D.C.’s Take: ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’

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We’ve recently experienced what I think is the definition of irony: two of the latest live-action DC Comics Extended Universe movies, “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad,” receive mediocre reviews, but the animated film about Batman ended up being great in all senses. Pretty unexpected, right? I think most of us thought 2014’s “The LEGO Movie” wasn't going to be good because it sounds dumb making an entire movie about those tiny figures. It feels like they’re just taking our money away. But “The LEGO movie” turned to become of the coolest animated movies ever made, and it was one of the best movies of that year. I still don't understand why the Academy didn't nominate it for Best Animated Feature. And now we get a spin-off of one of the funniest characters in the entire movie. “The LEGO Batman Movie” follows Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) as he begins to feel lonely without a family as he works alone on his missions. But he has to deal with not only the criminals of Gotham City, but also taking care of raising his adopted son, Dick Grayson/Robin (voiced by Michael Cera), that he mistakenly “adopts” so to speak. I was looking forward to this movie, because besides the fact that I love “The LEGO Movie,” Batman is my favorite superhero of all time. I also loved playing with LEGOs. Finally, Batman was, without a doubt, the best character in the first movie. So, combining all those factors together makes for an entertaining family film that will be remembered far after the credits. The animation is very stylish, combining stop-motion and CGI animation to create Gotham City. And Gotham looks downright neat with its vibrant colors and cool action scenes. As with most recent animated films, it’s pretty unexpected what you find when you really look into the details the animators put into the film. It’s amazing. Arnett voices Batman once again, and he just kills it every time. He’s playing a more arrogant Batman this time around; he loves himself and cares only about what he thinks. But that’s what makes this movie even funnier. This is quite possibly the best role in his career. Cera as Robin was perfect casting. Batman and Robin have always been a classic dynamic duo in the comics and other media, and they work well together here as well. And I love this little “Arrested Development” reunion here with Cera and Arnett. Zach Galifianakis voicing The Joker was also a good casting choice. There were even times I forgot it was him. Safe to say he was better than Jared Leto. And I love how the film approaches the relationship between The Joker and Batman. The Joker just wants Batman to admit that he hates him and that he’s his greatest foe. Don’t we all want the attention of somebody that we love or, in this case, even hate? When the humor hits, it hits hard, like a fastball. A lot of the jokes were really funny. Even the first 30 seconds are just hilarious, and it sets up what kind of movie this is going to be with this line: “All important movies start with a black screen.” Just from that sentence alone, the audience knows how great this is going to be, and how meta this will get. So many of the jokes are on point. There are references and Easter eggs to the other Batman films, which are clever, as well as jokes for the adults that go over kids’ heads. Batman even throws a jab at the Suicide Squad. Director Chris McKay and the various writers really knew how to make an actually great Batman movie that’s tongue-in-cheek set in the LEGO universe, and they did an excellent job with the final product. Perhaps the only problem with the film is that, even though the jokes were funny, there were times the film could’ve eased off them. I love both this and “The LEGO Movie,” but I do prefer the original. But still, “The LEGO Batman Movie” was the best Batman movie since “The Dark Knight Rises.” If you love Batman or LEGOs, you’ll get so much joy out of this, no doubt about it. I’m excited to see what this franchise turns out in the future. “The LEGO Batman Movie” was awesome and entertaining from start to finish with its fast-paced humor, cool references and Batman himself. A-
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