The LEGO franchise was always big. Now with a string of video games and DVD’s as well as being tied in to almost every popular franchise – from Marvel to Star Wars to even Ghostbusters – it is friggin huge!
A few years ago we all marveled at the first LEGO Movie. It was funny, interesting and had a lot of heart. One of the main characters in that movie was Batman. He was arrogant, even if highly skilled enough to warrant it, egocentric and obsessed with metal music and the colour black. The character has subsequently appeared in numerous tie-in DVD’s and has remained fairly faithful to this rendition of one of the most iconic super heroes of all time.
Now we have upon us the second of the Lego movies to hit the big screen and Batman has the starring role. So let’s take a look at The LEGO Batman Movie.
This movie is all about Batman’s personal emotional journey from the character we saw in the last movie to one that actually stands a chance of showing empathy and having a personal connection to others. We are treated at the start to a huge elaborate battle sequence between Batman and pretty much every villain that has ever shown up in the Batman Universe. Lead by Joker they are all here, from well known characters like Mr. Freeze and Catwoman to obscure characters such as Calendar Man and even Egghead (an egg themed villain from the campy 60’s show played by Vincent Price). Batman single handedly defeats every single villain, all whilst talking about how great he is, playing hardcore metal music and doing donuts in the Batmobile. It’s very adrenaline packed and there would be few male viewers who would not love to be in his blocky shoes.
At the climax of the fight, we get the stage set for the overriding theme of the movie. Joker appears to be genuinely hurt, even heartbroken, when Batman not only refutes that Joker is his arch enemy but states that Joker literally means nothing to him, no one does. After winning the fight, dropping by an orphanage to shoot miscellaneous Bat-merchandise at a bunch of orphans (and a young Dick Grayson whom returns shortly after) he goes home to an empty mansion, eating and watching movies by himself.
Things change pretty swiftly for Batman. Barbara Gordon becomes the new police commissioner and wants Batman to work with the police and within the constraints of the law. During her inauguration all the super villains show up and promptly turn themselves in, depriving Batman of anyone to fight in the future. It’s also at this time that Bruce Wayne unwittingly adopts Dick Grayson, agreeing to do by not even listening when the prospect is put to him and just blandly agreeing to whatever is said.
Deprived of his super villains to thwart Batman begins a downwards spiral and rejects Alfred’s suggestions to use this down time to make connections with people and focus on his personal life. Desperately needing something to do, Batman decides to send Joker to the Phantom Zone and has no compunctions about risking his new young wards life to do it.
This movie is really about Batman being a jerk and slowly learning not to be. Whilst the movie starts with him lapping up the attention we see showcased how he is unpopular with his fellow heroes (doesn’t even get invited to the Justice League party), disrespects Alfred, risks Robins life, refuses to work as a team with the police commissioner and constantly breaks the Jokers heart. We get a glimpse into why though, the death of his parents made a young Bruce refuse to let anyone else get close and his life became about his own ego and his obsession with being a vigilante.
So the fun yet predictable happens. Batman sends Joker to the Phantom Zone where he meets a ton of other evil characters from different franchises (including LOTR, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park and even Dr. Who), brings them back to Gotham and proceeds to destroy the city. This forces Batman to actually work as a team with Barbara, Dick and Alfred and by doing so let them into his life. The finale of Batman’s emotional journey is him finally admitting to Joker that he hates him and that Joker is the reason he works so hard as a crime fighter. With this emotional rift healed Joker helps Batman save the city and Gotham is safe once more.
Overall I would say this is very much a boys movie. Batman is a total jerk and a very blokey kind of jerk. There is constant violence and lots of humor – I found myself chuckling a few times which is pretty good for me. I took my 4 year old son and nothing was too graphic or smutty to faze him, though he was a tad restless in his seat by the end. I’d happily recommend this movie to any boys under the age of say 17, or grown up boys who just cant get enough of The Bat.
Seen the movie and have a different opinion? Would love to read it in the comments section below!