Monday, 6 February 2017

Today's Review: The Lego Batman Movie

The Lego Movie was a big surprise for me when it came out in 2014. What looked to be a shameless cash grab based on plastic building blocks, reaching across several franchises, turned out to be an exciting, laugh a minute (or half minute), and actually thoughtful production. We're still waiting on the sequel proper, but in the meantime Batman has got his own Lego movie. Again, from first glance it seems like a cash grab, especially considering the amount of merchandise that's hitting the shelves as it arrives in the cinema, but with The Lego Movie already under Warner Bros. belt, I had faith this one would be handled pretty well too.

The Lego Batman Movie follows Lego Batman, obviously, as he fights a colourful array of villains, single handedly, as Batman is wont to do. But when a new police commissioner arrives on the scene, stating the desire for the police to work together with Batman, Batman begins to confront his isolation and fear of commitment. To be fair, the plot isn't anywhere near Oscar worthy, but it has some clear character development and it doesn't get too convoluted, so it's decent enough for a kids' movie. The characters themselves are all well acted. Will Arnett keeps up with his fantastic Batman role from The Lego Movie, and there are some great turns from a wide array of comedic actors, such as Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera and Jemaine Clement to name but a few.

Not that there's a lot of time to pause and appreciate each individual role, and therein lies one of this movie's strengths, but also one of its weaknesses. This is truly a fast paced movie. The original Lego Movie was something of a whirlwind of action sequences and clever references, and The Lego Batman Movie ramps it up to 11. The action comes thick and fast, dialogue gets banded around at breakneck speed, and there are so many references and gags packed in that it would probably take many repeated viewings to catch them all. It doesn't always work, at times there's so much coming out of the character's mouths, while the whole screen fills with fighting, explosions and Lego bricks, and another instantly recognisable song is pumped out over the top. It's hard to keep track of at some points, I found myself trying to process one thing while having my attention pulled over to another, and it did get a little exhausting. 

But that's what makes it exciting too. For those few, fleeting moments where there was just so much going on, the rest of the movie is a fantastically funny, action packed experience. Every aspect is finely crafted from Lego bricks, and the references and nods to Batmen of the past come thick and fast, and always presented in a way that made me chuckle. The dialogue is great, there are probably enough visual gags to fit into three movies, this is just an insanely fun movie. Another great addition to The Lego Movie franchise, and while they maybe need to slow it all down just a little, this movie gives me great hope for the Lego Movie sequel that's soon to come. 

My rating: 4/5

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