I love movies. I love writing about them. Hope you like reading what I write.
Please note that I saw this film in a Saturday afternoon screening packed with kids too young to get the jokes and dancing to every song about two feet away from the screen. That may have affected my opinion somewhat.
The Lego Batman Movie is a spin-off of the Awesome The Lego Movie from 2014. It follows Batman as he learns to take responsibility for Robin and the humility to work as part of a team.
The comedy from the two Lego Movies is astonishingly fast. My favourite kind of comedy is when the entire film is taken up by clever silliness. Think of the great spoofs for reference on how this is best done.
This spin-off does that kind of humour. Mostly successful jokes come thick and fast, centred around a brilliant performance from Will Arnett, reprising his role as a miniature, plastic Dark Knight.
His characterisation of Batman is every parody ever made of this ridiculous character. He’s basically the way he is presented in those How It Should Have Ended videos.
That’s the secret of this movie and its predecessor. It’s from the fast internet age using fast internety comedy. We’re not just talking pop-culture references, like in something like Shrek, but a full on spoof of the entire concept of the fictional universe, a particular area of nerdom that is a constant topic of conversation today. Want Sauron to hang out with Voldemort? Here it can happen.
Unfortunately since this film is a little more specific in its subject, a greater chunk of the humour is devoted to more targeted jokes which may reduce this film’s overall appeal. This however is not a big issue.
There are three big issues.
Firstly, the serious stuff in this film is no were near as interesting as in The Lego Movie. That film at heart was a compelling argument for socialism and an excellent critique on the overused Chosen One narrative. It deployed its most touching scenes with deft skill in amongst all the jokes. Lego Batman has kind of a typical comedy story about Batman becoming the adoptive father for Robin. It’s not bad, it’s just that the emotional scenes are just boring and they’re pretty poorly paced.
That brings me neatly to the pacing. In the third act this aspect goes all over the place. Third acts are hard, particularly in comedies, but this one seemed to go on forever!
However, the worst part is that this film just didn’t have me laughing hard enough. This might not be the same story for you, but I watched The Lego Movie again soon after this one and it still has me laughing a lot. Batman had me laughing sometimes because I knew there was a joke, rather than because I found it funny.
This isn’t a bad film, heck it’s one of the better post Nolan flicks the Bat has been in. I liked it. I just didn’t love it.
Recommended Scenario: If you’re in the mood for a version of Batman Forever that succeeds much better in the laugh department.