After the massive success of “The Lego Movie,” it makes sense to make another movie in the same universe. Instead of going with a sequel, Warner Brothers opted to make a spin off with fan favorite character, Batman. Will Arnett reprises his role as the lego-fied Dark Knight. “The Lego Batman Movie” is not as strong as its predecessor, but still a great film for Bat fans of all ages. It shows you can poke fun at a franchise but still love and respect it.
The film follows Batman as he tries to rid Gotham of the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) in order to prove himself a better crime fighter than new police commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson). Batman must also deal with his butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) who wants him to raise the orphan, Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), that Batman accidently adopted. Batman takes his new son under his cape as Robin.
This film has the most original take on Robin and Barbara in a while. In this movie, Robin is a naive boy looking for a family instead of the snarky leader to be. Barbara is now a no-nonsense, by-the-book police officer as opposed to the head strong vigilante she normally is. The movie actually makes it work. These are characters that have been reimagined more times than one can count. To see such drastically different takes on the characters is actually quite refreshing.
“The Lego Batman Movie” is one giant love letter to Batman. It contains nods to nearly every Batman film and tv show there is. Billy Dee Williams finally gets to play Two Face after playing Harvey Dent all the way back in the 1989 Tim Burton film. Bane wears his luchador mask from the comics, but the actor is clearly doing an impression of Tom Hardy’s interpretation from “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Nearly every Batman villain makes a cameo, even Crazy Quilt and Zebra Man. Yes, those are real villains from the comics. Fans will probably spend hours pouring through the film, looking for hidden jokes.
The film can get a bit repetitive at times. Batman acting like a child to Alfred’s advice is used as a punchline several times. What made Batman a fun side character in “The Lego Movie” kind of makes him a weak main character. His small name, big ego bit does grow tiring to watch scene to scene. Batman also has a strange attraction to Barbara. It’s brought up twice and goes nowhere. It’s not as creepy as other Batman/Batgirl romance because Barbara is such a radically different character than other canons, but it still feels odd.
The story is still heartfelt and Lego Gotham is a vibrant world. The animation and the editing work together to create exciting action scenes. Most of the jokes are really strong. For it’s faults, the story does have a lot of heart.