The Lego Movie should not have been fun. Blocky characters that made, essentially, a movie-long commercial for those toy blocks you buy for kids when you hate said kids’ parents and want a barefoot accident. As it turned out, The Lego Movie was actually a rather delightful film that sang the praises of creativity.
It also made for some fun when I told my nephew, glad to have a Lego Movie toy set for a birthday gift, that clearly Emmett and Wildstyle were bad guys since the box showed them clearly running from the cops. He didn’t like that revelation at all. Ah, good times.
But now we have another Lego movie, one dedicated entirely to supporting character Lego Batman. How was it?
It was fun. Not perfect, but rather fun. I mean, there’s no song anywhere in there equivalent to “Everything Is Awesome,” but this movie has its moments.
Lego Batman is actually a pretty good comedic vehicle, especially as voiced by Will Arnett. Arnett’s Batman is clearly full of himself, a dark loner who also happens to be a heartless jerk obsessed with doing everything himself in the vainest way possible. The central crux of the movie deals with the fact this Batman won’t get involved in any relationships despite the urging of faithful butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) that he needs a family like everybody else. Alfred’s seen Batman get moody before, and he’s having a hard time dealing with his difficult “son”. Batman’s life is complicated when he inadvertently adopts an orphan named Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), an overly-enthusiastic kid who just wants to get his hero’s approval while wearing the flashiest costume available.
On the flip side, Batman’s personal disregard for relationships ends up hurting the feelings of the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) by refusing to call the Joker his arch-nemesis. Yes, Lego Batman is so adverse to relationships, he won’t even formalize who his archenemy is, and that makes the Joker almost sympathetic in his pain. Almost. OK, not really. He’s still the Joker.
Containing very little of The Lego Movie‘s mythology (such as it is), this movie has tons of stuff going on in it. Just about every Batman villain from any continuity pops up at one point in time or another, as does a number of villains from outside Batman’s personal sphere. Seriously, I spotted these two in the background of some group shots:
A number of these characters are voiced by recognizable actors, though very few will register with the audience due to how little many of them have to say, but given the high level of Batman-meta humor on display here, getting Billy Dee Williams to voice Two-Face was a nice touch.
In fact, having a good amount of general Batman-knowledge will probably help. Besides having just about every Batman-foe ever, there are numerous references to various Batman movies, comic covers, and general Batman-lore. None of this is essential to enjoy the movie, but those little Easter Eggs make for a greater level of enjoyment for Batman fans. Clearly, the people making it fall into that category. There’s also a general kid-friendly message of how asking for help from other people isn’t a bad thing and can make life worth living (a message Batman may get a little bit of when he visits the Fortress of Solitude to distract Superman).
So, this was fun, but not as much fun as The Lego Movie. And I really, really hope this isn’t the best DC movie coming out anytime soon. Eight and a half Adam West appearances out of ten.