The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)


“Sir . . . I’ve seen you go through similar phases in 2016 and 2012 and 2008 and 2005 and 1997 and 1995 and 1992 and 1989 and that weird one in 1966.” — Alfred Pennyworth (voice of Ralph Fiennes) to Batman

Like its 2014 predecessor, “The LEGO Movie,” The LEGO Batman Movie, a sequel — of sorts — keeps the clever, irreverent (and hilarious) aspects, thanks to director Chris McKay (the helmer of the first film) and writers Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern and John Whittington, none of whom, ironically, had anything to do with the “The LEGO Movie.”

With dozens of pop cultural references, musical interludes, historical puns and audience asides, the picture plays like a hyper version of a “Mystery Science Theater 3000” episode and tells the story of the ongoing battle of wits and wills between Batman (voice of Will Arnett, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”) and Joker (voice of Zach Galifianakis, “Keeping Up with the Joneses”).

Here in McKay’s world, however, the dynamic of hero and villain is more like a romantic relationship between lovers (for instance, Batman tells his “enemy” that he has more than one nemesis, saying, “I like to fight around”). For the lone wolf, dark knight vigilante, this is fine and dandy, but to Joker, these words cut like a knife, so he plans his revenge and to prove he is the Caped Crusaders one true equal and opposite number.

Batman is also alone with no family or friends to speak off (except faithful butler, Alfred), and spends several absolutely hilarious sequences heating food in a microwave, eating dinner and laughing at the conclusion of “Jerry Maguire” (hey, who wouldn’t?!). He also pines for his dead parents (shown in a “selfie” he took shortly before their murder) and has conversations with his “computer.”

Employing the stock Batman bad guys (including The Riddler, Catwoman, Bane, Two-Face, Scarecrow, Clayface, Poison Ivy, as well as some completely made up characters), Joker plants the stock explosive devices, hijacks an airliner, makes ransom demands and causes generally chaotic confusion, but is ultimately conquered and sent to prison. He then formulates a plan to get “transferred” to the Phantom Zone detention area for an even more nefarious scheme.

Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne promises to adopt an annoying, goofy, but good-hearted orphan, Richard “Dick” Grayson (voice of Michael Cera, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”), plus has to deal with Gotham’s newest Police Commissioner, Barbara Gordon (voice of Rosario Dawson, “The Captive”), and her policy making the superhero play by the rules, have some accountability AND work with others.

It all comes to a head soon thereafter, when, after using Harley Quinn (Jenny Slate, “This Means War”) to free him from the Zone, Joker also reintroduces a villainous all-star gang featuring General Zod, Sauron, Lord Voldemort, King Kong, the Gremlins and those silly British robots (the Daleks) from the “Dr. Who” TV series, to help put into motion his end game with Batman.

Will Batman save Gotham once again? Will he show love to his butler, son and Babs Gordon? Will he finally begin to work well with others? And will the “ship” grow stronger between him and Joker? Well, you have to find the answers to these questions yourself, but one thing is for sure, one will most likely not experience a funnier time at the box office. It is a sad commentary, though, that many of the more humorous films seem to be animated (i.e., “Shaun the Sheep,” “Finding Dory,” “Zootopia,” and “Sausage Party,” among others), while live action so-called comedies continue to circle the drain.

The LEGO Batman Movie is no exception. It is also a perfect parody of the Batman/DC superhero genre (spoofing other characters such as Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern and others), as well as the fourth best Batman film ever made, for what it’s worth. Often loud, silly and confusing, but ALWAYS side-splitting, this Warner Bros. release is certain to not only duplicate the first film’s box office power (more than $450 million), but should surpass it on the award circuit, considering the idiots at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not even NOMINATE the first one for a Best Animated Feature Oscar.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
4 Star Rating: Good

4

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The Critical Movie Critics

I have been a movie fan for most of my life and a film critic since 1986 (my first published review was for “Platoon”). Since that time I have written for several news and entertainment publications in California, Utah and Idaho. Big fan of the Academy Awards – but wish it would go back to the five-minute dinner it was in May, 1929. A former member of the San Diego Film Critics Society and current co-host of “The Movie Guys,” each Sunday afternoon on KOGO AM 600 in San Diego with Kevin Finnerty.


'Movie Review: The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)' have 9 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 13, 2017 @ 4:29 pm URFUCT

    I liked, it, but I think you’re going overboard with the ‘ALWAYS side-splitting’ comment. It’s funny but not that funny. There’s a lot of references and inside jokes that are easily missed (especially by the younger crowd) and I feel it tries to hard to one-up the original.

    Reply

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 13, 2017 @ 4:41 pm Angelina

    Sad state of DC affairs when a satirical look at their most liked character is the most liked look of their most liked character.

    Reply

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 13, 2017 @ 5:12 pm galatic pinata

    Surprisingly clever and lots of fun. When this was announced I pegged it for a cash-in but it’s clear they put a lot of effort into it. More than say, Suicide Squad for sure.

    Reply

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 13, 2017 @ 5:30 pm bloosuga

    Dragged for me. Started off strong, waned in the middle and went nutty at the end.

    Reply

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 13, 2017 @ 5:37 pm miller

    Two thumbs way up.

    Reply

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 13, 2017 @ 7:13 pm Costeno

    The entire DC cinematic universe should be done with LEGO blocks. Clearly,

    Reply

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 13, 2017 @ 8:45 pm i_am_clem

    My son and I liked it so much we broke out the LEGO sets, dumped them on the floor and started building with reckless abandon. Cleanup is going to suck once the novelty wears off though.

    Reply

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 13, 2017 @ 11:02 pm Rzysztof

    It didn’t do much for me. Other than it being done in LEGO-style, it’s just your basic parody film with a 50% joke/meta reference hit rate.

    Reply

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 14, 2017 @ 11:18 am byGeorge

    Think this is good? Wait til you see the LEGO Marvel movies..

    Reply


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