Spoilers ahead. I’ve seen it. What do you get when you mix one of my favourite hobbies with one of my favourite characters? You actually get a pretty good movie all in all. I am going to talk about the LEGO Batman Movie. Since I will be sharing spoilers, this brief intro bit will be my spoiler free review. It was a good film, go see it. Sorry I cannot go into details. See it. Then read the blog.
So we had the LEGO movie 3 years ago, and that was a classic family movie. Good vibes, good characters, good humour. The challenging thing is to make a good follow up for the film. Is LEGO Batman a good follow up? No, not really. It isn’t a follow up. As far as I am concerned, this film is a Batman movie with LEGO, not the other way around. The film’s story, the easter eggs, and the characterisation, it isn’t a LEGO movie. It really is a Batman film, and a good Batman film.
The plot is really focused on two things, Batman is trying to stop The Joker from doing his usual schtick of taking over Gotham and bringing chaos to the city, while Batman learns to work as part of a team and accept help. That’s the basic gist of the film. Its a family film, it doesn’t have to be complicated, but with the simplistic plot it really doesn’t need to be complicated, because these writers build on that premise of Batman working with a team. My overimaginative adult mind reads a lot into it, knowing the Batman mythos.
Batman in this films struggles to work with others, because his mission has always been to protect Gotham, and protect others. Batman is also quite anti social in this film, and that’s where a lot of his comedy comes in. He’s so self absorbed, self grandiosing, he has no set norms and values. That makes a lot of sense to me. His parents died at a young age, and while he was raised by Alfred, the kid must have been spoilt, but never really socialised with others. The scene in the fortress of solitude where Superman holds his party shows this off. The Batman is no social butterfly, and Bruce Wayne isn’t much of one either.
Robin and Alfred in this film are really good as well. In this version, Robin is Dick Grayson, who is also an orphan in the comics (btw, loved the dick name joke where Bruce first meets Robin). He looks up to Bruce Wayne, because he was an orphan too. That father-son dynamic really shines through in this. Robin is probably the funniest character in the film. What I like is that he is a naive kid too, like Batman is a niave adult, both are quite socially awkward. As for Alfred, he serves his role as Batman’s helper and confidante, but the thing is that both Robin and Alfred together are the catalyst for Batman to overcome his teamwork problem. Alfred raised Bruce, he knows Bruce’s issues, and seeks to take Bruce out of his comfort zone. Dick is part of the catalyst because he is the first to work with Batman when they steal the Phantom Zone gun, and its one of the first instances where Batman begins to see the point in working in a team.
Barbara Gordon in this film is a bit of a departure from the character in the comics, but it is an interesting direction they take her in. She becomes the Commissioner, replacing her father in the role, and she is not like her father. Under her Father, the interpretation I got with the Batman-Police relationship was a reliance on Batman. It helped, but it never caught criminals. Barbara comments that working separately does not achieve much in the way of capturing criminals, but cooperation does. Barbara is tough, confident, gets her share of funny moments, and kicks brick!
As for Joker? Not as psychotic as his comic counterpart, a bit toned, down, but they nailed his character accurately. The film touches on the cooperation theme with Joker and Batman. Batman relies on Joker, and Joker relies on Batman. Why does Joker go to the Phantom Zone to get out Daleks, The Kraken, and Lord Voldemort? Batman says he doesn’t regard Joker as his worst enemy. The comics touch on the Joker-Batman relationship like a twisted romantic one, where they hate each other, and each relies on the other for their existence. Batman cannot admit that he is his worst enemy, which leads him to extreme measures.
There were so many Batman references. Not only were there reference to the previous Batman movies, but the Cartoons, Comics, and even the movie serials from the 40’s. All very cool to see. There was even references to ‘How it Should have ended’ (BECAUSE I’M BATMAN) and I do believe that they referenced Forrestfire101, who made Lego Batman stopmotion movies. Remember this song from the film?
. This film wasn’t perfect. Pacing at the start was sluggish though it did get better after the first act, and I was disappointed that none of the actors from previous Batman related things did not appear. That’s a minor complaint, compared to the fact that the Justice League appeared all over the trailers, but not so much in the film. That sucked. Why not? Same issue like with Rogue One. Don’t put this stuff in trailers if it isn’t in the finished product!
All in all, it was a good film, and I am glad I saw it. It was a fun ride, and a good Batman movie. The story was complete, and it was very faithful to the characters its based on. By the end of the film, it all comes full circle. Quite literally. Go and see it again, or recommend to your friends.
Also, Eddie Izzard played Voldemort! They had Ralph Fiennes! Oh well, I like Eddie Izzard.