Who doesn’t love LEGO? They are lovely little blocks you snap together to create anything your mind comes up with and are filled with personality. The year 2014 saw the release of a film called The LEGO Movie that was far better then it had any right to be. Offering a charming story presenting the core theme of why LEGO’s are so important, it was a wonderful experience many loved.
This started a new series of movies from WB Animation Studios, with them producing two films this year. The first of the two films releasing is The LEGO Batman Movie and by using LEGO Movie’s take on Batman as the staring role, we take a LEGO-ized tour through Gotham City. Does Batman master build his way to the hearts of fans and young audiences alike? Or does his creations crumble under heavy expectations?
The LEGO Batman Movie opens up with the Joker teaming up with all of Batman’s villains (and I mean all of them) to take him out and blow up Gotham City. Batman jumps into action with one of the best superhero introduction scenes I’ve ever seen and the story goes continues from that point onward. What makes this movie so strong is a blend of sharp writing, using every bit Batman lore to build his character, and the supporting cast surrounding the caped crusader.
Jokes are on rapid fire across the entire film and I was consistently laughing. The humor loves to poke fun at Batman’s past and present, covering almost every incarnation of the character in some fashion or form. This allows the movie to offer something for everyone, as we all grew up with different versions of Batman. Seeing so many styles and themes from Batman’s history blending together was quite interesting.
Humor outside of references to Batman/DC Comics is also well done, as Batman himself is a great character. He continues being self-centered, a show off and appears to only care about just himself. But his dynamics with characters in The LEGO Movie allowed this personality to work. With this film however, Batman’s personality can run the risk of being too much of a jerk. Thankfully that isn’t the case as Batman is deconstructed in ways we’ve seen before; focusing on his fear of loss.
How this is done though leads to great moments and adds importance to how he treats people close to him. Robin, Alfred and Barbra all help with this aspect of the story due to how they interact with Batman. Robin is wide-eyed exploding with energy, Alfred is the calm father figure to Batman who is trying very hard to deal with his silliness, and Barbra is the level-headed character of the group trying to work something out with Batman regarding him respecting with the law.
I loved this part of the film and it does such a good job having Batman grow as a character, which is clearly shown with his dynamics with the Joker. When both are on screen, the movie’s emotional moments really hit home and the conclusion to how their relationship goes was rewarding to see. Regarding the film’s animation, it looks great with almost everything looking like LEGO.
While some details like the water are not LEGO pieces, a large chunk of the movie retains the ‘solid’ look of LEGO Movie in addition to ramping up the action. Little touches like animation smears being literal LEGO pieces in specific frames help give the film a solid look that always feels moving. Music in the film is very strong with the main theme for Batman being a wonderful example of his personality being thrown in your face; rocking rifts and funny lyrics working great together. Licensed music tracks are effectively used in the film and voice acting matches every character quite well.
The final third of the movie needs to be highlighted, as it takes the idea of various franchises sharing the same world and turns the concept on it’s head. It leads to a great climax that was a ton of fun, more so if you love 80’s and 90’s films.
The LEGO Batman Movie is one of the best DC Movies I’ve seen since The Dark Knight Rises and easily matches the quality of The LEGO Movie in quality. Highly recommend you build your way to the nearest theater to check out LEGO Gotham City. With more LEGO Movies in production, I am very excited to see what more worlds WB Animation builds in the future.