Movie Review: Lego Batman Brings the Lunacy

Movie Review: Lego Batman Brings the Lunacy
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Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is a thespian and performer who has worked with theatre, film, and TV across Ontario. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. He is a graduate of Journalism and Performing Arts from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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It’s been months since a family blockbuster’s opened in theatres, but the Lego Batman Movie’s massive opening this weekend is going to change that. Stuffed with gigantic effects, lightning-fast action, brooding comedy and crisp animation, blockbuster almost isn’t enough to describe everything this new, blocky Batman is.

Lego Batman is the first of many spinoff movies in Warner Brothers’ animated Lego franchise that began with the surprise hit The Lego Movie in 2014. While there are many similarities between them, they’re also far more different than expected.

In addition to being a Lego movie, it’s also a classic Batman story. There’s diabolical villains, whirlwind crime fighting, wide city vistas and dark imagery. The main addition with the 3D Lego animation is the amusing comedic timing and sharp antics.

If all these elements sound overwhelming, it’s not without good reason. With so much happening in the movie, there are definitely some confusing scenes and plot points. The good news is Lego Batman moves so fast you forget whatever the question was in the time it takes for something else exciting to appear on screen.

The story is near impossible to follow amidst the frantic action, though there’s enough heft to support the film’s morals. The plot is standard Batman fare: a band of villains are trying to seize control of Gotham city, and Batman (Will Arnett, returning from The Lego Movie) must team up with Robin and some new friends to save the day.

Photo credit: Warner Bros. Animation.

At first it may seem like old territory, but after half an hour the movie gets ludicrous. Just about every Batman villain who’s ever existed shows up, along with other Lego baddies like Sauron, King Kong, Godzilla, Voldemort, and even the Gremlins. Don’t worry if you get lost; it’s no surprise the movie’s busy with seven screenwriters and story artists.

Thankfully, it’s never so busy or distracting the audience is bored or the story arc is incoherent. It’s not so dark or tediously serious like other epic superhero films (like last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), and it’s definitely appropriate for families and young children.

What makes Lego Batman different from The Lego Movie is the tone of unapologetic creativity isn’t as appropriate or effective here. This movie isn’t about the power of creation and discovery; this Batman’s main theme is the responsibility of family and admitting your fears.

But Batman still works as a Lego movie because it makes the dark superhero more playful and satirical. Now Batman can work as a strong comedy story because it’s through a whimsical lens. Though strangely, the humour is more witty than laugh-out-loud funny.

Director Chris McKay knows that this approach to the irreverent premise means this is a Lego movie first and not a DC superhero thriller. Audiences with this expectation will have a lot more fun with Lego Batman.

For kids, the movie is zippy, visually bright fun. For adults, you might correctly suspect with all the 60s-90s batman in-jokes and references the whole movie was actually made for you. But for everyone who walks into the cinema, it’s pure glitzy entertainment with a raw soul and no shame. And that’s a promising mix that you can (and Warner Bros. hope to) build on with the Lego movies to come.

The Lego Batman Movie
3 out of 4 stars.

PG, 104 minutes. Animated Superhero Action Comedy.
Directed by Chris McKay.
Starring Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, Rosario Dawson and Ralph Fiennes.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP.


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