In 2014, the surprise smash The Lego Movie sang that “Everything Is Awesome” and encouraged creativity. It was the kind of engaging message that everyday people watch movies for. Its spin-off, The Lego Batman Movie, is for lonely narcissists who just want to inflict their arrogance onto others. The good news is that if you’re not one of those people (like our president), you can watch as the filmmakers spend a lot of time skewering those same idiots.

    The Lego Batman Movie starts off with a musical number that should’ve been called “Batman is Awesome”. It’s a masturbatory montage that also pokes fun at how boring Batman’s (Will Arnett) existence much be. He always beats whatever villain thrown at him no matter how difficult the situation (or dumb the adversary). Basically, he’s a really muscular and sophisticated version of that chump that punches in to his 9 to 5 job, then goes home and watches sports all alone into the night. I may have just described me, except with out the muscles or sophistication.

    His butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) says he needs to reach out to society, and the world wants to reach out to Batman too. New police commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) wants to work with Batman to actually lock up Gotham’s criminals, but gets a stern rebuff/laugh-off from Bruce Wayne at a fancy party (God, that sounds like something I would do).

    Meanwhile, Batman accidentally adopts a young orphan named Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), who soon becomes Robin by stumbling upon a suit in the Batcave and ripping off the pants. Considering how much Robin calls Batman “Dad”, it’s obvious the movie wants to push the father-son thing, but in execution it comes off slightly different.    

    At the risk of sounding slightly insensitive, I’ll just say it. Watching Dick in spandex and call Batman “Dad” while talking about how much he loves him comes off as gay (before someone calls me out, other people far smarter and more legit than I have pointed this out, as well as the word of Internet God.) So kudos to the filmmakers for slipping in some amusing references to Batman’s past.

    “Amusing” is actually the perfect word to describe this movie. You appreciate the creativity taken in lampooning 75+ years of Batman’s history, from the previous flicks to campy shows to ridiculous villains, even if the jokes make you laugh in disbelief. I don’t know if I can call the script “clever”, but it manages to weave in the importance of family and snarky commentary through a story about how the Joker wants to rule the world, so I’ll give it some credit.

    The Joker plans on using a portal to another dimension to unleash numerous villains (including Voldemort, Sauron and King Kong), which Batman needs to stop by embracing and working with his new family. This results in a very touching sacrifice scene, proof that this movie is not as stupid as it lets on. 

    Let’s be honest, this is a movie for children and sarcastic adults, but since when is that a bad thing? Arnett as Batman is hilariously stupid and just amusing enough to put up with. It gets excessive, but at least there’s enough here to carry you through what could’ve been a mindless advertisement for legos.

    Post-Script: The trailer for The Lego Ninjago Movie played before this, and now I’m worried that this stupid/pop-culture-skewering humor placed over purposely bad animation is becoming a thing. Please don’t overdo this Warner Bros.

Published by Jagger Czajka