I’ve stopped watching superhero movies. I’ve had too many bad experiences lately, and The Dark Knight Rises put me off Batman in particular. Had this been just a regular superhero movie, I would’ve skipped it. But I gave it a shot because it also promised to be a Lego movie, and I liked the last one of those. And I’m glad I did.
Bruce Wayne/Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) likes his solitude. Or, at least, that’s what he tells himself. He works alone because he’s better than everyone else and wants all of the credit. He lives alone because he doesn’t want to get close to anyone for fear of losing them like he lost his parents. But when Gotham’s new commissioner (Rosario Dawson) says that they shouldn’t rely on Batman so much, he’s hurt. When all the other superheroes have a party and don’t invite him, he’s hurt. And when the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) turns himself in, along with all of the other bad guys, so there’s no more crime to fight, he’s hurt. He’s also sure that they’re up to something, and he’s right. But this time, he’s not going to be able to handle it by himself.
The Lego Batman Movie has virtually no relationship whatsoever to The Lego Movie, except that Arnett’s Batman had a supporting role in the first, and they both take place in Lego worlds (but it doesn’t seem like they’re the same world). It’s much more a Batman movie than a Lego movie, and it makes constant references to the other Batman movies that came before it. It’s also aware of a lot of other superhero and supervillain movies (including movies not typically thought of being in that genre), and it approaches all of their legacies with a very tongue-in-cheek attitude.
It’s also a very predictable movie. The characters seem pretty one-dimensional, and the plot unfolds as you would expect. They keep going back to the same well for jokes, and yet it’s still funny and stays pretty fresh. Many of the best gags are throwaway lines, but a lot of the time it goes right where you expect, and still it finds a way to get a laugh. On the other hand, while there is a lot of action, it’s not going to get you onto the edge of your seat. It’s done well enough, but it’s just not all that exciting.
It’s disappointing that this movie chose to completely ignore The Lego Movie while simultaneously referencing tons of other films. And it’s also disappointing in its blatant, nonstop product placement for a particular non-Lego brand (and one that I especially loathe) for no good reason. But it’s hard to find too much to knock about a movie that is basically just a good time from start to finish.