Are you ready to follow Batman? And maybe learn a few life lessons along the way?
I was all set to write a review of “The LEGO Batman Movie” way back in February, before the film even came out. The first of 2017’s two sequels to “The LEGO Movie” focused on not only a beloved character from the first film, but on one of the most popular fictional characters of all time. Batman is a pop culture institution. So is LEGO. Combining them is a sure thing.
And for the most part, that’s accurate. The film did well; it’s got a 90% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The product line was robust and full of beautifully designed sets and characters. There was even a lovely Making-of book for the film (though it’s really more a collection of concept art book than it is a comprehensive look behind-the-scenes).
So why did I find it so hard to write anything about this film? Why didn’t I have the same vigor I had while writing my in-depth review of the first film?
I think it’s because a “LEGO Movie” is no longer the gamble it once was. This sequel was another fun, well-made film in the LEGO Movie universe, with a great cast and some wonderful designs. But unlike the original, the marketing for this film definitely had the vibe of “yeah, come on… we know you’re all gonna come see this.”
On top of that, the “Batman” of it all is nothing new, either. All of the familiar motifs are here:
- A gang of Gotham’s worst criminals (led by The Joker, natch) is loose in the city, wreaking havoc and conspiring against our heroes,
- The Gotham City government and police force struggle with this excessive amount of crime. And, of course,
- Millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne dresses like a bat man to clean up the town and work through the pain of losing his parents at a young age.
On paper, this might sound like a recipe for a dull film. But as with the first LEGO Movie, what makes it all work is a wonderful dose of humor, self-awareness, and an obvious love for the property. LEGO Batman is definitely a fun watch, and if you liked the original, you’ll probably like this one, too.
But unfortunately, this all means that I don’t much else to say about The LEGO Batman Movie itself. Dave Pickett and I talked at length about it on my YouTube channel back in February (see above), if you’re interested in some further random discussion.
However, I will say this: I am curious to see what comes next, given the fact that we’ll have “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” to watch and think through a few months from now. As far as IPs go, Ninjago is certainly no Batman…