The LEGO Movie was an unexpected smash with critics, kids, and adults. And Will Arnett’s take on Batman as a lovable self-absorbed narcissist was a scene-stealer. Since LEGO was assembled by Warner Bros., which is also the all-powerful owner of Batman, it only made sense to give the Caped Crusader his own film. But is the follow-up to the wildly popular The LEGO Movie as awesome?
The LEGO Batman Movie follows Bruce Wayne’s struggle not only as Gotham’s sole crime-fighter but also as he takes on the new responsibility of being an adopted dad to Dick Grayson (Michael Cera). Bruce goes on a personal journey to discover he needs a family in Dick, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), and Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) in order to get through his awesome life and take down The Joker (Zach Galifianakis).
If you’ve learned anything from the last 9 live-action Batman films, Bruce Wayne’s alter ego is either super dark and gritty or ultra campy and clad in a nippled bat suit. LEGO Batman manages to find a middle ground and claims some new territory in Dark Knight storytelling. Time Out says, “[Batman’s] quest to discover the meaning of friendship and family proves borderline cheesy but ultimately rather affecting, and makes The Lego Batman Movie feel like more than just another hectic pop-culture pastiche.”
But ultimately this is a movie about walking, talking toys. Does that mean you’ll be shelling out for another LEGO Batmobile set? AV Club says “it’s a goofier Batman, depicted through a variety of merchandise-friendly toys and a barrage of brightly colored visuals, but with jokes that are often sly or proudly silly, not lazy attempts at camp.”
The reviews are loving LEGO’s Dark Knight. It’s being praised for its clever jokes and humor that parents will enjoy. Variety says, “It’s a kiddie flick that’s been made in a sophisticated spirit of lightning-fast, brain-bursting paradox.”
Time Out also said the movie references various Bat moments from its rich 75-year history, and most of those gags are made for you. “[The film] is so jam-packed with ideas, asides, and barmy cameos … that there’s barely time to notice. Some of it might go over kids’ heads – there’s a running gag about Jerry Maguire that will bemuse anyone under 35″.
Common Sense’s Take
Common Sense Media is the leading nonprofit source helping parents make movie and TV choices for their children. Their review says Batman is on par with its predecessor: “What’s particularly pleasing about this franchise (so far, at least!) is how much attention has obviously been paid to story development and positive take-aways for kids and families.” They even gave the film their coveted “Great For Families” stamp, praising the film as, “clever, creative, and funny, with nonstop action.”
If your kid loves Batman, then this is a no-brainer. And even if they’re not familiar with the Bat-verse, it’s a great introduction since the film ditches the dark and gloomy stuff that has come to define Batman.
Running Time: 104 minutes