Holy Lego Bricks Batman! Gisell Says THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE Is Bat-Tastic Perfection.

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FILM REVIEW: THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

BY GISELL BUTLER

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After the highly successful bash at turning bricks into brawn with The Lego Movie in 2014, which went on to gross over $469 million dollars on a budget of less than $60 million, we are finally being given a worthwhile follow-up with The Lego Batman film. Since its predecessor was released three years ago, you can discern that the filmmakers and animators were patient and took their time building a heartwarming story stacked with sidesplitting jokes that both parents, as well as children will be sure to revel in.

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The story is quite simplistic, but it’s the way the characters, animation, lines, and action is all put together, which really makes this film stand on its own. We seldom see spin-off films succeed, but this one does in all its Bat-tastic brilliance. From the minute the theater screen opens in black until the end when it closes in white, it is a show-stopping force of vivid colors, candidness, comicality, camaraderie and courage. The screening, which took place at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning, consisted of mostly parents accompanying their little ones, so initially I felt like maybe my son (who’s going to be a middle-schooler soon) might not exactly enjoy its juvenile humor, but this film is definitely one for all ages. After it ended, my son looked at me and said, “Mom, that was better than Lego movie! If Dad wants to go, can I go and see it again?”. He and I absolutely couldn’t have laughed harder in such a long time. Those types of movie-going experiences are rare, and we both couldn’t have been more pleased with this film.

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Since a lot of the success of this movie relies on being pleasantly surprised, I’m not going to tell you all of the funny jokes or cool characters that are in it. I did no research or reading, and I went into this completely blind, and looking back now, had I known what was going to happen, I don’t think I would’ve liked it as much if I was spoiled. However, I can tell you that this Batman film is probably one of the best DC Batman films that I’ve seen in a long time. At its core, it examines many heartfelt issues, like: loneliness, family, losing loved ones, and learning to trust and build relationships. The story itself revolves around Batman trying to save the city, but in doing so, he must learn to work with others, and in the beginning of the film, he is a mostly egotistic hero, but he learns that he must try to let go of the past and make peace with it, as well as let people into his life, which is a fantastic message for children of today, especially those who might feel like they are outcasts themselves or have gone through losing a loved one. I honestly didn’t expect to see such a beautiful message at its center, but the narrative constructs a warm, compassionate story that is both entertaining and educational. It examines that you can’t have the good without the bad, and you don’t always have to take on things by yourself because even The Batman himself needs help sometimes. It has a sound message, that so many of us can relate to in real life.

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Like its team-building message, this film relied on so many talented individuals to come together in order to make such a phenomenal animated film. All of the voice-actors, including: Will Arnett (Batman), Rosario Dawson (Batgirl/Barbara Gordon), Michael Cera (Robin/Dick Grayson), Ralph Fiennes (Alfred Pennyworth), Zach Galifianakis (The Joker), and the rest of the cast did an amazing job in lending their talents to each of their roles with their own creative personalities and emotional depth they added to each of their characters. The director, Chris McKay, whom also helmed 2014’s The Lego Movie, has proven once again that he has a knack for building a rich foundation of fun films for children with all the necessary pieces needed to make a strong animated movie which towers above the rest without toppling over. The screenwriters: Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Chris McKenna (Igor), Erik Sommers (this film is his first theatrical screenwriting gig), Jared Stern (Mr. Popper’s Penguins, The Internship), and newcomer John Whittington all somehow produced a simple yet clever script that just works. You can tell these guys were all Batman fans, because some of the lines in this film are gold. If you would’ve told me that a bunch of mostly oddball screenwriters came together, especially those being known by their past failures, were responsible for writing the script to this film, I would not have believed it.

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The film’s soundtrack is also fun, including many popular songs that parents will immediately recognize, and everything in this film blends so cohesively, I can’t recommend it enough. The film is somewhat fast-paced with action at times, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and when you’re watching it, it doesn’t even feel like it’s a “cartoon”, it feels more like a movie because it contains such amazing visuals and a great storyline. The animated and visual effects artists created a vibrant and elaborate world that took what was best about The Lego Movie and concentrated on its most beloved character, and the result makes DC look like they’ve finally succeeded in redeeming themselves from their most recent blunders in the last year. Jump in the Batmobile and get ready to take a ride to your nearest cinema and remember, when playing Roulette, always bet on black.

 

FINAL WORD:  StarStarStarStarStar