Friday, August 4, 2017

The Lego Batman Movie

I dunno, invisible audience.  I found this year's THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE to be a real disappointment.  Probably moreso because this was a spin off that I thought could really be something.  One that really earned its existence as a spinoff.  Batman was one of the many delights of the original LEGO movie; his supersized ego delivered via that patented growly voice was truly hilarious.  He just about stole the movie.  How easy it would be to give him his own adventure.  This should(ve) be(en) a slam dunk.

Well.....first the good points.  Will Arnett does another great job of voicing the superhero/Bruce Wayne.  His rasp is still perfect.  He doesn't merely have eight-pack abs; he has a ninth!  The screenplay (credited to five writers) gives him several funny lines. Gotta love that password!  I also loved the random moment when he begins wailing on an electric guitar deep within the Batcave.    The movie works in clever references to just about every Batman movie and T.V. show dating back to the 1940s.  The music and onscreen exclamations (Pow! Zap! etc.) of the Adam West program are amusingly woven in.  The computer animation is sensational, if overly stimulating.  This movie feels like the equivalent of a child who's been unwisely allowed to consume too much sugar.

So....the bad points? It's too much.  Too much action, too much noise.  That sadly may just mean I'm too old for THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE.  I love frantic movies as much as the next overgrown adolescent, but they seem to be upping the ante on chaos with each shiny new studio product.  Is everyone so deficient in their attention spans that they have to be assaulted with color, noise, and movement at every second? Probably, yes.  That opening scene is a great example.  Seriously, I almost bailed on this movie because it was so ridiculous.  Shame on you, director Chris McKay!

Back to the screenplay.  A feel good message about working as a team is the main take home here.  Batman has always been a lone wolf, a sociopath exorcising some major demons.  When the Commissioner's daughter, Alfred the butler, and an adoptee who eventually becomes Robin repeatedly badger the big grouch to allow them to help him fight the bad guys you might forgive the movie's excesses, though the message itself is sometimes brought across with just as much as a sledgehammer approach as everything else.

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE also addresses the complicated relationship between Batman and the Joker, his main nemesis.  A bit surprising.  Not explored in any dark manner ala the comics or the Christopher Nolan movies, but given a whimsical spin with a few snarky moments.  I might've appreciated them more if THE MOVIE JUST CALMED DOWN A LITTLE BIT.


Your kids will probably love it.  There are a lot of butt jokes.
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