Lego Batman Movie – Review


Following off from the surprise success of Warner Bros, the Lego Movie in 2014, it was announced that a spin-off would be made for one of the popular characters to turn up from that film ‘Lego Batman’. Now, this time, we have director Chris McKay, who also co-wrote the script, which I thought was a good decision, since he has largely worked on the TV series Robot Chicken, which has a similar brand of humour to Warner Bros Lego productions. He is a good choice, plus he would have to work from the template that the Lego movie gave and I really liked the Lego Movie. It’s not a perfect film by any stretch, but it certainly was a good movie, on a lot of levels and it should have been nominated for best animated feature at the Oscars in the year it was eligible. To be honest, though, with the way the last few weeks of films have gone, I really needed a film like Lego Batman and I was really hoping this one would be able to keep up the trend set by the Lego Movie, doing a great comedy. But, hopefully it wouldn’t be like the 1966 Batman series, which I don’t like. Yes, I may find Adam West hilarious, but I’m sorry, I am not into that series.
So, how did Lego Batman Turn out?
I usually do a brief plot synopsis, but there is not really much to this film.

Batman (played by Will Arnett) simply has to stop a plan by the Joker (played by Zach Galifianakis) whilst also raising his new adopted son, Dick Grayson, aka Robin (played by Michael Cera) and learning to work with new police commissioner Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl (played by Rosario Dawson). There’s really not much to the plot and there is really not much of a plot altogether, at least in the first half. It tends to be much more plot focused in the second half of the film. That being said, Lego Batman doesn’t need to have much of a plot, because, in short, it’s just a really good comedy. Yes, Lego Batman is really funny. The first 30 minutes of this film are fricking hilarious! Ok, not as hilarious as Deadpool per se, but I still laughed a lot during this film. The humour satirises various eras of Batman and the film even points out that this is a character that has been around for 78 years at this point. That means, there is a ton of material to work with and it somehow manages to satirise almost all of it brilliantly. It takes shots at everything from the 1966 series to some of the Frank Miller comics and even some of the recent Batman V Superman. Though, I was rather surprised how apt the parody was in that sense, considering that this film was probably in production around the same time as Batman V Superman. That’s perfect for someone like me, who is a big Batman fan, however, that’s where the humour has a slight problem because some of it is so focused on satirising several eras of Batman, I fear that much of the humour might go over some kids heads as well as some of their parents. In fact, some of the jokes seem like they are aimed specifically at comic fans. Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing, I would have probably have made the same complaint if those jokes hadn’t been in the film, but I feel like in the first half, especially, these jokes are really over abundant.

I kind of like the plot of this film, it has a thing about the Bat family and Batman theory that by getting close to people that he may eventually end up losing them like his parents, in fact, the reason why the humour works so well, is that the plot of this film could easily have been re-worked and been a serious Batman story. Yes, I am not joking, give it to a writer like Peter J Tomasi or Max Landis and I think you could have genuinely made a really good Batman story. However, it means that the humour fits and comic fans will get something out of it. It’s not a theme that has been completely unexplored in Batman films, in fact, I think I talked a bit about it in my review of Batman Bad Blood. I will, however, say it does one thing not as well as the Lego movie. Both Lego movie and Lego Batman have to do a transition from their first half to their second half, where they go from being all out comedies to actually having to have a meaningful plot. Lego movie handled it quite well in a way that I don’t think Lego Batman did quite as well. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a pretty good transition and it works as a whole, just not quite as well as the Lego movie did. Also, some of the jokes, really miss, ironically, much of the Joker’s humour! This thing seemed to also borrow from the Killing Joke movie, that I also reviewed, in a way that I really am starting to find weird, ie, Batman fancying Batgirl! Seriously!! I think they changed it for the Lego film, but there is a significant age gap between these two and are not meant to be like this. Writers, stop doing this immediately!! I did, however, appreciate quite a few of the cameos as well. While some of the cameos haven’t been put into the final film, in fact, several members of the Justice League, who were in the trailer, do not show up in the final film, we still get Superman, Green Lantern and The Flash, who are voiced by Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Adam Devine respectively, but I will get more into that in the actors section, because, believe me, we are going to be here all day if I go on about the cameos in this film. I like most of the cameos in this film and to be fair, they even manage to tap into the inner Lego movie and even get characters from various franchises, though I won’t spoil all of them. Especially considering that some of them, I suspect, are not given their names for licensing reasons. I can’t prove this exactly, without giving one of them away, so let’s just say that the Gremlins are in this film, although they are referred to as A T’s movie monsters. I will leave the rest for you to discover, but believe me, some of the cameos are really good and really funny. So, overall I think the plot is a bit clanky at times and certain jokes don’t work, but on the whole it’s a really funny and engaging plot. I think I really like this film’s plot.

