going on behind the mask. It can get surprisingly deep at moments.
Then again, it can be absolutely bonkers as well. The opening credits, with narration by Batman himself, inform you that this isn’t going to be your traditional comedy. It’s very self aware, and Batman fans will find all the inside jokes and references absolutely hilarious. Yes, Condiment King is a real Batman villain, and shark repellent bat spray does indeed work. The film captures the cheesiness of the classic Batman era as well as the dark and grittiness of the modern era, even going as far as taking a jab at the critically maligned Suicide Squad.
The references don’t stop at just Batman, either. Other Warner Bros. properties including Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are featured as some of the mega villains from the Phantom Zone, and they provide a hilarious spin on some of the iconic characters. Watching the Eye of Sauron shoot fireballs at Batman is pretty awesome I must say, and in LEGO form too nonetheless.
Once again, our favorite LEGO bricks are brought to life. Having the film revolve around Batman is just icing on the cake. The LEGO Batman Movie may not be as memorable as The LEGO Movie (no song quite will ever be as catchy as “Everything Is Awesome” or even “Batman”) but it still captures the same magic that made the first one so special.