A Review of The LEGO Batman Movie
In a world where the every piece of entertainment is available on our cell phones, a movie where Voldemort and Sauron square off against Batman does not seem so ridiculous. This is basically the world LEGO Batman wants to live in and it does a pretty good job of taking full advantage of the explosion pop culture that will be coming at you seemingly non-stop during this movie. Lego has decided to double down and throw every license they have at this movie, and while at times it can feel like overexposure, all in all it is one of the coolest movie experiences you can have. Get ready for a ride through the most well known pop culture heroes and villains and try to grab hold of as much as you can.
Part of the success of the LEGO movies is based on the fact that every single person watching has at some point played with the plastic building blocks. This makes the art style incredibly relatable and brings to life the what feels like a piece right out of a child's' imagination. I can remember building what felt like entire cities on a rainy Sunday afternoon and letting my imagination fill in the blanks and LEGO Batman has achieved this tone.They are even able to use the act of building with the LEGO blocks in the plot in some cool ways, even though the script can be hit or miss. I found myself zoning out for a few seconds at a time to not only to give my eyes a break but to notice the attention to detail. In almost any frame of the movie you can look into the background or at some of the vehicles and see familiar LEGO pieces, like the triangle that is flat on one side or the circular red pieces substituting for headlights. As a big LEGO fan in my youth the animation was really enjoyable and used positively in the story, but there are times where there is just too much going on. This is more than just an animation problem but a plot problem, just be warned you may have to rest tour eyes every once and a while and I saw it in 2d Imax.
I have said the writing of the LEGO Batman movie is hit or miss and over packed, but there are also some really great things in the writing. There are some of the best meta jokes in the medium used here and there are tons of things to laugh at. The basic joke to joke basis is fairly childish but there is more than enough here to keep the adults interested. The problems come from the over complication of certain plot points. Its not too long at an hour and 44 minutes run time but it feels like its 2 and a half. There are certain themes that become muddled until the end and seem to take far too long to resolve. They do address the problem of, well this Batman is kind of a jerk. At the beginning I was enjoying his self centered nature but knew that I would not be able to put up with it for a whole movie. Thankfully this is one of the things covered in the plot. They also have to smash a huge amount of characters into this movie and while I have said that the massive cast can be daunting at times, the voice cast is terrific and help lumps of plastic blocks gain some life and personality.
LEGO Batman sports what must be the largest cast of pop culture figures ever put together into one piece of media. The genius of the recent digital swing by LEGO is that they have such a wide net of franchises to choose from. Almost all of them are used here and there is something special about seeing basically every Batman villain conceivable in one place. Added to that most of your other favorite DC characters and about 20 miscellaneous characters that I don't want to spoil. The movie embraces the craziness of the roster and the voice actor cast is filled with huge names. To go one by one would take forever so I will leave most of them to be surprises but Will Arnett takes on a massive amount of work and does well in the title role. Zach Galifianakis plays Batman's greatest foe, The Joker and Michael Cera plays Dick Grason A.K.A. Robin and both bring their own style to the roles. Other than Rosario Dawson and Ralph Fiennes. as Barbara Gordon and Alfred respectively, most of the other characters are reserved to only a few lines, but most of them make it count.
The LEGO Batman movie is fun. I wont say I did not enjoy myself but in the last two yeas there have been some fantastic animated movies that have been absolutely amazing. Stop motion has been used in Kubo and the Two Strings to greater effect in my opinion, and had a better plot by miles. While LEGO Batman is more fun than Kubo, the latter is a better made piece of cinema that never had me getting frustrated at its plot or art style. I expect LEGO Batman to make a whole lot of money and deservedly so. Its fun for kids and other than the horrible pacing and brain melting over saturation at times, is fun for adults too. I look forward to seeing more of these, i just hope they can tighten up the plot next time any maybe give my old eyes a break every once and a while.