More than a childish parody, “Lego Batman” spoils audiences of all ages
To have a parody film surpass its serious-film counterparts so significantly has left me feeling bittersweet, considering “The Lego Batman Movie” is the best superhero film I’ve seen since “The Dark Knight.” On the one hand, it’s sad that a film involving Legos, of all things, managed to get a superhero film right when it is, ultimately, an endearing parody of those films. On the other hand, if a parody has the power to tackle what makes a superhero so compelling, then you know you have seen something truly special.
Inspired by the character played with charming effect in its predecessor, “The Lego Movie,” Lego Batman/Bruce Wayne, voiced by Will Arnett, deals with his greatest challenges yet. He must defeat the villains attempting to take over Gotham City, while simultaneously taking care of an orphaned boy named Dick Grayson, voiced by Michael Cera. Through these experiences, Batman ultimately learns the importance of teamwork, while also realizing that he can’t feel complete without battling his nemesis, the Joker, voiced by Zach Galifianakis.
There are other admirable plot aspects but remain best left unspoiled. “The Lego Batman Movie” constantly surprises the audience within its entire run-time, whether it involves hilarious visual gags or emotional character moments. In one scene, there are several visual gags that pass by so quickly that it needs to be savored in repeated viewings. In another scene, we get to understand the character of Bruce Wayne on a deeper level than I ever could have imagined. Yes, we’re still talking about a movie that involves blocks of Legos as the main characters.
There are action sequences in this film that are exhilarating and simultaneously hilarious, as well as sequences that even put “Doctor Strange” to shame in terms of insanity. As much as I loved “Doctor Strange,” its climax felt underwhelming, whereas the climax in “The Lego Batman Movie” filled the void brilliantly. If there are any nitpicks, I would have to say that the final scene went on a little longer than it should, in addition to the fact that the film’s visual style can move a little too quickly for some.
Aside from that, nearly everything works in “The Lego Batman Movie,” the animation, the characters, the voice performances and the writing are of the highest quality. It serves as another reminder that even the silliest of ideas can be handled with the greatest of care. It’s not only the first great film of the new year, it may be the very best film of the new year for a good while.