In Review: The LEGO Batman Movie

Something for everyone, but comic book fans and Batfilm fans will have more to enjoy.

The LEGO Batman Movie

Premiered on  February 10, 2017. 104 minutes, rated PG.

Directed by Chris McKay

Screenplay by Seth Grahame-Smith and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers and Jared Stern & John Whittington, from a story by Seth Grahame-Smith

When The LEGO Movie came out in 2014 I took my entire family and we had a good time. I hoped that The LEGO Batman Movie would be just as good. It is. In fact, it surpasses it in several areas.

Batman is the overly full-of-himself character from the 2014 film, and he’s in fine form in the opening sequence. The jokes fly fast and they had me crying for the first ten minutes. I’m a life-long Batman fan, so I’m more than familiar with the caped crusader and his villains. If you can think of any foe, no matter how obscure, they appear in the opening ten minutes. They look and sound great, but it’s Batman, voiced by Will Arnett that is hilarious. The movie is worth seeing just for this opening fight. The Joker has orchestrated this slugfest and he’s delightfully underplayed by Zach Galifianakis; he’s more schemer than the raving loony he’s become in the films.

Once the battle is over, Batman goes home, but first stops at an orphanage to give the kids batswag shot out of a batcannon. Waiting for him is Dick Grayson, voiced by Michael Cera (who does such a slick job with the voice, I questioned myself constantly that it actually was him). Grayson is the biggest Batman fan and desperately wants to be adopted. Maybe Bruce Wayne would want to take him in?

Commissioner Gordon is retiring and is being replace by his daughter Barbara, voiced by Rosario Dawson. She tells everyone at his retirement gala that though Gotham has Batman, they remain the most crime ridden city in America. That’s why she wants the Caped Crusader to team up with the Gotham police. Bruce, in attendance, spits out his beverage at the thought. Before he can question the new commissioner, all the villains arrive with a surprising request. This features a terrific line from the Riddler. This request puts Batman’s future in doubt and has him using his new ward to help him break into the Fortress of Solitude to get something important.

There’s a solid laugh out loud joke for adults every five minutes and children will also have plenty to enjoy. There are several songs employed for some great laughs, with Cutting Crew’s only hit being the most memorable. The only downside to this film is the incredibly heavy message for the tykes. It slows down the film every time it’s brought up and actually made the youngster sitting next to me, who was about seven, yell out during the emotional climax “Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God. Blah, blah, blah.” It was too heavy handed even for that kid. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen too often and the jokes resume. If you’re a fan of DC Comics you’ll find more to enjoy than others, and if you only enjoy the recent Bat films, including his battle with Superman, you’re in for several terrific moments. My favorite? The password to get into the Batcave. Priceless!

The final line: Something for everyone, but comic book fans and Batfilm fans will have more to enjoy. I plan on purchasing this film when it comes out on DVD. It’s worth it just for the first ten minutes. Overall grade: B+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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