“Black. All important movies start with a black screen.”
With that line, The LEGO Batman Movie begins and 1 hour 46 minutes of raucous, hilarity ensues. To quote the overquoted line from the original LEGO Movie, with The LEGO Batman Movie: “Everything is awesome!”
In The LEGO Batman Movie, Batman (Will Arnett) does what he does best: cockily saving Gotham from evildoers. However, once the Batmobile is powered down and the mask comes off, he finds himself stranded on a island of loneliness (both figuratively and literally, Wayne Manor is on an island in the middle of the city). He still misses his parents and yearns for a family, but won’t admit it, despite his butler Alfred’s (Ralph Fiennes) attempts to have him open up. At a gala celebrating Commissioner James Gordon’s (Hector Elizondo) retirement, his daughter Barbara (Rosario Dawson) becomes the new commissioner and proposes working hand in hand with Batman, a concept to which Bruce Wayne spit takes multiple times. However, the party is interrupted by a slew of bad guys led by the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) and Bruce slips into his Batman garb to save the day again, but not before Joker and the other villains voluntarily surrender. With all the baddies locked up, Batman has nothing to do, except to take in an orphan, Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) that he unknowingly adopted at the party.
The LEGO Batman Movie combines the best parts of a Batman film with the best parts of the wacky LEGO Movie universe, creating a delightful, hilarious, and enjoyable movie. LEGO aspects aside, this is the Batman movie we’ve always wanted. And the adults in the audience will appreciate the onslaught of self-referential humor, as well as jabs at the Batman franchise and other competing franchises.
Unlike its predecessor, The LEGO Movie, the plot of The LEGO Batman Movie is actual quite tight. While the first film was centered on the concept of “with creativity you can built anything” (resulting in too many tangents and random moments), this movie discards most of those out-there moments to focus on Batman/Bruce Wayne and his journey. Now, that’s not saying there aren’t quirky, fun scenes (there’s plenty of those), but this time, they don’t come at the total expense of the plot.
The film focuses on developing and exploring the selfish, “I work alone, kid” Batman, but we do get to see the origins of Robin and Batgirl, which hopefully will be explored more in future sequels (yes, I said: I want a sequel of the sequel!). Even though Batman gives off a stony exterior, his character development is satisfying and the moral feel-good and uplifting.
Despite the Batman film franchise having been around for decades at this point, The LEGO Batman Movie feels fresh. You will start and leave this film with a smile. Go see it and take your friends, family and other loved ones big and small because you all will have a great time.