Film Deep Focus: “The Lego Batman Movie” (2017)
Arguably the best film in the Lego franchise, “The Lego Batman Movie,” directed by Chris McKay, spans a story filled with family, trauma and acceptance all in bricks and 104 minutes.
After everyone’s favorite “night-stalking, crime-fighting vigilante,” Batman/Bruce Wayne (Will Arnett) defeats the Joker (Zack Galifianakis) once again, he returns back to the Batcave with no friends or family to congratulate him. The only companionship he shares is with his butler, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), who tells Wayne the hard truth - he’s afraid of getting close to people after the murder of his parents.
Wayne attends a gala to congratulate Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) on her new job as the police commissioner of Gotham City, but when Gordon speaks, she wishes that the police could work with Batman instead of the vigilante going solo.
At the gala, Wayne unknowingly adopts a child, Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), who takes on the superhero alias Robin and becomes Batman’s sidekick. Batman and Robin go to Superman’s (Channing Tatum) fortress to steal the Phantom Projector, which will banish the Joker to a faraway dimension, but when the duo realizes the Joker has a master plan to release the world’s worst villains on Gotham City, Batman realizes he can no longer work solo.
Batman teams up with Robin, Gordon and Alfred to take on a battalion of villains from the DC-verse and beyond, from the likes of Harley Quinn (Jenny Slate), Two-Face (Billy Dee Williams) and the Riddler (Conan O’Brian) to Lord Voldemort (Eddie Izzard) and King Kong (Seth Green).
“The Lego Batman Movie” is more than a kid’s movie, but it’s truly one that all ages can enjoy. Colorful visuals and catchy songs draw kids in, while adults can laugh at subtle humor and performances from some of the industry’s top voices.
Batman and Joker’s internal conflict comes from Batman telling Joker that he isn’t terribly important to him. Joker takes this personally and spends most of the movie pulling off insane villain stunts to earn Batman’s attention, which comes from insecurity and dependency on playing one role for so long.
Bruce Wayne also struggles with trust and allowing people in after the death of his parents; something that Alfred brings up, to which he responds that he “doesn’t have feelings.” With the world’s worst villains unleashed and a boy who looks up to him, Batman begins to realize that he can’t face them on his own, hence taking on a sidekick and partnering with Gordon.
The storyline and visuals are great, but it’s the jokes and one-liners that make this movie stand out amongst others of its kind. The movie is filled with childish humor, but adults can laugh along to subtle nods and quick cuts to pop culture references.
For example, Alfred tells Wayne that he’s seen him go through “similar phases” of isolation before and goes through some of the prior DC movies, for example, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Dark Knight, Batman Forever and “that weird one in 1966.” Any franchise that can poke fun at themselves for a terrible movie is one that’s worth watching.
“The Lego Batman Movie” grossed $312 million worldwide and finished first in its opening week at the box office. It can be found streaming on HBO Max.
Adrianna Gallucci is a first-year student majoring in journalism. To contact her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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