The LEGO Batman Movie
by Christie Robb
This year’s spin-off of 2014’s The LEGO Movie centers on Batman—the brooding solitary vigilante with the wonderful toys and the nine-pack abs. We catch up with him doing the usual thing—saving Gotham City from a supervillain. But when he gets home after a long day, who does he have to share his life with? Just a judgey Alfred, Siri, and a microwaved plate full of lobster. Apparently Batman’s greatest fear is intimacy.
The Bat can’t even identify his “bad guy”—breaking Joker’s heart when he decides to “fight around.”
So when Barbara Gordon takes over as police commissioner amid plans to work more collaboratively with Batman, he gets the heebie jeebies. Discovering that he’s accidentally adopted an orphan doesn’t help. Nor does the Joker’s rounding up of all of Gotham’s villains and submitting a group resignation letter.
Faced with demands on his emotional intelligence and without purpose, Batman begins to crack. Sure that Joker is up to something, Batman refuses to work with Gordon and inadvertently places Joker in a position where he can destroy all of Gotham for good.
Only one thing can stop this nefarious plan…teamwork.
LEGO Batman is a PG-rated movie that is probably even more fun for adults than for kiddos. Those responsible for paying the tab will get to enjoy spotting the references to other Batman movies, identifying terrible Batman TV show villains (like the Condiment King), and wondering how the administrative folks at the studio acquired permission for all the outside intellectual property required for the climax.
The movie also has a remarkable depth of voice talent. Will Arnett handles the gravel-voiced protagonist, but Michael Cera steals scenes as the endearingly twee Robin. Not only do we get Rosario Dawson as Gordon, we get Ralph Fiennes as Alfred and Zach Galifianakis as the Joker. But even characters that have minute amounts of screen time get good coverage. Billy Dee Williams, for example, briefly reprises his 1989 role as Harvey Dent.
And, in the end, we learn everything is cool when you’re part of a team.