The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)
The Lego Movie was such a fascinating blend of originality, fun & first-rate creativity that it was difficult to not be swept by its rollicking tide. Brimming with passion, wit & charisma, jam-packed with catchy one liners & countless pop culture references, and underlined with a simple but heartfelt message, it was much more than a 90-minute commercial of the world’s most famous toys.
Three years later, following into its footsteps is The Lego Batman Movie, a spin-off feature that looks kind of just like the original Lego Movie but seems vastly superior as it revolves entirely around Batman. And although there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in this feature, it unfortunately goes in the overkill mode & stays there, and also lacks the emotionally resonant delights of the original.
The Lego Batman Movie finds Batman still fighting crime & saving Gotham from The Joker’s evil plans but when all the usual suspects of Gotham surrender themselves to the new commissioner, Batman decides to find out the sinister ploy Joker is brewing behind the bars and in the meantime also discovers that he’s accidentally adopted a teenage orphan who really wishes to become his sidekick.
Directed by Chris McKay, The Lego Batman Movie parodies not only the previous on-screen incarnations of the Caped Crusader but pretty much the entirety of DC Comics characters’ catalogue and is hilarious as expected but there’s just so many of those catchphrases & references thrown at the audience that it becomes a bit overwhelming to process all of it at once. Add to that, not every joke hits the right spot this time.
The animation is rich, versatile & gorgeous but the world-building delights of its predecessor is somewhat missed. Will Arnett steals the spotlight as Batman and is brilliantly supported by Ralph Fiennes, Michael Cera & Rosario Dawson who voice Alfred, Robin & Barbara Gordon respectively while rest of the characters, especially Joker, are weak links in this and don’t leave much of an impression when it’s all over.
Relationships & family is the theme that The Lego Batman Movie explores but manages to do that only on a superficial level. Most of the times, it’s just busy preparing the next set of catchphrases or thinking of ways to tickle that funny bone rather than actually doing something interesting with the plot. Just about anything & everything goes inside the movie, which is to be expected, but it all feels empty & unearned.
On an overall scale, The Lego Batman Movie offers a good dose of fun & laughs, and is a riotous ride that keeps spewing one amusing line after another but it also very much feels like a dumbed down version of the original Lego Movie that didn’t have much to add or anything new to offer in the end. I anticipated more than what it had in store and it failed to live up to those expectations. Entertaining in bits n pieces yet frustrating for the most part, The Lego Batman Movie is an unexpected letdown.