By Jason Yon
Elm Staff Writer
Reprising his role as Batman from 2014’s “The LEGO Movie,” Will Arnett swings into action as the plastic caped crusader in “The LEGO Batman Movie.” Joining him is Michael Cera as Robin and Zach Galifianakis as the Joker along with a cornucopia of DC characters and villains. Surprisingly, “The LEGO Batman Movie” shares almost none of the creative minds behind the original, yet retains the animation, charm, and humor. The LEGO movie focuses on family and teamwork, with family-friendly jokes throughout and the generic kids’ movie lessons.
“The LEGO Batman Movie” follows Bruce Wayne as he struggles with loneliness and the absence of a family. He constantly insists on working alone and lives by himself in a large mansion on an isolated island. He rejects any and all relationships, including the relationship the Joker wants; one in which Batman refuses to admit that Joker is his greatest enemy.
Joker hatches several plans during the movie in an attempt to get Batman to admit to Joker’s importance in his life. On top of this, Batman needs to come to terms with Dick Grayson, the orphan he unintentionally adopted. Over the course of the movie, Batman is taught the importance of family and learns to accept people into his life.
The best part of “The LEGO Batman Movie” was by far the visuals and sound effects. Everything looks and sounds like it is made out of plastic and individual pieces can be seen in every building and vehicle. The characters can even construct anything they think of using the pieces found in the environment around them. Pieces click together and explosions make clattering noises as the parts bounce around. The movie also features an insane amount of jokes and references.
“The LEGO Batman Movie” can almost be described as a spoof movie due to all of the old Batman references. It features references to everything from “Pulp Fiction” to the Marvel Universe. There are also cameos from obscure major villains from other franchises including King Kong, Voldemort, and the Dr. Who Daleks.
The downsides of “The LEGO Batman Movie” include a lackluster Joker and an abundance of jokes, most of which were catered towards a younger audience. Galifianakis’ Joker was rather vanilla and forgettable. The character added little to the movie as a whole and received very little screen time.
Whether he was present or not, the movie bombarded the audience with joke after joke. Some of them landed, but others such as the running gag of Batman’s narcissism grew quickly tiresome. The family and teamwork motifs also became greatly overused by the end of the movie.
“The LEGO Batman Movie” is a fantastic visual experience, yet struggles in the story department and some of the choices of voice actors. In the end, it is a movie for kids, with a few jokes and references thrown in for the adults stuck taking their children to see it. It is easy to see how a child interested in LEGOs or Batman would have an amazing time with “The LEGO Batman Movie.” For everyone else, it is little more than another animated children’s movie with an abundance of clever jokes and references sprinkled in for good measure.