Movie Review: Everything About The LEGO Batman Movie Is Awesome
Let’s face it: there are several reasons why laugh-out-loud comedies don’t win Oscars. Not the least of which is that the judges are a dour lot of people who hate fun, but also because it’s easy to make an audience laugh. It’s an easy emotion to garner from an audience. An audience’s natural inclination is to laugh, regardless of the piece that they’re seeing. Make a scene uncomfortable enough, and an audience will laugh. It requires so little effort that when it comes to judging such films, one must do so with an extra critical eye. That being said, Lego Batman is the masterpiece of mirth the world needed (though not the one it deserves). With its soon-to-be legendary humor, its twists on the character and the genre, and its endearing character development, Lego Batman, like the toy, is well constructed, and fun for all ages.
Back by popular demand, Will Arnett reprises his role as the Lego Batman: an egotistical superhero who writes and sings his own theme songs by night, and a reclusive billionaire waiting for the night by day. The Joker (Zach Galifianakis), determined to get Batman to crawl out of his emotionless shell and get him to admit that he hates The Joker above all others, hatches a nefarious plan to recruit the most eclectic group of supervillains ever formed. In order to stop him, Batman must face his fear of letting people in, and team up with his butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), Commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), and his newly adopted son, Dick Grayson (Michael Cera).
Of course they had almost 80 years of Batman history to riff about, and while they didn't miss a facet in this Batman roast, the humor went so much further beyond that. An artistic melding of script and actor lead to some of the best delivered jokes this side of the decade. With so much wit that they got away with a Robin's-name-is-Dick joke while still flying under the PG radar. The pure subtlety of the film's true humor lets it layer like a well constructed Lego city, allowing the kids to enjoy the over-the-top characters on the surface, and letting the adults come back a second time to catch all the jokes they missed the first time, because it's impossible to take it all in in one sitting (I speak from experience).
The jokes didn’t stop there, though. Not only did they nail the Batman/DC jokes, but they used their license agreements to hit every fandom from Harry Potter to Doctor Who. Pandering? Oh yeah. Effective? Like Bat-shark repellent. Audiences roared over the clash of cultures, making it fun for Batman fans and haters alike.
This wasn’t the only impressive side of Lego Batman. As previously stated, humor comes naturally. What was really impressive was that the characters and story were so well written that it allowed the audience to emotionally connect with caricatures. The rule of thumb is that the more closely a character hits home, the easier it is to connect with, yet by the end of the film I felt myself caring for a character played by Michael Cera; a feat I never thought was possible. Even The Joker tugged at heartstrings as he desperately tried to be hated by his mortal enemy in this clever take on what was essentially a relationship comedy.
Now this is not to say that you have to go see it, or that it’s destined to win an Oscar for its clever ploys and fresh takes on tired tales. No, this is saying you should go see it twice, and that it should win an Oscar. See what put the “go” in Lego.