February 9, 2017

Review: Lego Batman

I love animated movies, but to be honest wasn't all that impressed with The Lego movie that came out a few years ago.  My original plan was to wait and see Lego Batman on the small screen.  Then I received Screening Passes, and I'm not about to pass that opportunity up.
I first saw a preview for this movie at the screening of Storks on November 24th.  I loved the Lego short that appeared with it (The Master). But my first reaction to the movie was ~Small Screen.  I'm glad I didn't wait.
To borrow the theme from The Lego movie: Everything is Awesome (pretty much).  
Lego Batman is a parody, nostalgic, take your kids and laugh movie.  It starts the moment the production studio logos appears.  Batman (gravely voiced by Will Arnett)  comments on the logos, and how important an opening black screen is to great movies.  Batman and Joker are battling over Gotham City.  Batman saves the day, the Joker escapes, Batman high-fives the city and its orphans then goes home to his empty mansion on an island.  Well let's not forget Alfred, who it seems is getting a bit tired of Batman's self-indulgent behavior and is turning to pop-psychiatry parenting books for help.  While he's alone The Joker is hanging with his peeps, including a cute Harley Quinn, wondering why Batman doesn't see their relationship for what it is ~ co-dependent. That all happens in just the first five minutes.
The biggest thing driving this movie is its pop-culture bonanza.  For Batman fans there's tributes going back to the beginning.  Don't fear, not being a Batman or even DC junkie is required to get most of the jewels being dropped.  While there's many Batman references the writers did not stay within the DC world. One particularly great use of pop-culture was in choosing who Joker's new side-kicks would be. I don't want to give those away but think of the best villains (mostly-family friendly) from Hollywood and you'll probably guess them.  I kept thinking this was a DeadPool for kids, including 4th wall breaks, with all the pop-culture.
The movie is quite funny, though not a non-stop laugh fest as the two college-aged kids behind me thought.  The screening I attended was primarily families.  I got a kick out of listening to double laugh waves at the adult intended humor ~ Dad just laughed guess I should too follow up laugh.  The jokes are great and clean ~ no worries.
As far as animation goes it was good, just not Laika (Kubo and Box-Trolls) or Disney good.  In all fairness this move wasn't trying to be "real" so there were no hair or water sequences to oh or ah over. (I love the Finding Dory story from Pixar on how animating the octopus Hank nearly broke their systems).  The animation in the first Lego movie felt more authentic, as if it was a movie made of Lego (FYI Grammar Police: the plural of Lego is Lego).  I'm not saying that this movie should have been made of Lego; could you imagine the time or amount of Lego needed-yikes!! I'm just saying that in comparison The Master Lego short feels as if it is made of Lego.
Here's my overall take: If you have kids and love to laugh ~ go see the movie!!
My score 4.5 Crowns
As usual with Screening there were no trailers :(
Next on the calendar ~ Screening John Wick 2
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