"Deadpool for kids." That's how my roommate described The Lego Batman Movie upon exiting our advance screening of the spin-off to 2014's The Lego Movie. Upon further reflection, I realized that his description held some merit, for the film was crammed with subversive superhero humor, pop culture references, and a great teenage sidekick. However, The Lego Batman Movie proves endearingly entertaining, honoring Batman's 80-year legacy while also managing to deliver laughs by the bat-load. Director Chris McKay's feature might not be on par with the film that inspired it, but it sure comes close.Perhaps the film's biggest asset is its cast, with Will Arnett continuing his parody of Christian Bale's Batman. Arnett voices Batman with a delightful degree of self-awareness, oftentimes breaking the fourth wall to great comedic effect. Meanwhile, Michael Cera proves perfect as Dick Grayson/Robin, imbuing the character with a charming awkwardness that makes him the perfect foil for Batman. Ralph Fiennes proves an inspired choice for the role of Alfred Pennyworth, bringing his talents to animation with ease, while Rosario Dawson makes for a great Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, capable of standing on equal footing with Batman himself.The film also benefits from Zach Galifianakis' spin on The Joker, who not only makes him a compelling villain, but also manages to thankfully wash away the taste of Jared Leto's Joker. Galifianakis makes The Joker a more emotional character than I expected, but in a clever way that highlights the long-running animosity between him and Batman. While his plans to destroy Gotham aren't entirely original, the execution of the animation and his motivation serve as enough compensation.The animation is simply breathtaking, incredibly detailed and faithful to old Lego stop-motion videos. For an animated film, I was impressed with the angles chosen, as well as the cinematography, with several shots standing out throughout the course of the feature. Everything felt seamless and organic, despite the nature of Legos themselves, which merely serve as building blocks. The animators deserve credit for giving these figures such a nuanced range of emotion, able to convey a variety of feelings despite the inherent difficulties that accompany the source material. The majority of these characters spend significant time wearing a mask or simply being Lego figurines, and yet the audience can still sympathize with them because of the stunning animation.Additionally, the film contains some fantastic action sequences that make clever use of Batman's vast arsenal of vehicles and gadgets. I won't spoil the litany of adversaries that Batman faces off against during the course of the film, but many of the cameos left me in stitches, for they were not only brilliantly implemented, but completely unexpected. Go in with as little information as possible and the film's surprises will prove much more hilarious. And it would not be an understatement to say that the feature elevates the bar in regards to just how meta entertainment can be. Referencing everything in the Batman canon from the 1966 Adam West feature to Tom Hardy's portrayal of Bane, audiences will be satisfied no matter the level of knowledge they possess.But like any animated feature, The Lego Batman Movie touches on some important themes, albeit, without the nuance of The Lego Movie. With a penchant for working alone, Batman learns about the importance of teamwork and confronts his own fears about family. While the film's themes sometimes take a backseat to the story, which moves at near- breakneck pace, their inclusion nonetheless merits mention and elevates the film from appearing as an animated marketing tool specifically targeting children. McKay ensures that the film appeals to a wide audience, allowing it to serve as a great introduction to the character for young children and another worthy addition to Batman's ever-growing catalog of features for older generations.In the end, I left my advance screening of The Lego Batman Movie with a grin on my face. While the film might not be as consistently hilarious as its predecessor, it still makes for worthwhile entertainment, while managing to bring both Batman and The Joker back from the brink after a less-than-stellar 2016.Viewed at an advance screening on February 4, 2017 in Dartmouth College's Loew Auditorium.Rating: 8/10 (Great)
The LEGO Batman Movie
Action Adventure Animation Comedy Family Fantasy
The LEGO Batman Movie
There are big changes brewing in Gotham City, and if he wants to save the city from The Joker's hostile takeover, Batman may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up.
Uploaded By: OTTO
June 2, 2017 at 7:01 pm