LEGO Batman: A Fun Spin On The Dark Knight For The Whole Family
Review by Aaron Haughton
The LEGO Batman Movie provides a fresh and satirical take on the Caped Crusader, who is commonly depicted as a dark and brooding loner. The film takes aim at the hero's dark past as the reason he's afraid to let other people into his life (except for Alfred, of course), and also examines his twisted relationship with Gotham's many villains and how either would be nothing without their opposite counterpart. It's a bit deeper than you'd expect a kid's move to be, and the result is a good time for the whole dang family.
Will Arnett reprises his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne from 2014's The LEGO Movie as he deals with the usual suspects who reign terror and attempt to rule Gotham City. Namely, the Joker (voiced by Zach Galifianakis), who has cooked up a plot to get revenge on the bat for denying the undeniable connection in their relationship. One night at a socialite function, Bruce absentmindedly adopts the teenage orphan Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) who aspires to become his sidekick. This time around if Batman's to save the city of Gotham, he'll have to do so with a little help from his friends.
The film starts off with a lot of steam and nice satirical bite before a frame of animation is even displayed, but gets progressively more winded as the film wears on before collapsing over the finish line. This may in part be due to the lack of freshness to the franchise's storytelling recipe (because it's essentially the same tale of togetherness and teamwork as seen it its predecessor), or because I'm a nearly 30-year-old man, which is far from the film's target demographic. Either way, the film still manages to be entertaining; however the gradual lack of ingenuity due to the franchise's now cookie-cutter formula has definitely become more evident with its third installment, The LEGO Ninjago Movie.
Kids should no doubt have a blast, though, as it jumps from quirky scenarios and silliness in a fast-paced manor sure to capture their short attention spans. There's also enough there entertainment-wise for the adults to have a good time too, particularly the adult Batman fans, who should appreciate the novel look at the masked vigilante, even if it's not strong enough to carry the entire film.
The vocal talent is amongst the best the franchise has yet to employ. However, the most interesting choice in the film's cast was to have Ralph Fiennes, who played Voldemort in the Harry Potter series, play the voice of Alfred, when Voldemort (voiced by Eddie Izzard) also makes a cameo. The other franchises that the film attempts to cram in (Harry Potter, King Kong, Lord of the Rings) does feel a bit out of place here. Sure, they're good for a chuckle at first, but their roles in the narrative aren't especially small. Quickly, it becomes clear that the film is just grappling for ideas to the fill the time, which really makes the latter half drag.
There are a few jokes that really land — the best being a callback to the open of the 1960s Adam West Batman film with the classic shark repellent spray — but the gags are released like bullets from a uzi wielded by someone with Parkinson's disease; a few are sure to hit their mark, but overall the grouping is off. As far as Batman films go, it's a nice change of pace, but doesn't have the bravado to hang with the more adult material.
It won't be the greatest film you've ever seen, but you already know that. For shut-your-brain-off popcorn entertainment it's pretty amusing, and it's a whole lot more savory than other similar choices out there. It's definitely worth a watch if you're a fan of LEGO film franchise, have time to kill and are need of a few silly laughs, are a fan of the world's greatest detective, or just want to watch something new the whole family can enjoy.
Rating: 3 shark repellents outta 5.
What did you think of the film? Did it keep your interest throughout? Did you like it more than The LEGO Movie? Where's Will Arnett sit in your Batman ranking? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and as always, remember to viddy well!