Verdict: Sometimes lightning does strike twice, and sometimes that lightning is made of Lego. It’s one of the better children’s, superhero, and animated films to date. Definitely see it.
Synopsis: “Batman (voice of Will Arnett) defends Gotham City from criminals and supervillains while bonding with a young orphan (Michael Cera) he accidentally adopted — who, of course, eventually becomes his sidekick Robin.”
The Good: Probably the best version of the character since 1989, ridiculously funny, and good for kids and adults alike
It will never not be confusing to me that one of the most misunderstood characters in all of film is the now 78-year-old Batman. He’s one of the most prevalent characters in American fiction and culture, and yet for all of Hollywood’s might, it can’t get him right. Nolan’s Batman trilogy was fantastic but had a boring Batman if we’re honest. While I found Ben Affleck’s version a little more interesting, at it’s core, it’s just a different character. So color me shocked that the best version of this character in modern cinema is Will Arnett as a Lego figure. Now let’s go one step even more confusing: Seth Grahame-Smith, as in “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter” and Dark Shadows (which was terrible) is the lead screenwriter on this delight of a film.
And it really is wonderful. Not only is this the most interesting version of Batman in decades, but the rest of the movie also lines up behind Arnett’s hilarious performance, and some stunning animation highlights all of it.
The voice acting is superb and has a cast so deep it’s really only rivaled by the first Lego film. This includes: Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Mariah Carrey, Jenny Slate, Billy Dee Williams, Hector Elizondo, Conan O’Brien, Jason Mantzoukas, Zoe Kravitz, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Adam DeVine, Eddie Izzard, Seth Green, Jermaine Clement, and Ellie Kemper.
The pacing is fast, just enough to keep the kid behind me in the theater interested, but not fast enough to lose me. The pacing accentuates the punchlines and action, ensuring that no individual scene drags on for too long.
The animation really elevates an already good movie, providing some honestly astounding action sequences that were accentuated by the 3D. Action in animation isn’t always that pronounced, but this film makes great use of it.
And on top of all of this, it’s hilarious. From beginning to end, it’s a barrage of humor that never feels like it’s too much, and appeals to everybody. There’s self-referential “DC kinda sucks lately” humor, there’s “parenting is hard especially when they’re adults” humor, and there’s “say the word swole a bunch.” What more do you need?
The Bad: I really couldn’t think of much, good luck finding something
The Wonderful: WOO REPRESENTATION
Look at that list up there! They had non-white actors voicing white characters, women actors voicing men characters, older voicing younger, and on and on. And that’s exactly what we should be seeing. It’s awesome to see Batgirl as a Latina woman voiced by Rosario Dawson as much as it is to see Billy Dee Williams as white Two-Face. This movie is a high benchmark for what casting should be: POC and women in roles of all sorts, good and bad, strong and weak, tough and sexy, etc. So well done WB Animation and Lego. Who knew they would be the ones to set such a great example.