As someone who has never understood the hype around LEGO toys, I went into the LEGO Batman Movie skeptical that I was going to be treated to a terrible cliche film. We all know the state of animations these days; too many Despicable Me, and Madagascar films have left me craving a good animation that does not sell itself short for cheap soundtracks, and terrible comedy that gets shoved down your throat.
Quite frankly I had to eat my words after watching the film, as it was everything a typical geek and lover of DC would enjoy, and more. The LEGO Batman Movie gets away with so much because it is allowed to. Hidden adult themes cater for the long-time fans of the superhero, while cute kiddies comedy will keep you child energized throughout the film.
The LEGO Batman Movie follows the story of our two favorite DC characters, Batman and The Joker. After an explosive, yet catchy intro that sees Batman fight almost every villain we know to date, while juggling a guitar solo, the film stays on a roller coaster of great cinematography right until the end. Batman has to face his biggest demon to date, and no it is not Penguin, Joker, or even Superman, rather his state of emotional distress. Batman is all alone, and although he is extremely arrogant in the film, this loneliness slowly eats up inside of him, as he realizes that he has no one.
The film's central theme is family, and Batman's lack thereof. As we watch him slowly come to terms with this issue, he meets some loveable character that try very hard to teach him the meaning of family. All this happens while The Joker stages his biggest plot to date, as he gets Batman to open up the portal to the Phantom Zone, where the most evil of evil creatures have been banished away to.
I have never played LEGO Dimensions, but I know that this Phantom Zone is reference to the game's interstellar dimension where players summon all sorts of characters into their game through the portal. It would only be fair that the film pay tribute to this, with cameos from some of Warner Bros. biggest series like Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings. This is where the film goes from a typical superhero movie to a love letter to all geeks out there, and the threat looming in Gotham City turns catastrophic. The Joker armed with an army of monsters from different dimensions sets off to prove to Batman that he is his greatest enemy.
As much as the film tries, there are no real emotional ties in that made me feel anything other than hysterical. Whenever the film tries to be serious, there is one character, or a little joke thrown in that tossed all emotional connection to the characters away. It is also the throwbacks to the past Batman films that had me gagging for more. The film often references Batman's 90-years of service to the world, with LEGO-inspired shots to Batman V Superman, and even way back to the 90s classics like Batman Forever.
It is hidden comedy like that which will resonate with your inner geek. We have all watched the older Batman films, and the more you know about him either through the films, or through the comics, the more you will relate to the movie in general. Different outfits he wears all come from some of the most hardcore comic series he has been in, and even the Justice League throwbacks are on point.
It also all helps that the film is complete eye-candy to watch. It has been perfectly pieced together like a ten thousand piece LEGO set of the Taj Mahal in India. Every scene is has been polished, and the fact that it is all designed around LEGO changes everything. The smoke coming out of Batman's vehicles, the hair of Barbara Gordon stiffly blowing in the wind, it is all LEGO, and you just want to pause the film to take it all in frame by frame.
If you need something that reminds you just how awesome the DC universe is, then The LEGO Batman movie is perfect for you. It is the film you and your kids enjoy equally. It is the love letter to all DC fans.