BY RYAN MACKETT
I LOVE Batman, and I also love Lego, and I am happy to proclaim that I love The Lego Batman Movie. It was so much fun, I can barely contain myself. It hit so many notes perfectly and was just a pleasure to watch.
The film stars Will Arnett as The Caped Crusader, reprising his role from 2014’s The Lego Movie. The movie is director Chris McKay’s first feature film, but McKay has worked previously as a director of the Robot Chicken TV series, and certainly knows how to handle humour and pop culture references and animation.
Right from the start, it becomes very clear that this incarnation of Batman is a much more light-hearted, irreverent and humorous approach to the character, expanding on the terrific use of the character in The Lego Movie. As a huge fan of Batman I appreciated the numerous jokes, references, visual gags and connections to all things Batman. The opening sequence of the film alone had so many terrific easter eggs that my head was spinning. This film begs for repeated viewings.
The story was pretty great, too. The plot centred around The Joker trying to prove that he is Batman’s greatest villain, all while Batman deals with the recent adoption of orphan Dick Grayson. Thematically the film dives deep into the importance of family, relying on friends and teamwork.
As with most animated children’s films of late, the movie had a little bit of everything for everyone, whether you are a child or an adult, and especially if you are a Batman fan.
The voice acting was so great. Alongside Arnett was Zach Galifianakis as Joker, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred, Michael Cera as Dick Grayson/Robin, Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, and a multitude of other cameos. In a stroke of casting brilliance, Billy Dee Williams even reprises a role he played in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman (event though he only had two lines).
Visually, the film was astonishing as well. The animators perfected the technique used in The Lego Movie that makes the film look like it is actually stop-motion animation using Lego bricks, even though it is completely CGI.
I think what was also extremely creative was how subverted the whole thing was in comparison to the recent dark, gritty approach that has been taken with Batman. While Batman has always been popular and a fan favourite, his extreme popularity in recent years can be traced back to 2005’s Batman Begins and the rest of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy.
Batman has been given a god-like status, and The Lego Batman Movie presents the character as though this fact has gone to Batman’s head. I absolutely love this interpretation of the character.
And on top of it all, the movie was so frenetic and exhilarating and funny. I highly recommend the film, and will definitely be going to see it again.
Ryan Mackett is an artist and film enthusiast who resides in Thunder Bay. Email questions or comments to him at email@example.com.