By Grant Dillard, Contributing writer
After the success of 2014’s smash hit comedy film, “The Lego Movie,” it only made sense to release a spin-off film based around one of its most popular characters: Lego Batman. What could have easily been a lazy cash-in on the Lego brand and the Batman name actually manages to be just as great as “The Lego Movie,” as well as being one of the best Batman movies of all time.
The movie focuses on Batman (Will Arnett) doing his typical superhero duties: saving Gotham City, stopping the bad guys and looking cool while doing all those things, all of which moviegoers are most likely familiar with at this point. But despite all the praise and glory he gets from Gotham’s citizens, Batman feels depressed because he doesn’t have a family like he used to as a child. He prefers to work alone, despite having his butler, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), as well as other allies including Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) and Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) who are constantly telling him he needs to learn to work together with them. Meanwhile, The Joker (Zack Galifianakis) plans to destroy Gotham City, all while trying to make Batman admit that he is the dark knight’s greatest enemy, pretty much like a twisted romance film.
The characters that help the film stand out the most are Batman and the Joker. In this movie, Batman is a straight-up narcissist. He takes every chance he gets to gloat about how awesome he is, but deep down, he feels lonely. He always wants to work alone, but only because he doesn’t want to lose anyone he cares about, like he lost his parents. The Joker is also handled brilliantly, always obsessing about getting Batman to tell him that he hates him. It’s like a romantic comedy in reverse, and it leads to a lot of entertaining encounters between the two.
“The Lego Batman Movie” is fast paced and has a great sense of humor. The film takes full advantage of the history of the Batman character. Several forms of Batman filmography are given humorous references: from the Adam West TV series to “The Dark Knight Trilogy,” and even last year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
The first act is the funniest, hands down, where Batman takes on nearly all of his villains. The amount of gags is so gigantic; it may even take multiple viewings to catch all of them. The second and third acts don’t have as much humor as the first, but they take the time to develop the characters and make them interesting.
With great characters and really clever comedy, “The Lego Batman Movie” is more than just a typical animated kids film. It appeals to Batman fans, both young and old, as well as casual viewers looking for an entertaining family movie.