NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are. THIS WEEK: The scene-stealing, self-centered superhero from THE LEGO MOVIE (and his self-titled video games) finally gets his own flick! Batman (Will Arnett) is the baddest and best (or so he tells us) but still has no family. Young orphan Richard Grayson (Michael Cera) idolizes Batman almost as much as he does the dream of having a family. Bruce’s loyal butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) wants Bruce Wayne to open up. Commissioner Gordon retires as and his replacement (Rosario Dawson) wants to work within the law with Batman, who always works alone. The Joker (Zack Galifianakis) wants to be Bat’s greatest enemy but is spurned, spurring him to enact a dastardly plan with some of the dastardliest and deadliest villains of Gotham and beyond!
Written by Seth Grahame-Smith and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers and Jared Stern & John Whittington from a story by Seth Grahame-Smith. Directed by Chris (ROBOT CHICKEN) McKay.
Opening: see it from the very beginning, as Batman’s perfect gravel-grave serious voice starts with, “Black screen. All great movies start with a black screen,” and goes on from there.
Great visuals and animation. Just like the original LEGO MOVIE, the folks at Animal Logic do an amazing job so that you don’t know where the bricks end the computers begin. The sets like Wayne Manor and the Batcave are spectacular. And how do you get a wide range of human emotion from a flat-surfaced face on a plastic cylinder? I dunno, but they do! (The Joker’s facial expressions and the Boy Wonder’s sense of wonder are perfect examples.)
The comedy/gags live up to the trailer, which isn’t easy in such a long film. It stays entertaining for most of the way through without getting too bogged down in the sentimental stuff. And Bats doesn’t get all the funny lines (just the most and the best—and he raps and shreds guitar like a hero too).
Of course, there’s actual story, lessons/morals, character growth and the usual crap that critics and writing classes tell you every story “must” have, but thankfully not enough to suck away the fun like INSIDE OUT and other kid stuff.
More pop culture winks, inside jokes, Easter eggs, trivia, nerd nods and other geek gifts to keep you on your visual toes. Guest heroes, villains and even giant monsters! (No spoilers, remember?) You’ll have an urge to pause every wide shot to look for stuff.
Quick shots of every Batman movie to date (“LEGOized”), including one of the 1940s serials…and several tributes/bits involving the 60s TV show that are not to be missed.
NO bathroom jokes. No vomiting, peeing, pooping, farting or even burping! (MIKE: Considering the guys from Robot Chicken were involved, that is a major accomplishment/deviation for them.) And it didn’t need ’em. Great for parents and their kids, even the PC-kind. No sex jokes either (which also must’ve been hard to resist given that LEGOs are hardly anatomically accurate. In fact, the females are literally as flat-chested as the men).
The Bat gadgets, Bat Cave, Bat vehicles and Bat-everything else were funny, clever, ridiculous, absurd, brilliantly designed and rendered, silly, stupid, smart and funny.
Even though I don’t care about that stuff, the message about not always being a loner, about opening up to others, was pretty good. Corny, but handled in a more humorous way.
Great music throughout—the hilarious Richard Cheese And Lounge Against The Machine had at least two tunes, Batman’s hold music was delightfully dramatic, and when the scene shifted to the Phantom Zone, you heard voices dramatically sing, “The Phan-tom Zone!”
Some funny gags during the main credits, and lots of room for sequels.
FROM MIKE: Right near the top of the credits, “Batman created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger,” as it should be. And a ton of names under “Thank Yous” including Carmine Infantino, Gardner Fox, Gill Kane, Joe Kubert, Chick Dixon, Graham Nolan, and many more. (Finally, a DC movie that gives thanks like Marvel’s been doing!)
It did seem a bit longer than it should have been, but maybe because I was sleepy from all the brew I drank before (and during).
Some scenes may move too fast to figure out what’s going on, especially for older folks or those who are paying too much attention to what they’re eating or drinking (or those drinking anyway).
Please do not follow Batman’s example of adoption or parenting. (And always wear your seat belt, especially in any Bat vehicle!)
No button at the end! Total wasted opportunity for more laughs. Even a behind-the-scene thing like the voice recording sessions or computer work or sketches or whatever would have been welcome. (I think they ran out of either money, time or ideas.)
Like THE LEGO MOVIE, “everything is awesome” here too! (I didn’t see it in 3D, so no comment on that.) The ending is even better than its predecessor. But at times there is so much, so fast, you’ll have to get this on Bluray/DVD so you can pause/rewind a bunch. And I can’t wait to see what the bonus features would be! So go see it now just to enjoy the “first pass” and then get it for keeps later. Remember, always be yourself…unless you can be LEGO BATMAN!
P.S.: Y’know what else is awesome? An original art commission of your own! Get one from Pascale! He’ll draw you up somethin’ sweet, cool, funny and/or fun, and fairly cheap, too. Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, the LEGO company, DC, Marvel, the Justice League, Arkham Asylum, the BRICK Journal or bricks in general. Bru would love to have a LEGO kit of himself, but he’d have to hire someone smarter to build it.