“You can’t be a hero if you only care about yourself.”
The LEGO Batman Movie, an indirect sequel to The LEGO Movie, is an animated action-comedy film, which takes a unique spin on the DC Comics character, Batman, who must face his biggest fear in order to defeat the crown prince of crime, the Joker. Starring an ensemble voice cast including Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson and Ralph Fiennes, the film illustrates a whole unexplored and comedic side of the Batman character.
The film as a whole takes the mickey out of the Batman franchise and is incredibly witty. Told from Batman’s perspective, we are given an insight into The Dark Knight’s life as a crime-fighting vigilante. We see Batman as a bit of an arrogant jerk, who genuinely believes he is Gotham’s only saviour and solution to its crime problem. He enjoys the attention and praise he receives, almost to the point that he lives for it, as saving the day is the only thing he has in his life, with no one to return home to besides Alfred, and no one to really share his life with. We are shown that Batman, despite being the coolest superhero in Gotham, is nothing more than a lonely man, longing for more, yet too afraid to face his biggest fear of connecting and caring for another person.
In comes Alfred, who challenges Batman to face his fears, much to the disgust of Batman. The way in which Batman refuses to address his issues is undeniably childish and immature, which of course, makes for a humorous watch. In many ways, the film manages to point out Batman’s rather unsavoury characteristics in fun and hilarious ways. In an interesting twist, the film also manages to give the Joker a more likeable personality, as a villain who desperately believes he is ‘the one’ ultimate foe for Batman. The notion of Batman and the Joker’s relationship being almost akin to a romance was certainly chuckle-worthy.
Further to poking fun at Batman’s character and history, the film also includes various throwbacks to previous Batman films and series, beginning with the 1960s Adam West TV series all the way through to the Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan films. These throwbacks were marvelous and most definitely a tribute to the Batman franchise and the evolution of the Bat-family characters throughout the years. One of my favourite parts in the film was the visual ‘sound effects’ that was used in the same style of the 1960s Batman series, for example, “Pow”, “Whack”, “Ka-Pow” etc.
Interestingly, The LEGO Batman Movie does include an important life lesson, which was rather typical of a ‘child-friendly’ film of this kind. In it, the film depicts the importance of friendships and places significance on the value of trust and facing one’s fears. It took Dick Grayson (a.k.a the first Robin), Barbara Gordon (a.k.a Batgirl) and Alfred to show Batman the right path toward combating crime in Gotham.
As it stands, any LEGO film would be a joy to watch, with vibrant colours and unique animations. The visuals in this film was no different and was appealing, more so to children who would find the visuals, such as epic vehicles and explosions, ‘cool’. Notably, the soundtrack was rather epic as well, which made for a fantastic experience during crime-busting and action scenes.
Overall The LEGO Batman Movie was certainly entertaining in a unique way and was rather comical. With an interesting premise of an immature Batman and important messages of family and friendships, the film was a good watch, however appeared to overuse its jokes much too soon, leaving the second half of the film to come across as rather bland. It’s also important to point out that, while many of the gags would tickle children’s funny bones, there were several jokes that were subtly reserved for adults. Needless to say, the film is one for the entire family and will remind viewers that Batman too, is only human. As a fan of DC Comics heroes, especially Batman, The LEGO Batman Movie is worthy of a school-holidays watch.