The LEGO Movie was original, inventive, witty and stylish. Batman was used as punctuation – injected a bit of pompous self-congratulation while saving a few lives.
The LEGO Batman Movie takes those few moments and puffs them up into a 104-minute excursion into the EGO part of The LEGO Batman. By the time he decides that he can’t do it all alone, the film’s relentless barrage of witless gags, unsubtle digs and brilliantly animated but repetitive sight gags have pretty much put its audience over the age of 5, to sleep (I heard no laughter during the screening I attended).
The LEGO Batman Movie is, essentially, the story of how Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) discovers that he needs people in his life – good and bad.
To do that, he must go through a laborious process involving putting the Joker in Arkham via the Phantom Zone (Batman steals the Phantom Zone Projector from Superman – who’s too busy partying with the rest of the Justice League in the Fortress of Solitude to notice).
Like The LEGO Movie, there’s a mix and match barrage of villains from all over – Voldemort, Sauron, Bane, The Riddler, Captain Condiment (no, really!), and Harley Quinn among them.
The movie sends up such iconic moments as Bruce Wayne’s adoption of Dick ‘Robin’ Grayson; the origin of Batgirl (Barbara Gordon becomes chief of police?), and the word balloons filled with sound effects that appeared in the sixties Batman TV show.
The basic problem is that most of the gags aren’t particularly funny and the ones that are have already appeared in the trailers.
There’s a theme about family that runs through both sides in the film – some villains turn on another when he dumps them for his new, more powerful friends; Batman pretends to be part of a team including Robin (Michael Cera), Batgirl (Rosario Dawson) and Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) before having a Bat-vehicle called the Scuttler take them off to safety before his (he thinks) final battle.
The best thing I can say about The LEGO Batman Movie is that the animation is as well done as The LEGO Movie.
I really wanted to at least like this movie, but I never laughed out loud one and only felt any kind of an emotional response for a brief moment at the end.
Final Grade: D