Welcome to a good time at the movies. A comedy that you deserve and need. The Lego Batman Movie, the spin-off from the super-popular Lego Movie, is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in months. Whether that brings up a fair point about my comedy diet is up for grabs, but what is not happens to be a truly delightful outing at the cinema. Here is a film that is quick on its feet, smart, and hilarious.
The film is great for a few healthy reasons, and let’s start with the Bat himself:
Will Arnett is a revelation as the voice of Bruce Wayne and The Caped Crusader of sadness. There should be a clause in the DC Comics handbook that Arnett has to voice every single physical and voiceover Batman character until the end of time. The man’s voice is made for it, and will mark the actor’s finest achievement in a film where he goes unseen. With all the complaining about Christian Bale’s Bat voice and Ben Affleck’s take on the tonal output of the character, Arnett’s work is signature, and gives the film its legs to run on.
It’s not just about the comedic deliveries, but also the way Arnett switches up the delivery that goes above and beyond. He can be full of gusto one moment, silly in another, and then sad. Voice work is an underrated craft, and Arnett’s work here is some of the best I’ve heard.
The way the director-Chris McKay-doesn’t allow the film to slow down too long or get too dizzy also helps, because this is where you pull in the parents along with the kids. If you bog it down with too many story filters, the kid is out of it. If you go too fast, the adult tunes out. McKay finds the right balance, and it aides the film. It may be overlooked in an animated sequel like this, but balance is key.
Usually if a screenwriting section lists five names, then it is time to label a film potentially toxic, but here there’s no problem. Seth Grahame-Smith’s story delicately taps into the isolation elements of the Batman story without getting too heavy. There are parts of the script that cleverly handle some of the relationship issues of Wayne and the Bat that even the live action films fumbled terribly. Remember this is a comedy, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a few genuine good Wayne-Alfred(well done Ralph Fiennes) moments. For as many finger prints that exist on the script, the movie works very well and never feels like an overbooked dinner party.
The supporting cast is noteworthy, with Conan O’Brien, Rosario Dawson, Michael Cera, Eddie Izzard, Zoe Kravitz, and even Billy Dee Williams getting licks in here as various heroes and villains. Warner Brothers and DC Comics doesn’t leave a single cinematic stone unturned, and the results are mostly top notch with only a couple misfires. There’s a playful bit with Bane, Voldemort, and Harley Quinn that’s well played, but the filmmakers wisely make Zach Galifianakas’ Joker the centerpiece of the villain group. It wisely taps into the manner with which Batman and Joker lean on each other in order to have a life, and there are plenty Dark Knight references, including “the two boats”, which is laugh out loud great.
There are several laugh out loud moments in The Lego Batman Movie, and that’s not easy to do with both kids and adults in the same room. There were five to eight year old kids laughing hysterically along with their parents. I won’t call this movie the 2017 PG version of Deadpool, but both films make several well placed eye winks at past superhero flicks, and produce real hilarity.
When I left Lego Movie, I was satisfied, but I left wanting more of Arnett’s Batman. McKay’s film serves me a full 92 minute dose, and I left wanting more.
Check it out, because it is worth your time and money.