Can’t say they didn’t try.
The Lego Batman Movie throws about everything imaginable at the audience in an attempt to win over adults and kids alike. The film features a nearly endless barrage of colorful images, noises, and action that it is not unfair to say this is cinematic candy. However, as with real candy, the substance might be lacking a bit.
It is interesting that this is the first film to not waste a ton of time setting up who Batman is and what his motivations are. Instead, we start the movie with the Joker and about every other villain imaginable trying to blow up Gotham City. Batman must save the day, and we are treated to the majestic nature of Lego animation. The little things, like the fire being Lego fire, really bring the scenes to life.
After beating the Joker, it is revealed that Batman is not emotionally balanced (shocker) and is most afraid of human connection. The main plot of the film is an evil scheme of the Joker’s to make Batman realize he needs other people. He does so by going to alternate dimension and brining back about every villain imaginable. It is up to Batgirl, Batman, Robin, and Alfred to save the day.
The film is fun, but cheesy, and I suppose that doesn’t matter in a kid’s film. In the theater the kids seemed to be on the edge of their seats for most of it, and audible laughter followed most jokes. For a kids’ movie, I think this one really did a superb job. Where it falters a bit is the heavy-handed nature of the moral of the narrative. At over 100 minutes, this is not a short kids’ film, and after the first hour it became less impressive and more overpowering to watch the endless barrage of action.
I think the film could have easily cropped out about 15-20 minutes, and we would have had a leaner and more streamlined experience for it. The film is also incredibly meta, and I for one usually don’t find these jokes as clever as everyone else does. Sure, there are some good zingers, but it doesn’t add anything to the film.
Check out this movie. You will probably enjoy your time in the theater, and might chuckle at some of the jokes afterword, but it is largely a consumable experience without many lasting effects. It is hard to rate this movie, if you have kids (or are a bat-fanatic) you’re going to love it. For others, it is fun, and certainly a cut above most kids’ films. 6/10