Sunday, February 12, 2017

Movie Review: The Lego Batman Movie

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Lots of laughs and fun
Cons: Moral, while good, is painfully obvious
The Bottom Line:
Comedic Batman
Wallops with fun and laughter
Fun for everyone

Building a Funny Batman Movie

Advertising clearly works.  I rarely make it to see a movie in the theater any more, much less on opening night, but after seeing preview for The Lego Batman Movie all week on my CW superhero shows, I just had to go see it.  Of course, it helped that I enjoyed The Lego Movie a couple of years back.  This movie was exactly what I hoped it would be – incredibly fun.

As this movie opens, Gotham City is once again in trouble.  Joker (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) has assembled a group of Batman’s biggest villains on a giant scheme to destroy the city, and it is once again up to Batman (Will Arnett) to save the day.  However, Joker is looking for more than city domination, and he’s hoping to find it in Batman.

Things are changing in the city, starting with Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) taking over as police commissioner.  Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne accidentally adopts the orphan Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) to the delight of Bruce’s butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes).

But Joker has another scheme to get Batman’s attention, and it’s a masterful one.  Will Batman be able to stop him?  Or will he need some help?

For much of this film, Batman is an egotistical jerk.  Think Chuck Norris if he were telling his own Chuck Norris jokes and believing them.  And yet, they make it work.  His behavior is always played for laughs, and they make it obvious very quickly that he is covering up his own issues with his actions.

And that’s the biggest problem with the film – Batman’s emotional journey and what he needs to learn is painfully obvious from the very beginning.  However, the moral about letting people into your life is a good one, so I really don’t have any issues with it.  And we are having so much fun along the way, it’s not really an issue.

And make no mistake about it, this movie is filled with laughs.  There are so many blink and you’ll miss them jokes it’s almost impossible to catch them all.  Being a fan of the 1966 Batman TV show, I especially loved the jokes and references to it, but there were lots of jokes for just about everyone.  When I saw the movie, the theater had kids and their parents in it, and everyone was laughing – sometimes at the same jokes and sometimes at different ones.  It’s really hard not to find something to laugh at here.

The story moves quickly, so there is no time to be bored.  And the movie manages to include a wide range of characters.  I enjoyed the cameos by other DC Comics characters, but there are some surprises along the way as well, and I’m not going to spoil them for you.

The animation remembers that it is a Lego movie, and there are a couple of fun moments that could only happen in a Lego movie.  There’s nothing here that will blow you away visually, but there doesn’t have to be.  It’s well done and fun, which is all I was looking for.

The voice cast is quite good.  There’s an impressive list of stars in the many supporting roles, but no matter how big a name the actor, they all find the right balance for their characters to keep us laughing.

Hopefully, you’ve picked up on a theme in my review – fun and laughter.  If you’re going into this expecting a dark, serious Batman movie, you’ll be sorely disappointed.  But I’m sure you figured that out from the previews.  Go in expecting a comedy and you’ll have a wonderful time.

So when you are in the mood to laugh, The Lego Batman Movie is a film to consider.  I’m going to have to watch it again myself to make sure I catch all the jokes.


  1. We saw this movie yesterday and really enjoyed it. I loved the 1966 references especially. The emotional arc was definitely mapped out really early on but like you said it was still a lot of fun and laughter.

    1. I don't mind predictable as long as I'm having fun along the way. That was certainly the case here.

  2. Carstairs, I have to confess that since your updates aren't emailed to me, I forgot about your site! I only remembered when a comment on an earlier article I commented on popped up. I just saw the Batman Lego movie in the dollar theater and loved it! I too liked the '66 references, and thought the movie was funny. Yes, the emotional journey was obvious, but I still enjoyed sitting thru it. I liked how the Phantom Zone had a brick/traffic light keeper. Also, I thought Batgirl was voiced by B'lanna Torres from Star Trek Voyager, but apparently it's another Rosario Dawson