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  • LEGO Batman Movie, The | Review

    By | February 10, 2017

    lego batman

    Director: Chris McKay

    Writers: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, John Whittington

    Starring: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis

    As someone who grew up watching the 1960’s Batman TV series as a young kid (in syndication, mind you) and was blown away as a teenage comic-book-reading Batman fan by the Tim Burton directed, Michael Keaton starring Batman films only to find myself wincing at what was to come with Clooney and company and then to find myself generally bored stiff by the more recent Nolan/Bale reboot, this is the Batman movie I never knew I needed to see. As well, there’s little doubt that this is the most enjoyable DC Comics superhero movie experience anyone has had in the last decade or will have in the next decade. Not that that’s saying much.

    Even as someone who is wary of sequels, spin-offs and reboots, and also someone who laughed out loud a lot while watching The Lego Movie more than once, this film was a no-doubt, laugh out loud, wildly entertaining nostalgic spoof. And it didn’t hurt to be able to watch it in the theater sitting next to my nine year old son who was more excited about this screening than any other up to this point in his youthful movie-watching life and who was laughing joyously throughout.

    The truth of the matter is that we’re all Batman-over-saturated and superhero-sick and that’s the reason why an over-commercialized sequel that pads its running time with a run-of-the-mill, unnecessarily overly dramatic and character-stuffed climactic battle that I had zero interest in still felt newer, fresher and more entertaining than any DC movie in recent memory. Sure, as the heroes battled the villains from 27 different film and comic franchises to save the world I wanas yawning and wishing for more inside jokes about the unhealthy love-hate relationship between Batman and the Joker or the jealousy Batman feels for the pretty-boy perfection of Superman or the general absurdity of a playboy millionaire who fights crime by night while spending his days hanging out with only his butler in his expansive mansion or the bats in his cavernous underground Batcave complex.

    I guess there is a plot here but it’s really not worth spending time talking about. The film is at its best in its quieter  and more absurd moments as we watch a batmask-cowled Wayne in his housecoat microwaving a lobster thermadore or intently watching Jerry Maguire alone or in the interactions between its hero (Will Arnett, with that perfectly perfect voice) and the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) or goofily adoring sidekick Robin (Tim Cera), all superbly cast. Because we all know the Batman character and we’ve all reacted in our own ways to his various incarnations, the film can easily hold sway over its audience by simply blending together the dark and the campy and the absurd imagery of its protagonist in a Lego-pastiche. Not to say that the ensemble of writers, who often fire jokes and gags at the audience at a Top Gun-like rate aren’t also a great strength of the film. But in the end the film succeeds in poking fun at everything that has come before and providing a bit of much needed comedic relief.

    Rating: 8/10

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