Friday, February 10, 2017

The LEGO Batman Movie

A sequel of sorts, The LEGO Batman Movie may not be quite as good as The LEGO Movie but it still proves to be a hell of a good time. Centered around Batman's (Will Arnett) inability to trust and rely on others, the film's plot throws the Dark Knight Detective several curveballs including an adopted son in the energetic Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) combined with the retirement of Commissioner James Gordon (Hector Elizondo), who is replaced by his daughter Barbara (Rosario Dawson), and a new plot by the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) which throws Batman's life into turmoil.

Without spoiling the plot, the Joker's plan is actually ingenious given the pair's relationship (which Batman refuses to acknowledge). The Crown Prince of Crime's coup de grĂ¢ce is perfect in its simplicity and leaves Batman completely without direction as even the solitary comfort of Wayne Manor is disrupted both by Dick and Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) who will no longer indulge Master Bruce's solitude. While longtime Bat-fans are likely to get more out of the movie's in-jokes (including references to every Batman movie ever made and the 60s television show), the high-action film with a good message for kids is fun for all.

Given the toy tie-ins have provided me with LEGO figures of some of the most obscure (and awesome!) Bat-villains ever, I'm not going to take to many shots at the film whose toy marketing is obviously tied directly to the story. And as a huge Batman fanboy I'm impressed by how the movie goes deep, deep into Batman's rogues gallery to bring in an insane amount of B and C-list villains to the screen including Polka-Dot Man, Calendar Man, the Condiment King, and (my personal favorite) Catman. If the script has one weakness where these villains are concerned, it brings in too many characters (many of them not directly tied to Batman) leaving too many of the Bat-villains upstaged by more recognizable movie villains. Is it everything I want and more? No, but the rather obvious cash-grab has far more depth than I expected and as a huge Batman fan I'm satisfied with the final product (even if it could use more LEGO Catman).

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