Friday, February 10, 2017

The Lego Batman Movie - Review

   Animation is a tricky business. For a genre that’s largely associated with being “for kids”, it’s often hard to generate appeal for a larger audience. But throw in Batman and the nostalgic of LEGOs and it’s hard to ignore The Lego Batman Movie. The mass appeal of animation has only been truly mastered by Pixar, but what Warner Brothers and LEGO have done with their first two films is really exciting for their future.

   There are big changes brewing in Gotham, but if Batman (Will Arnett) wants to save the city from the Joker's (Zach Galifianakis) hostile takeover, he may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up. Maybe his superhero sidekick Robin (Michael Cera) and loyal butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) can show him a thing or two.

   The story is almost as basic as the small toys that fill it. But despite the rather bare story, the comedy and bright visuals are enough to make up for when the story drags. It lacks the wackiness of The Lego Movie, and much of that is because of the confined nature of the superhero tropes and story that the filmmakers were tasked with bringing to the film.

   At the center of all of the awesomeness of both Batman and LEGOs is a terrific voice cast. Will Arnett as Batman does such a great job at playing up this bat-voice that’s a poke at the overly groveled voice of Christian Bale when he was under the cowl. The rest of the cast fills out nicely with Michael Cera as Robin stealing a lot of the comedic scenes as the excitable and lovable boy wonder. Batman’s funniest bits happen to be with Zach Galifianakis as Joker, who possesses a strange relationship with the caped crusader that provides so many laugh out loud moments.

   Throw out the story and the fantastic voice cast and the film can still amaze with the beautiful animation work that has been done here. This style of animation, this simulation stop motion, is so unique and fun that it’s hard to not enjoy every second of this film. Couple that with a tremendous understanding of not only comedy but Batman as well and The Lego Batman Movie really hits it out of the park. There is comedy that’s for kids and adults with many in jokes for hardcore Batman fans that are still accessible to casual fans.

   Overall, The Lego Batman Movie builds off of the first movie’s success and while not quite as good, shows that Lego is here to stay in the animation business. It’s incredibly fun and gorgeous from the opening black screen (all great movies open with a black screen) to the closing white screen (all great movies end with a white screen). Never did I believe an animated Lego movie would be one of the better Batman movies ever made, and yet here we are.

   So what did you think of The Lego Batman Movie? Have you seen it and what property would you like Lego to take on next? Subscribe, share, comment below, and as always return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and insight.

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