As both a LEGO and a Batman fan, I was elated to see that two of my favourite franchises would be joining forces on the big screen in The Lego Batman Movie. And while we were briefly introduced to Will Arnett’s gravelly voiced and self-centered Batman in The Lego Movie, the time has finally come for the Dark Knight to shine on his own.
Right from the start of The Lego Batman Movie, we are treated to a smorgasbord of action as the Joker executes his latest plan for destroying Gotham, and he’s not alone. Joining him is quite a large part of Batman’s rogue gallery, from familiar foes such as Bane to less familiar ones such as Eraser. It’s truly a visual treat to see your favorite DC characters in LEGO form, and it’s this, along with the ‘pew-pew’ sound of gunfire, that made me feel like a geeky kid again.
As one can expect, it doesn’t take long for Batman to lay down some beats (literally, as we are treated to a musical number reminding us of just how great Batman is) and defeat the Joker and his army of super villains. As Batman is about to finally capture the Joker, we learn that the Clown Prince of Crime only wants the Dark Knight to admit that he hates him and acknowledge him as his greatest foe. Of course, our self-centered hero refuses to do this which sets a series of events in motion that will force Batman to question his lonesome existence.
You see, Batman is a loner. He needs no one and is happiest when sulking in the shadows alone beatboxing. There is nothing he likes doing more after a night of defeating evildoers than spending his evenings alone eating his favorite meal, lobster thermidor, in his favorite place, The Batcave. In the words of Batman himself “I don’t do ‘ships’ (as in relationships). It’s a lonely existence and one that actually makes us feel sorry for the Caped Crusader.
What is worse is that Gotham’s new commissioner Barbara Gordon, expertly voiced by Rosario Dawson, decides that Gotham needs to work together with Batman in defeating the city’s criminals once and for all. It’s an announcement that Bruce Wayne/ Batman doesn’t take to kindly. This, along with the Joker’s sudden surrender, serves as the starting point for an action packed and surprisingly deep adventure.
It’s quite a simple plot, but one that has just enough twists and turns to keep even the most die-hard Batman fan entertained. It’s a silly story that is filled with its fair share of poignant moments. I found the movie’s biggest strength lies in the relationships between Batman and the other DC characters, be they villains or heroes. And nowhere is this more apparent than with the relationship between the Dark Knight and Robin. Michael Cera’s Robin is the perfect bouncy, happy-go-lucky and naive counterpart to Arnett’s dark and depressed Batman. Cera’s Robin is a reminder of the golden age of heroes where life was just a tad more brighter, while Arnett’s Batman is a product of the latest craze of darker more “true to life” superheroes. The interactions between the two serve as some of the movies best moments.
As one would expect the movie is filled with all kinds of fan service, with references being made to all (yes all) of the previous Batman films. And although the movie does parody a lot of the previous films it is always handled in a manner that pays homage to and respects the source material.
For many The Lego Batman Movie might at first have sounded like a quick corporate cash in, but it’s immediately clear right from the start that this comedic parody poses questions that even the more “serious” films tend to shy away from. Question’s like: Is Batman really such a good hero if Gotham’s villains continually torment the city on a regular basis? If he ignores the law and decides to work alone doesn’t that make him just as bad as the same villains he tries to put away?
In the end, it’s the way in which The Lego Batman Movie approached these more serious questions that made it comedic and fun. It is an exhilarating and surprisingly deep ride that celebrates everything Batman. It is easily one of my all time favourite Batman films and, in the end, it left me with a tear in my eye. What more could you ask for?