Lego Batman is not the hero audiences deserve, but the hero they need.
Will Arnett’s Batman blesses us on the big screen once more, three years after the first Lego movie, this time delving deeper into the personal struggles of the famed Caped Crusader.
To antagonize the ancient rivalry that dates back to the beginning of time: Marvel vs. DC (or Batman vs Superman if you ask Batman, but don’t tell the Joker that), it is apparent that DC is trying to grasp at the little sparks that make Marvel movies so explosive. The opening sequence, for instance, is a montage of priceless 4th wall breaking that is unique to Batman, but pays homage to last year’s smash hit, Deadpool. It is apparent Marvel struck a chord with incredible resonance when they wove the use of classic songs into Guardians of the Galaxy, making the soundtrack a phenomenon. Other movies have attempted to follow suit, the atrocity that was Suicide Squad is one. Yet The Lego Batman Movie has sincerely found that sweet note with their soundtrack via their citing Michael Jackson, utilizing other smash hits, and even having Batman spit his own fire “mixtape.” Though, no need to fear, parents. The movie spares you of any songs as excruciat– I mean catchy—as “Let It Go” or “Everything is Awesome”, but for the next few weeks, your little ones may be saying ‘pew pew pew’ and expecting “BAM!” or “POW!” to materialize in the air every time they hit something hard enough. Granted, the singing and beatboxing is uncharacteristic to the brooding philanthropist we have come to admire since the 60’s, however his musical prowess added a silly dimension to Batman that made him more relatable to kids.
Including, his new son, Dick Grayson (voiced by Michael Cera), an orphan conveniently skilled in capoeira style martial-arts. Now if you are as immature as I and find his name amusing, I can assure you that we are no more childish than Seth Grahame-Smith (Dark Shadows and Pride & Prejudice & Zombies) and the other writers. And trust me, that’s a good thing. Otherwise, you would miss out on the hilarious yet incredibly innocent interactions between Robin and his newfound family. “Family” being the keyword there as it is the main motif in this movie and is barely addressed in other Batman films. Woven into the action and comedy is the story of Batman and his abs, alone in the Batcave.
This tedious cycle instigates Batman’s realization that he requires an army of his own if his lifework as a vigilante will amount to anything against his armada of enemies. Besides Robin, he finds an ally in the independent and imposing Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson). Previous Batman installments have introduced us to Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, but for the majority of this story, it is pleasing to see a strong female match Batman’s wit and kick-assery. Those two combined with Batman’s doting butler, Alfred (Ralph Fienes) fill in the holes that have torn through Bruce Wayne’s life since he was a child and bring both the plot and story lines to a full circle.
This realization could not happen at a better time for the film climaxes with Batman’s battle between ethics and the worst antagonists we’ve ever seen on screen; including, but not limited to: Joker, Voldemort, King Kong, and Sauron (voiced in order by Zach Galifianakis, Eddie Izzard, Seth Green, and Jemaine Clement).
Chiefly, DC Entertainment certainly knows how to tell stories that are appreciated across generations through painfully awkward social themes, characters recognized by all, and those infamous pesky plastic toys that have more safety risks than interchangeable hair pieces. The Lego Batman Movie opens February 10.