By Bradley Griffith
After the surprising success of “The Lego Movie” the powers that be were quick to greenlight “The Lego Batman Movie.” The animated sequel enjoyed success at the box office, but not even close to the returns of the original.
Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) is a solitary figure. Even though he enjoys the admiration of the entire population of Gotham, and loves every second of it, he lives his life in solitude in his enormous mansion and bat cave. His only company is that of his long-time butler and confidant, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes). Batman purposefully chooses this lifestyle because, after his parents were murdered, he is afraid of being a part of a family again. He is afraid of losing someone he loves.
Batman is called to a nuclear plant in Gotham as the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) and his henchmen attempt to explode the nuclear reactor and destroy Gotham. As usual, Batman manages to defeat the Joker, but not before a strange confrontation. Batman refuses to admit that the Joker is his archenemy. The Joker’s feelings are hurt as he silently weeps because Batman won’t tell him that he hates him. The Joker escapes in tears while Batman defuses the bomb.
Later, Batman attends a gala as Bruce Wayne for newly appointed Commissioner of Police Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson). Bruce instantly falls in love with Barbara at first sight. Until she explains her plan to befriend Batman and have him work alongside the Gotham Police Department. Batman relishes his role as the Dark Knight, the solitary and mysterious vigilante seeking justice, and has no intention of sharing the spotlight with the police.
The Joker crashes the gala with all of his cohorts so that he can…surrender. The Joker is summarily banished to the Phantom Zone. Batman correctly senses the Joker is up to no good and sets out to discover and foil his plot.
“The Lego Batman Movie” is funny and quick-witted in the same way as the original movie. The writing is excellent. It would take several viewings of the movie to catch all the jokes, quips, and one-liners, many of which would only be understood by adults. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I liked the movie more than my eight-year-old daughter.
The movie is goofy and silly, though not quite as much as the original. The humor is a little more aimed at adults, though it’s clearly not a movie that everyone will enjoy. Still, it’s a movie appropriate for the entire family without fear of covering your little one’s eyes or ears.
The introduction of young Dick Grayson, aka Robin, (Michael Cera) into the movie was a great idea. At the gala Bruce Wayne is befriended by the young boy. Dick is an outcast at the local orphanage and wants more than anything to be loved and be part of a family. Dick gets Bruce Wayne to unwittingly agree to adopt him. It adds the humor of Batman as a reluctant father and also an element of family to the movie.
“The Lego Batman Movie” is not a movie that causes you to think deep thoughts or have moments of introspection about your own life. In fact, it’s better if you don’t think at all while you’re watching the movie. Just sit back and enjoy it for what it is, mindless entertainment featuring a comical caped-crusader and a completely insecure Joker.
Rated PG for rude humor and some action.