“The Lego Batman Movie” is built for family fun

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“The Lego Batman Movie” Review from TCU Student Media on Vimeo.

The second movie in Warner Bros. “Lego” series, “The Lego Batman Movie” takes audiences on an explosive and fun-filled journey to discover the true meaning of family.

The movie follows Batman (Will Arnett) as he deals with crime-fighting and lifestyle changes after accidentally adopting his new son, Robin (Michael Cera).

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Robin, voiced by Michael Cera, left, and Batman, voiced by Will Arnett, in a scene from "The LEGO Batman Movie." (Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)
This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Robin, voiced by Michael Cera, left, and Batman, voiced by Will Arnett, in a scene from “The LEGO Batman Movie.” (Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

The film starts off strong with an incredible first act that honors and spoofs decades of Batman lore. The mixture of action and comedy keep the plot moving at a fast pace, though there are a few slow moments towards the film’s final act that create a noticeable shift in tone. This is due to a heavy focus on the themes of love, family and relationships that make up the emotional arc of the story.

This impact is supported by the strong performances from the cast. Will Arnett takes the lead as the self-absorbed Batman, providing snarkiness and arrogance that the Dark Knight isn’t usually known for. Michael Cera compliments him nicely as Robin, whose unbridled energy and optimism serve as a foil to Batman’s cynicism. Rosario Dawson and Ralph Fiennes also perform well as Batgirl and Alfred, respectively, providing unique takes on familiar characters.

The weakest link in the cast, unfortunately, is Zach Galifianakis as the Joker. Galifianakis doesn’t try to match previous cinematic versions of the character, instead opting to play himself. This leaves the Joker feeling toned-down and forgettable compared to other iterations, and even other characters in the film.

That said, the Joker has great character development that makes up for the lesser performance. His arc is simple but well-done and highlights important aspects of the character that are often overlooked. Batman also has a strong and believable arc that provides the foundation of the film and gives it a sense of growth. Unfortunately, the other characters aren’t as developed and stick to their one-note roles.

The film’s strength, however, lies in its Lego roots. The signature visual style of “The Lego Movie” returns, polished and improved to make “Batman” even more fun to watch and keep track of. Each set piece is filled with detail, and the visual gags spread throughout the background help the world feel more alive.

Overall, “Lego Batman” is a must see for fans of the Caped Crusader or comic book movies in general. Adults and children will be able to find things they enjoy, though some of the more mature themes may be lost on younger audiences. The film being a spoof instead of a more serious Batman movie may also detract for some viewers.

Verdict:

Fast-paced and packed with laughs, “The Lego Batman Movie” is a solid follow-up that clicks together well and adds a new dimension to the Lego movie-verse.

8/10