Now for the acting. I think everyone is perfectly cast. Will Arnett is still perfect to play this funny Batman. Michal Cera really plays against type in his role as Robin, but his voice is suited to it. I actually didn’t know it was him until the end credits. Rosario Dawson, who seems to be taking a break from being in every single Marvel Netflix series, does a really good job as Batgirl and Ralph Fiennes does such a good job playing Alfred that I actually think he could play the character in a serious Batman production. Seriously Warner Bros, get him on side, he could do this role. Zach Galifianakis may not have been given the best writing to play the Joker in this film but he does a decent job, especially earlier on and I actually kind of like him overall. The rest, well, apart from probably Jenny Slate as Harley Quinn, they are not really in it a lot, no one has, what I call, a major role in this film, but my goodness, this is one of the most star studded casts I have seen in a long time. You’ve got Conan O’Brien as The Riddler, Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face, which is rather ironic, considering he played Harvey Dent in the 1989 Tim Burton Batman Film, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman. I have already mentioned Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Adam Devine, but you have also got Hector Elizondo as Jim Gordon, Mariah Carey gets a cameo. There are also cameos from Seth Green, Jemaine Clement, Ellie Kemper and even Eddie Izzard, who ironically, is playing a character that was originally played by Ralph Fiennes, seems rather unnecessary in hindsight. The cameos range from really good like, the aforementioned Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Adam Devine to the, ‘yes they are good, but not great’, but to be honest, everyone kind of suits their role pretty fine. I actually think Hector Alonso would be pretty good as a genuine Commissioner Gordon it would be nice to actually know what it would have been like if Billy Dee Williams actually played Two-Face. Overall, I think it’s a pretty good cast. There’s not much more to say about the cast.

Now for the presentation. In short, if you liked the animation of the Lego movie, like I did, you will like the animation here. It’s the exact same deal. It’s real life Lego in the mix of CGI in a sort of a stop motion CGI crossover. Most of it is pretty good, there’s very few animation flops and it really worked to a cool degree.

The soundtrack. Well there might not be anything as bone idly catchy as ‘Everything is Awesome”, but when the soundtrack is good, it’s really good. Especially the opening song “I’m The Batman”, which I am probably still going to have in my head by the time this review comes out a week after seeing it. However, the soundtrack does dip occasionally and I felt a couple of the songs weren’t that great, although some of the song choices actually get made fun of down the line, so that worked out for me.

I saw the film in 3D, but I would recommend that you don’t see it in that format. The 3D really doesn’t add much. This is rather curious, considering the Lego Movie actually had very good 3D, so this was rather surprising. Apart from 1 or 2 scenes, the effect is really not noticeable, and you are probably paying extra for not much. Before anyone says anything, I saw it in IMAX 3D with a good seat, so I had the possibility of seeing it to the best of its effect, and I still didn’t get it. If you can, seek out the 2D version, but don’t pass up the 3D if it’s the only showing at your cinema, because I had a really good time watching this film.

Lego Batman is just the film I needed at just the right time. It’s good, funny and it’s just a plain delight to watch. It has a few issues, mainly to do with the jokes and the plot doesn’t entirely work as a whole and it’s not as creative as the Lego movie. But really, those are nit picks. I actually think this is a good time out and I think kids will enjoy it, their parents will enjoy it and I think comic fans will get something out of it as well. It’s well animated, for the most part well written and it’s very well acted. If you like Batman and you liked Lego Movie, this is one to add to your collection or to try and see when it is out in cinemas.

Right, mini review time, There is only one this week, and get ready for a rant, it’s Resident Evil; The Final Chapter.
Resident Evil; The Final Chapter: Now I have already talked about Resident Evil in some of my previous reviews. Now don’t get me wrong on this one. I love the video games, even the plot, which had kind of gotten a bit out of hand at this point is still somewhat enjoyable to me. But the films, oh my god, the films are pretty bad. I could go into detail about what is wrong with all of these films, but I really don’t have the time and I would have to devote a whole other document to it!!! Let’s just say, these films punish you for remembering anything and punish you for having any knowledge of the games. Paul Anderson has basically used these films as a excuse to show off his wife Milla Jovovich in the lead role, who is a complete ‘Mary Sue’ of a character, who can do no wrong and kicks ass without flinching! For goodness sake, I may say every time that there is no way these films can get worse, but somehow it always manages to be the case and this one is the worst to date. Put it this way, if this is not in my ‘Worst Films of 2017 list’ I will have to declare it as being a terrible year for cinema. Do you know how long it took me for this film to p… me off, 1 minute 30 seconds!!! I counted, within a minute and a half they managed to retcon almost half of the series. Half of what had been established was gone and replaced by something else. It’s like they can’t make up their minds what they want to do. I will give the other films credit that at least some of the action was decently shot, but man, the action in this film is almost impossible to see, it’s terribly made, the plot is more asinine than usual and has several signposted twists that make absolutely no sense and actually raise more questions than answers and despite the fact that this is labelled as the final chapter, there is really no finality to the film. Oh, and there’s a million plot holes that were so big the Titanic could fit in them. This is a mess of a movie series and this is the worst one to date. I can’t go into everything I hate about the film because I would have to spoil it rotten and some poor souls will be like me and actually want to see the film, so I had better leave it to them, but trust me, I am so glad this film series is over. Screw these movies and screw Paul W S Anderson. Not only did he manage to ruin the possibility of a good Alien versus Predator movie, but he also managed to screw over the Resident Evil series for six movies. I saw it in 2D, for the love of god, do not see this movie in 3D. Some of the scenes are too dark, I imagine it would be literally impossible to see if you are wearing 3D glasses.

Right, let’s move on. Unlike many people who have spent Valentine’s day with their loved ones, I spent Valentine’s day reviewing the movie that I am going to be talking about next week. Come back on 24 February when I will be reviewing the sequel to the surprise action hit
“John Wick; Chapter 2”.

Thanks a lot for reading my review. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it, and one more time, screw you Paul W S Anderson and screw the Resident Evil Film Series!!!

Calvin – Nerd Consultant

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The Next Axia10th July 2024
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