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After a series of delays (blame the stupid head cold), I was FINALLY able to watch The LEGO Batman Movie this past Saturday night. My first thoughts when the credits rolled were: BWAHAHAHAHAHA, that was funny!!! Given all the depressing things that have been going on recently, this film provided a much needed laugh.
I think what I love the most about this movie is all the Easter eggs referencing past Batman films and television shows. I’m certain there’s a reference for every Batman film (and show) ever made, up to and including: The Dark Knight Trilogy, Batman vs. Superman, Batman and Robin, Batman Forever, Batman Returns, Batman (1989), Batman: TAS, Batman Beyond, there’s even references to The Batman Movie (1966) and the subsequent television series (mostly seen with the “campy” villains, but there are other references as well).
Will Arnett actually makes a pretty good Batman (I mean, I enjoyed his performance in The LEGO Movie, but it’s one thing to be a supporting character and quite another to be the lead in a film). In this film, Batman is seemingly quite happy to live in his own world, completely isolated from all meaningful human contact (except for Alfred), insisting that he doesn’t “need” anybody, even though Alfred insists he would be a lot happier if he made some friends (or started a relationship). Meanwhile, The Joker’s ego is smarting after Batman declares that he (Batman) doesn’t HAVE a “greatest villain” and that the Joker means nothing to him. I have to say, Zach Galifianakis absolutely KILLED it as the Joker, who is quite possibly the most psychotic villain there is! Zach did an amazing job of letting the “crazy” just flow through his voice acting, and I would happily listen to him perform the role again.
Back to the story: Commissioner Gordon has retired, being replaced by his daughter Barbara Gordon. Barbara, unlike her father, believes that the police should work together WITH Batman, instead of Batman working alone. Predictably, Batman HATES this idea, but he’s soon in a pickle: out of nowhere, the villains, led by Joker, surrender en masse!! With no villains to fight, Batman is essentially out of a job! Complicating matters further is the fact that Batman (as Bruce Wayne) unwittingly adopted orphan Dick Grayson, and he is reluctant to assume any kind of father-figure role.
Despite this mess, Batman has a plan to get himself back into the good graces of Gotham City. He’s going to get rid of the Joker permanently (it’s not enough for him to be locked up in Arkham Asylum) by sending him to the Phantom Zone. The problem is…the only device that can open the Phantom Zone is located in the Fortress of Solitude which belongs to Superman. Also….Batman is too big to sneak into the area where the device is held, which means he needs Dick Grayson’s help, and then Barbara Gordon finds out, and it quickly dominos into a mess where 1) Joker is sent to the Phantom Zone and 2) Batman and Robin are locked up in Arkham!!
As it turns out, Joker WANTED to be sent to the Phantom Zone. He is bound and determined to make Batman see that he (Joker) is Batman’s greatest nemesis, and he’s going to do that by recruiting the greatest villains of all time. HOW Warner Bros. pulled this off I don’t know, but what happened next is one of the greatest mash-ups of all time. Joker proceeds to recruit (in no particular order): King Kong, The Wicked Witch of the West (and her flying monkeys), the Kraken, Medusa, the Daleks (though they’re NOT called by that name), Voldemort (yes, THAT Voldemort), the raptors and T-Rex from Jurassic Park, Agent Smith (from The Matrix) and Sauron (!!!!!!!!!!!!). With this unstoppable group of villains, the Joker breaks out of the Phantom Zone (with Harley Quinn’s help) and proceeds to attack Gotham once again. The only way Batman can save the day is if he swallows his fears about losing people he cares about (again) and accepting help. And finally, he does, working together with Robin, Alfred, Batgirl (Barbara) and all of his traditional villains (who are angry that Joker wrote them off as losers) in a fight for the ages.
I left the film feeling very satisfied. The LEGO Batman Movie is a perfect popcorn film, great if you need a laugh for an hour. The voice acting was spot on, I don’t think there was a single miscast in there (and I can’t reiterate enough how awesome Zach Galifianakis is as the Joker). It’s also made me even more excited to see the sequel to The LEGO Movie (when it eventually comes out) and now I’m likely to see The LEGO Ninjago Movie when it comes out this fall. If you haven’t seen this film yet, I highly recommend it, you’ll have a great time watching it 🙂
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