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The City Journals

Dan's Review: Plenty of awesomeness in "The Lego Batman Movie"

Feb 10, 2017 12:27PM ● By Dan Metcalf

The Lego Batman Movie - © 2016 – Warner Bros.

The Lego Batman Movie (Warner Bros.)

Rated PG for rude humor and some action.

Starring (voices of) Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Mariah Carey, Jenny Slate, Susan Bennett, Billy Dee Williams, Héctor Elizondo, Conan O'Brien, Jason Mantzoukas, Doug Benson, Zoë Kravitz, Kate Micucci, Riki Lindhome, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Adam DeVine, Eddie Izzard, Seth Green, Jemaine Clement, Ellie Kemper, David Burrows, Laura Kightlinger, Brian Musburger.

Written by Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern and John Whittington.

Directed by Chris Mckay.



I was one of the millions of people who were more than pleasantly surprised by The Lego Movie in 2014. In fact, I was ecstatic about it, and thought it was one of the most exquisite comedies I’d seen in a while. One of the main characters in the Lego Movie was Batman (gravelly-voiced by Will Arnett), so naturally, Warner Bros. commissioned a spinoff that was sure to attract even more fans from the comic book universe. The Lego Batman Movie hits theaters this weekend, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Arnett is back as Batman/Bruce Wayne, and he’s joined by a new team of characters, including Robin/Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), Barbara Gordon/Batgirl (Rosario Dawson) and Wayne Manor butler Alfred Pennyworth (Ralph Fiennes). The story begins with another gonzo plot by the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) and his minions to blow up the main power source in Gotham City. When Batman encounters the Joker face-to-face, the caped crusader informs his nemesis that has no regard for him, and doesn’t even hate the career criminal. This new breaks the Joker’s heart, as he always found validation in their twisted “relationship.” The Joker devises a plan to turn himself in during a gala to celebrate the new Gotham chief of police, Barbara Gordon. The new chief has progressive ideas that make Batman less relevant, and coupled with the Joker’s retirement from crime, Batman seeks refuge in the seclusion of his spacious mansion and bat cave. Somehow, orphaned Grayson gets himself adopted to Bruce Wayne (with a little help from Alfred), and he moves into Wayne Manor. In the meantime, Batman learns of a weapon used by his “real” nemesis Superman (Channing Tatum) to banish super villains to the “Phantom Zone,” an outer dimensional prison. Batman takes advantage of Grayson’s enthusiasm and acrobatic skills to steal the weapon and use it to send the Joker to the Phantom Zone, where the Joker exploits other super villains (including Lord Voldemort, Sauron and King Kong) to return to Gotham and destroy Batman and the city one and for all. Faced with death and destruction of his beloved city, Batman must learn to accept working with others and become a “family” with Robin, Batgirl and Alfred if he is to avoid such an awful fate.

The Lego Batman Movie is a very funny, clever and exciting film. Like The Lego Movie, it’s a comedy that is sharp-witted and self-aware, mocking Batman culture and history, dating back to the first comic books and the campy 1960s TV show. It also pokes fun at superhero culture in general and specifically at some of the recent DC Cinematic Universe offerings, including Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Chris Nolan trilogy, the Michael Keaton/Val Kilmer/George Clooney versions and a well-deserved jab at last summer’s oft-maligned Suicide Squad. There are even a few jokes pointed at Marvel.

Some of the humor comes at you so fast, you might miss it in The Lego Batman Movie. The film also has a disadvantage of following The Lego Movie, so audiences will more than likely see most of the jokes coming. Either way, The Lego Batman Movie is sure to keep everyone laughing.

The Lego Batman Movie Trailer