Photo: Courtesy of Tribune News Service

Review: 'Lego Batman' turns convention on its head

Movie: "The Lego Batman Movie"

Director: Chris McKay

Runtime: 1 hour 44 minutes

Release Date: Feb. 10

Rating: A

Before reading this review, I want you to think about the character of Batman. What comes to mind? Maybe character traits, story arcs, villains or themes? Out of everything that came to your mind, I am willing to go out on a limb to say that Batman’s sidekicks or supporting characters were not at the forefront of your brainstorm. They certainly aren’t at the front of mine whenever I think of Batman.

This is what makes "The Lego Batman Movie" interesting. The movie takes one of the most brooding characters in fiction and forces him to learn a skill that has eluded the world’s greatest detective since his creation in 1939 — cooperation. The main message of "The Lego Batman Movie" is the importance of working together. When the Joker, voiced by Zach Galifianakis, unleashes the Lego Universe’s ultimate villains, Batman needs to learn to rely on others in order to save Gotham.

Aside from the Lego pieces (pun intended), that plot description doesn’t sound like any Batman story I’ve ever heard of. This story of togetherness wouldn’t work in any medium except for the Lego Universe. Batman has so much history that if this story was made on its own it it would decidedly come off as “not Batman.” The fact that Batman is made of Legos gave the creators a chance to poke fun at Batman’s dark, brooding character. On top of that, no one takes Batman seriously in this movie. Throughout Batman’s history he’s always been, more or less, alone. “The Lego Batman Movie” is the first time I’ve sympathized with that loneliness.

What solidifies this movie is the impeccable voice cast. Unsurprisingly, Will Arnett delivers a great vocal performance as the Dark Knight. But what did surprise me was the performance by the supporting cast. Michael Cera was hilarious as Robin, and Rosario Dawson (Batgirl) and Ralph Fiennes (Alfred) were both excellent as well. Every character has a few lines that together make this movie feel only 10 minutes long.

"Lego Batman" is very fast-paced and does not slow down at all. Much of this has to do with it being a Lego Movie, but the quick-paced writing should not go without mention. The theater I was in had people of almost every age, and the jokes always hit their mark. And when the main message of the movie was being conveyed in an emotional dialogue between Batman and Robin, pretty much every adult there (including myself) was holding back tears.

Adults will enjoy this movie. Kids will love this movie. “The Lego Batman Movie” delivers a heartwarming message about togetherness by flipping the conventional Batman story formula on its head. 



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