Friday, February 17, 2017

Lego Batman Movie, The (2017)

Review #1,410






THE SCOOP
Director:  Chris McKay
Cast:  Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis
Plot:  Bruce Wayne must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted.

Genre:  Animation / Action / Adventure
Awards:  -
Runtime:  104min
Rating:  PG for rude humor and some action
Distributor:  Warner Bros

IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
“Hey mom, hey dad, I um, I saved the city again today, I think you would have been really proud.”

Expect more Lego-lising of popular culture in the near future.  For now, the novelty hasn’t worn thin yet, and with the expected success of The Lego Batman Movie, we should be ready for a series of such family fun in the next five years (The Lego Ninjago Movie is coming out later this year). 

Coming right after the wildly popular The Lego Movie (2014), which was tragically left out of the Oscar race for Best Animated Feature, this ‘Batman' version, a stylistic sequel if you will, maintains the former's full-throttle visual style, somewhat akin to a bombardier’s view of unmitigated chaos. 

Among the flurry and blurry lies a story of heart and warmth, about the need for companionship and family, values that Batman is absolutely incompatible with.  It is this tension that needs to be resolved, and the movie does so in typical Hollywood fashion, perhaps even mocking the one-way street that it operates on, without really trying to be different. 

An interesting approach of The Lego Batman Movie towards the notion of a shared, but sharply divided Gotham City is Batman’s relationship with his arch nemesis, the Joker, who in this film is a sensitive man in every sense.  There’s still that beloved anarchic spirit, but the Joker here is more carefully drawn out to be part of the overall equation, and so are his nefarious friends. 

Good and evil combine to sustain a world that can only operate if there is a dichotomy.  One can’t help but draw ironic parallels with the current political situation in the States, albeit very reductively.  There’s even a sharp jab at Trump... well, even Batman pays his taxes!  Plot-wise, you will get what you desire—a straightforward quest for Batman to right many self-created wrongs, with numerous intertextual references that fly at you at the speed of light.

The only real bother of The Lego Batman Movie, and one which kinda affected its predecessor too, is that it never lets up.  It is addictive like a game app you can’t stop playing even if you might be a tad bored with it at some point.  But you can’t resist because it wants to entertain you, and you want to be entertained. 

Verdict:  A full-throttle family entertainment that never lets up, like a game app you can’t stop playing even if you might be a tad bored with it at some point.  

GRADE: B






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