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The Lego Batman Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie (2017) movie poster The Lego Batman Movie

Theatrical Release: February 10, 2017 / Running Time: 106 Minutes / Rating: PG

Director: Chris McKay / Writers: Seth Grahame-Smith (story & screenplay); Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, John Whittington (screenplay)

Voice Cast: Will Arnett (Batman/Bruce Wayne), Michael Cera (Robin/Dick Grayson), Rosario Dawson (Batgirl/Barbara Gordon), Ralph Fiennes (Alfred Pennyworth), Siri ('Puter), Zach Galifianakis (Joker), Jenny Slate (Harley Quinn), Jason Mantzoukas (Scarecrow), Conan O'Brien (The Riddler), Doug Benson (Bane), Billy Dee Williams (Two-Face), Zoë Kravitz (Catwoman), Kate Micucci (Clayface), Riki Lindhome (Poison Ivy), Eddie Izzard (Voldemort), Seth Green (King Kong), Jemaine Clement (Sauron), Ellie Kemper (Phyllis), Channing Tatum (Superman), Jonah Hill (Green Lantern), Adam DeVine (The Flash), Hector Elizondo (Jim Gordon), Mariah Carey (Mayor McCaskill), Lauren White (Chief O'Hara), David Burrows (Anchorman Phil), Laura Kightlinger (Reporter Pippa)

 

One of the most widely beloved animated movies of the century, The Lego Movie had to be the start of a franchise. Now, three years after that colorful, character-filled comic adventure was met with better reviews and better business than anyone could have expected, Warner delivers a follow-up in The Lego Batman Movie.
With the direct official sequel still two years away, this is actually a spin-off with Will Arnett's scene-stealing take on the Dark Knight placed front and center. In fact, though it takes its look and tone from Lego Movie, the story adds to and comments upon Batman's 80 years in entertainment.

Batman applies his commentary to the studio logos and opening images. Then, it's straight to action, as practically all of the villains from Batman's universe join forces...only to be thwarted yet again by Batman, his weapons, and skills. After that, it's back to the Batcave, where we see Batman has bigger foes than the costumed rogues he's always dispensing of. Batman/Bruce Wayne is lonely. He misses his parents and is too afraid to get close to anyone else.

Lego Batman gets his own movie in "The Lego Batman Movie."

That is the main thrust of the narrative and it distinguishes what could be a feature-length toy commercial or just another Batman movie (performed by interlocking toys animated in a way resembling stop-motion). Batman's issues are funny, because they're in line with the brooding loner we've seen in many a blockbuster film and various television incarnations. But there is also some genuine emotional weight to them. Lego Batman does a fine job of using that story both for laughs and as something in which to ground the often hyper and high-spirited hijinks.

Batman has opportunities to grow with a number of people pushed into his life. There is the orphan Robin (voiced by Michael Cera), who gets adopted and remains in awe. There is the Joker (Zach Galifianakis), who wants nothing more than Batman to acknowledge they have a special relationship, an amusing way to frame their decades-old rivalry. There is Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), the commissioner's smart, forward-thinking daughter (an alumnus of Harvard for Police) who wants to clean up Gotham City by no longer depending on Batman's inefficient vigilantism. Also along for the ride is Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), Batman's wisdom-supplying father figure and butler.

Lego Batman may differ in characters and plot, but it finds the same winning atmosphere of irreverence that made The Lego Movie so irresistible. Nothing is sacred here or beyond ridicule, least of all Robin's costume or Superman in general. The movie not only makes use of the DC Comics rogues gallery, but even utilizes other screen villains in Warner Bros.'s vast copyright library, from King Kong, Gremlins, and the Wicked Witch of the West to Voldemort and Sauron of The Lord of the Rings.

Batman and his eager young sidekick Robin show up unannounced at Superman's Fortress of Solitude in "The Lego Batman Movie."

This central stretch may be a bit much for some to digest and recall the cameo overkill scene of Anchorman 2. But the film's brush with the unexceptional is short-lived and soon forgiven. For most of its running time, Lego Batman is sharp, funny, and exciting. While all animated movies aim for those qualities, it takes more to stand out these days.
But Lego Batman succeeds on that level too, as it manages to find wit and narrative value in everything from Jerry Maguire to Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror."

The Lego Movie's failure to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature is one of the most egregious snubs in recent Oscar history. It's much too early to say if the omission of Lego Batman Movie would be a comparable miscarriage of justice. Obviously, if you're releasing a movie in early February, awards are not your top priority. Lego Batman Movie should do well with critics and even better with moviegoers, who made Lego Movie the biggest animated hit in Warner's long history. If audiences treat this like a Lego Movie sequel and they probably will, then this has the potential to put up numbers comparable to formidable live-action superhero blockbusters, but without the griping and critical grumbles that have marred DC's efforts in that domain.

Related Reviews:
Warner Animation Group: The Lego Movie • Storks | Directed by Chris McKay: Robot Chicken: Christmas Specials
Now in Theaters: The Red Turtle • The Space Between Us • Rings • La La Land • Hidden Figures
Batman: Complete Television Series • Son of Batman • Batman vs. Robin • Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice • Suicide Squad • The Incredibles • Big Hero 6
LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out • Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United

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Reviewed February 10, 2017.



Text copyright 2017 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2017 Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Animation Group, Ratpac-Dune Entertainment, Lego System A/S,
Lin Pictures, and Vertigo Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.