LEGO Batman: Holy Awesomeness Batman!! – My Thoughts

It was fairly clear from all the marketing and promos that The LEGO Batman Movie was going to be fun viewing, so watching this, laughing throughout with a huge beam on my face didn’t necessarily come as a surprise…

What did surprise me was the intelligence, heartfelt storytelling and all round quality of voice acting that turned LEGO Batman from what I, as a big Batman fan thought was going to be a nice, fun movie into one of the more enjoyable animated movies in quite a long time.

The snub of 2014’s original LEGO Movie at that year’s Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature will not be forgotten soon by us movie fans and if the same should happen again with this movie at the 2018 Oscars, it would be even more of a crime.

It is still difficut to get your head around just how WB Animation goes about animating a movie in this LEGO style and the fact that they not only pull it off, but the truly stunning detail that is clear when seen on the screen is outstanding. It’s no lie that you feel transported to this perfectly realistic feeling LEGO world.

Moving away from the incredible animation, you’ve got the voice cast. Filled with stars from Will Arnett’s Batman and Michael Cera’s Robin all the way down to Jonah Hill who has a single line as Green Lantern. There is not a weak link in the voice acting and for a movie with such a huge and diverse cast of characters, that’s something to be applauded.

This is undoubtedly a film that Batman fans will get more out of than non-fans due to it being filled to the brim with all manner of references and easter eggs from the nearly 80 year history of the caped crusader. A hilarious montage of some of Batman’s more ridiculous villains: The Eraser, The Crazy Quilt, The Condiment King and of course, Egghead is a highlight of the wonderful opening to this film.

It has been said enough already but it really is true about just how much the team behind this movie and director, Chris McKay understand the character of Batman, who he is, and the decades of history he has. This is why they are able to turn it all succesfully into humour that in the hands of a less passionate team would’ve left a bitter taste rather than tears in your eyes from laughing so hard.

These references even find themselves in the voice cast too with Billy Dee Williams voicing Two Face. Williams, famous of course for his role as Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi also played Harvey Dent (pre Two Face) in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film.

Aside from the constant hilarity and plethora of in-jokes that Batman lovers everywhere will appreciate, the story itself goes to some very unexpected places. The least of which is the Phantom Zone, more famous in Superman lore than Batman but that’s only the very beginning when you think of some of the famous characters that appear in this movie that have no business being anywhere near Gotham City. You’ll know if you’ve seen it!!

Lastly, I’ve got to talk about the heart to this film, aside from the usual (albeit VERY unconventional) comic book movie ‘defeat the villain’ story, LEGO Batman has the heart that I didn’t necessarily think it would have going in. The idea of Bruce Wayne taking in Dick Grayson as his adopted son has not been seen anywhere near as emotionally and as hilariously as in this. It raises the question of ‘why hasn’t Michael Cera ever actually played Robin in a live action film?’ The wonder that Cera’s Grayson has when he enters the batcave for the first time is the exact reaction that anyone of us would have, pointing out the batmobile, batplane, bat-helicopter, bat-submarine and let’s not forget, the bat-shark repellent.

It’s not just Robin who provides this emotion though. Zach Galifianakis’ Joker just wants Batman to accept that he is his greatest villain and to say those three special words to him, ‘I hate you’. We’ve seen plenty of psychopathic, nihilistic Joker’s in Batman films before but an emotionally insecure one?? I don’t think so.

The great thing is, it fits so perfectly into the fun tone of this movie.

It’s often diffcult for an animated movie to appeal to both children and adults to the same extent and it’s why when that does happen, that particular film lives on through the years. LEGO Batman is exactly that kind of movie.

 

Rating – 90%

 

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2017 BAFTA Awards Tonight!!

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