Review: The Lego Batman Movie

After a week of nothing but the leftover trash of January I couldn’t force myself to see, and a few Oscar nominees that came back into theaters, it’s nice to have a couple of films come out that look like they’ll be fun.

 

As it is my wife’s birthday tomorrow, I saw The Lego Batman Movie first instead of John Wick 2, but I was honestly looking forward to seeing this one anyway. The Lego Movie was actually great, so I was hoping that this movie would be at least tolerable. And thankfully, it exceeded my expectations.

Those who frequent my reviews are well aware that my opinions on animated children’s movies are usually uncomplimentary, mainly because I think all movies should be measured by the same scale instead of given extra points for being made for children.

 

 

The Lego Batman Movie seems to have spawned from our collective cultural obsession with Batman. The film often laughs at its own franchise, and it makes fun of itself surprisingly well, especially for a children’s movie. Not only that, but it makes fun of many movie cliches in general. The comedy is frequently clever and intuitive, and it has a healthy amount of self-awareness. What’s even better is that there is actually some surprises that I wasn’t expecting.

Now unfortunately, like all children’s animated movies, the stream of jokes is excessive. There are parts of the movie that seem determined to sabotage itself with nonstop humor. This made many of the inevitable seriously-toned scenes feel out of place because before that, the film rarely made room for such seriousness.

Thankfully, a solid majority of the humor sticks, and many of my reactions to them varied from healthy chuckles to hysterical laughter.

 

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The voice acting is generally fine throughout the movie. Zack Galifianakis as The Joker was undoubtedly the weakest link. I know this is an animated film, but this rendition of The Joker was rather cartoonish. I mean, it’s not like he had grills and a “Damaged” tattoo, so I guess maybe I should go easy on him. That being said, the running joke they had between him and Batman was actually rather comical.

 

The attention to detail was spot on for most of the movie. There may have only been one or two scenes where I was irritated at the film’s inability to remember plot elements it set up, but it almost never happens.

 

The general story starts out exceptionally, and much of the best humor was saved for the first part of the movie. As the story progressed, it became gradually weaker and weaker until the final act, which was without question the weakest part of the entire movie. It’s no surprise that the final act was the most serious. Now I’m not saying that the movie shouldn’t have been serious, but as I said before: if you don’t know how to exercise self-control with your jokes and you just grind out as many as you can regardless of the quality and execution of said jokes, then the super serious parts are going to feel really forced. Not only that, but the serious scenes are REALLY serious, thus making them feel even more forced.

 

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But in all honesty, do the flaws of The Lego Batman movie render it unwatchable? Absolutely not. The majority of the film is well animated, well voice-acted, and a solid bulk of the humor works rather fantastically.

Does that mean that there aren’t any missed opportunities? No, this movie has numerous missed opportunities. But the missed opportunities don’t sink the entire film; it just prevents it from being exceptional.

Honestly, you will likely love this film. It’s simultaneously an ode and mockery of everyone’s love of quite possibly the most well known superhero, and I had a blast watching it, and I’m giving The Lego Batman Movie a 7 out of 10.

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