The Lego Batman Movie, directed by Chris McKay, is a spin-off of The Lego Movie and, as the title suggests, focuses on Batman (Will Arnett) trying to save Gotham City from The Joker (Zach Galifianakis).
When I first heard that they were making this film, I was super skeptical of it even though I absolutely love The Lego Movie and Batman is one of my favorite comic book characters. I thought that this was possibly going to be a film that would lose the magic of the first film and the heart that the first film had, and I was only slightly correct about that. Other than that, this is a highly enjoyable film.
First off, the characterizations of Batman and The Joker in this film are pitch perfect. The characterizations may not be the exact characters from the comics because they had to be toned down in order for young kids to be able to watch this film, but they really are perfect. The Joker is trying to convince Batman that they need each other in to have a purpose in their life and, while this is heavily explored in very dark comic storylines, it is so deftly and humorously handled in this film that it works so well. Batman is also essentially a man-child in this film, which created some very funny moments that didn’t ruin the character.
Like mentioned above as well, this film is a genuinely funny film. It has great jokes that are consistent with the characters and the world that these characters inhabit that no matter how ridiculous it gets, you understand that it can happen in this world and the jokes are still able to land. There are also a lot of parts in this, starting from the first second of the film, that are incredibly meta and I found that these jokes were some of the funniest jokes that were told.
The animation in this film is stunning as well. Everything about it looks like you could actually build it with Legos, and honestly is even better than the fantastic animation that originated in The Lego Movie. The fight scenes are so smooth and everything looks like these could actually be real-life Lego bricks beating each other up, which is simultaneously cool to look at and funny.
My only real problems I have with this film was that, and this may be unfair to compare it, but I’m going to do it anyway, it didn’t have as much heart in it that The Lego Movie. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a good amount of heart that is in here, but while I could relate to Emmet (Chris Pratt) in The Lego Movie and I had a hard time being pulled into Batman’s arc because he was a jerk throughout much of the film. And not an understandable jerk like he is in other media, but he was actually quite annoying a couple of times with how much of a jerk he was.
Overall, The Lego Batman Movie is a solid follow-up to The Lego Movie and if you were a fan of that film and/or are a fan of Batman in general, I think that you will really enjoy this film.