Sometimes, when the apes watch the same film in a narrow time-frame, we like to collaborate on reviews. Such was the case this past weekend, when Ryan and I both caught The Lego Batman Movie. Here’s what we thought…
Craig: What do you get when you add colourful Lego bricks to Batman’s brooding personality, then throw in a diverse cast of villains and sprinkle some self-deprecating humour on top? Why, you get The Lego Batman Movie, of course.
Directed by Chris McKay, the film sees Will Arnett taking the role of Batman, who is a self-aware satire of the Batman trope: a brooding loner. As a Lego man, we see Bruce Wayne alone in his mansion with family pictures and Alfred (voiced by the excellent Ralph Fiennes) for company. The plot plays with the dark knight’s symbiotic relationship with The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) and the idea that they need each other.
The plot is mainly an exploration of how grumpy Batman deals with his need for allies in light of his desire to keep them safe. We see Barbara Gordon, Alfred and Robin all explored in the film to great effect, with Robin stealing the show as a standout character due to his camp hilarity and musical numbers. The entire cast of characters is exciting, with villains from outside the Batman universe making guest appearances too. Let’s not forget to mention the soundtrack, which is great throughout, full of energy and humour in all the right places (I just died in your arms tonight when Bats meets Barbara is particularly well-placed.)
The end result of this caper is an ultimately heart-warming tale of how the Bat really does need a new family. It’s a fun film that plays with the Batman trope and the existing DC canon and also makes it its own in an undeniably Lego way. I didn’t anticipate loving this film as much as I did, but it so completely serves the purpose it sets out to that I’d struggle not to give it nearly top marks.
I’ll give it 9 out of 10 Bananas, because if you go expecting to see a warm tale about Batman injected with Lego’s unique design and humour, you’re getting everything you hoped for.
Over to you, Ryan!
Ryan: The Lego Movie released in 2014 was one of the standout features of the year and one of my personal favourites. The perfect blend of deadpan humour, brilliant animation and unexpected depth surprised anyone expecting a cheap product cash in. If any character from the brilliant original deserved his own spin off then it would undoubtedly be Will Arnett’s Batman.
In a world saturated by superhero films, it’s nice to watch an exercise in perfect pacing, humour and action, make no mistake, The Lego Batman movie puts most live action comic adaptations to shame. Where they tend to feel exhausting, Lego Batman feels fresh.
This is mainly down to that key title element – LEGO. Warner Animation Group (WAG) are onto something here, by playing around with everyone’s favourite building blocks they’ve managed to tap into inner the child in all of us. There’s something charming about the expressions on the little Lego faces and their restricted movement. When coupled with some brilliant vocal performances and well placed humour, you really do get an utterly charming package.
I’d agree with pretty much all of Craig’s comments and conclude that The Lego Batman movie is another success for Warner and McKay. The only negatives I have are from a purely aesthetic perspective.
Watching the original Lego movie back in 2014, it took me a short while to realise that it wasn’t in fact a stop motion animation. WAG had perfectly captured the jerky movements and painted plastic textures of the LEGO product. Small touches like a completely brick-built ocean only added to the whole style they’d created. For me, Lego Batman lacked some of that tactile edge in favour of smoother CGI. In their pursuit of more spectacle and action, I feel they veered more towards the generic CG features of the likes of Disney. It’s a small step that most won’t notice, but it’s one I found myself focusing on at times (particularly the photo-realistic water effects around Gotham City).
Regardless of this, i’d still give the film 8 out 10 Bananas. It’s a complete joy to watch and Will Arnett’s batman stands amongst the greats. A fantastic supporting cast, some cute cameos and laugh out loud moments make The Lego Batman a blast.