“… just your run-of-the-mill kids movie; it doesn’t really have much else going for it.”
Yesterday I went and saw The Lego Batman Movie and honestly I was a little disappointed. Coming off of one of the better animated films in years (The Lego Movie), I should have assumed that The Lego Batman Movie wouldn’t be as good but for some reason that thought never crossed my mind. The Lego Batman Movie follows Batman as he does some cool crime fighting, but also feels lonely I guess. I honestly don’t think that this movie had much of a plot apart from some very surface-level themes, but I’ll get to all of that later.
I don’t watch movie trailers. I find that it ruins my own enjoyment of a film if I know what is going to happen, even a very broad snapshot of the film is too much for me. I do have exceptions to this rule, for example if a movie has just been announced with a teaser trailer I’ll check it out. I feel safe doing this because I know that the movie won’t be out for a while, and by that time I will have forgotten everything about the teaser. Anyway, I’m saying all of this because I want to explain that I was in love with the idea of The Lego Batman Movie since it was announced. The Lego Movie had a great appearance of Batman (making him one of the funniest characters), so I was stoked to have that character on screen again. Then when the promotional material started coming out, I got even more excited because I saw that this movie was to feature almost all characters that are associated with Batman. Not only are most villains (even the obscure ones) featured on the movie poster, but we even get a hint that the other members of The Justice League will be in it. This was great on a few fronts: First, I’m a huge fan of The Justice League and DC in general. Second, we kind of had a “Justice League” misfire with Batman v. Superman: whatever the fuck the rest of the title is. And finally, much like Batman, the glimpse that we got of these characters in The Lego Movie (specifically Superman and Green Lantern) were great. Well it turns out, despite all of these cool characters being featured heavily in the marketing, they are barely in the movie. No, what we get is yet another Batman vs. The Joker movie but this time there is some more manufactured angst thrown in.
To fully explain my thoughts on The Lego Batman Movie, I’ll have to go through it piece by piece. First of all, the writing was not good. Again, coming off of The Lego Movie I expected The Lego Batman Movie to be really hilarious and fun to watch, unfortunately it didn’t hit that mark. All of the charm that Lord and Miller brought to The Lego Movie was sorely missed in this sequel (?). The bad writing is apparent throughout the entire film, but let’s break this down even further. First of all, the characters were real fucking weak. Batman was like a blob of silly putty, able to change into whatever character they needed for the story at that given time. One minute he is really cocky, the next minute he is all sad, the next minute he is dumber then a sack of pig shit; it was really confusing to watch. I understand that writing a movie is hard, but I can’t help but feel that someone competent could have made quick work with it. It sucks too because Batman is a character we have already been introduced to, and he exhibited none of these traits. Batman in The Lego Movie was a little cocky, but he was willing to take one for the team. In other words, he was a great supporting character and maybe that is the problem. The other characters aren’t really in the movie enough to complain about, so I’ll refrain from rambling on more. Going back to the writing of The Lego Batman Movie in general, most of the jokes fell completely flat. This goes back to my ‘simple characters’ point, but most jokes were not only obvious, they just weren’t funny. This goes hand-in-hand with the fact that the movie wasn’t very dramatic either. This means that it was a comedy without jokes, and it had scenes that tried to be serious but it even failed at that. It was like this strange limbo that the movie was caught in, never straying too far into either territory. The Lego Batman Movie also had a glaring plot hole in my mind, and just be warned this may be a bit of a spoiler. During the last battle, why didn’t Batman call the Justice League? By that point he was already past his fear of relationships, so why wouldn’t he call the people who actually know how to fight instead of enlisting the help of a series of villains? They had absolutely nothing going on as far as the movie was concerned (you know, besides throwing a party), so why weren’t they used?
But you know what? None of my complaints about the film’s writing actually matter because literally every scene in The Lego Batman Movie was just a segue into another action set piece. Don’t get me wrong the action in this movie was great, but yet again we see that the story was just added in after the fact. Anyway forget about all of that; one of the biggest things I loved about The Lego Movie was the animation style, so obviously I loved The Lego Batman Movie too, right? Well, not quite. The Lego Movie featured animation that was beyond anything I had seen up to that point. The amount of detail and care that went into every scene is still staggering to this day, but The Lego Batman Movie has more than a few instances of what I would call lazy animation. Before I get any further, I just want to say that I’m not calling these animators lazy. God knows I couldn’t animate something like this if you gave me twenty years to do it; but unfortunately ‘lazy’ is the best word I can think of to describe it. In The Lego Movie, everything was made out of Lego; this really sold the fact that the movie we we’re watching was a Lego movie. The Lego Batman Movie is supposed to be like that, but the problem is that it seemed to take the easy way out on many occasions. First of all during the terrible joke wherein Alfred talks about Batman’s “phases”, the animation team goes through the trouble of recreating all of the Batman movies in Lego form, except for the 1960’s Batman. Why? Not only did it stand out like a sore thumb, what with the rest of the movie being Lego and all, but it didn’t make sense with the character. You’re telling me that this batman has been every single batman that I’ve seen, but for some reason he was a real man at one point? Did he get turned into lego somewhere in between 1960 and 1989? Why wasn’t there a movie about that? I know that I’m being pedantic, but these are the kinds of questions that should be asked when some dumbass says “Ya, let’s put in an unedited clip of ’60’s Batman!”. And why the fuck are they taking shots at 60’s Batman anyway? Again if it were in Lego form I would have been fine with it, but the fact that they played a real clip makes me think that they are trying to make a joke out of it. I understand that 60’s Batman is pretty absurd, but I guarantee any episode of that is better than the fucking movie that you just made. It’s the fucking “X-Men: Apocalypse” joke all over again. This live acton shit continues later on when we are shown a video of a puppy and a kitten playing together. How fucking hard would it be to animate a Lego cat and dog? I know with 100% certainty that even I could do that. Was it the same guy who suggested both that and the 60’s Batman “joke”? If so, fire him (or her, either way they should be fired). We get to see more of this “animation” throughout the film in the form of smoke and general effects to fill the screen. Again, the fact that not everything was made out of Lego kept taking me out of the movie. Even the music in The Lego Batman Movie seems to only be there to pander to the audience. Instead of kick-ass original music we got clips of popular songs that were obviously there to appeal to the audience (mainly children). And by the way, the use of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” as the film’s theme was really weird. I understand that the film’s message and the message of the song kind of line up, but the tone is way different. You’re trying to make a fun Batman movie, not a weird romantic comedy.
I know that by what you’ve just read you would assume that I hated The Lego Batman Movie, but that’s not true. This review comes more from a place of hurt then hate. I had such high hopes for this film and it just didn’t live up to my expectations. On some level that is my fault but The Lego Batman Movie isn’t anywhere near as good as The Lego Movie, and that really disappointed me. Despite all of that, I was able to have a generally good time while watching it.
Overall The Lego Batman Movie wasn’t bad, it was just disappointing. It looks like The Lego Movie, but it is missing all of the charm. Sure it is fun sometimes but the best way for me to put it is that The Lego Batman Movie is just your run-of-the-mill kids movie; it doesn’t really have much else going for it.
I give The Lego Batman Movie a B