Grim_Noir Puts Together a Review of The Lego Batman Movie

LEGO Batman poster

Title: The Lego Batman Movie

Creators (original character): Bob Kane & Bill Finger

Screenplay: Seth Grahame-Smith and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers and Jared Stern & John Whittington (from a story by Seth Grahame-Smith)

Directed by Chris McKay

Starring: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate, Siri, and a cast of thousands

Distributed by Warner Brothers

Reviewed by Grim_Noir

Christopher Nolan must have felt a disturbance in the Force this past weekend. The Lego Batman Movie‘s Dark Knight manages to “out-Nolan” the master himself. That’s right, a computer-animated plastic block successfully grapples with all the existential angst of the mythology, while achieving the one-two punch of jaw-dropping action and laugh-out-loud FUN (elements that previous DC Superhero movies have been sorely lacking).

“To stop crime takes a village, not a Batman,” intones Rosario Dawson’s newly-minted Police Commissioner Barbara Gordon (top of her class at Harvard for Police), triggering Bruce Wayne (Will Arnett) to confront his Caped Crusader’s possible obsolescence. That unexpected retirement goes from theoretical to practical almost immediately as The Joker (and every other criminal in Gotham) shows up at a gala to surrender to the proper authorities.

Batgirl

It seems that The Joker wants a commitment from Batman to be sworn archenemies, but The Bat, “likes to fight around.” So The Joker is going to take himself “off the market” until Batman truly appreciates him. …Or is he? All of this may be tied to the most daring prison break the universe has ever seen…

The Batman/Joker dichotomy/duality has been addressed a dozen times in comics, movies and TV, but the personalities involved in this version make it all seem fresh. Zach Galifianakis’ needy, neurotic schlub slots in perfectly for this Joker as he pairs with Arnett’s “Narcissism-As-Armor” Batman. The homoerotic elements of their relationship as “Bro-man” and his “wanting-something-more” green-haired girlfriend are way, way in the forefront, yet still a wink and a giggle for small children.

The Joker

Trust, loss, commitment, fatherhood, teamwork…yes, the breakout (or is it break-apart?) character from 2015’s The Lego Movie has a lot on his emotional plate, but he also retains his Master Builder powers from that movie and gains new allies. Only this version of the Dark Knight could accidentally adopt the unflaggingly optimistic orphan acrobat Dick Grayson, remain oblivious to Barbara’s constant offers of assistance and not even know that Alfred was ex-R.A.F.. And he will need to pull all of it together because, by the end, he is up against the worse villains ever (*ahem*) assembled.

For the true geeks, this movie is packed wall-to-wall with “look away and you’ll miss it” voices, including Billy Dee Williams, Hector Elizondo, Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Conan O’Brien, Laura Kightlinger, Mariah Carey, Kate Micucci, Jemaine Clement, Seth Green, Eddie Izzard, Doug Benson, Zoe Kravitz, Brent Musburger, Chris Hardwick, and on and on.

Bat Scuttler

While this version is the (implied) vision of a child’s imagination, using Lego blocks leads to some spectacular action sequences and destruction on a scale that only Star Wars movies can match. Combined with a nothing-sacred, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink sense of humor, The Lego Batman Movie is a rollicking thrill ride.

Pulling in writers from Robot Chicken, American Dad and Wreck-It Ralph, what The Lego Batman Movie reminds us is that voyages of self-discovery can be breath-taking and joyous and often more obvious to those around us than to ourselves.

Lego Batman logo

 

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* GRIM_NOIR is convinced that the internet a figment of his imagination. Please comment below and/or follow @Grim_Noir on Twitter or “Friend” on Facebook or Good Reads to end his self-delusions.

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