Ha! Well… I can’t say I’m complaining. I was a fan of THE LEGO MOVIE (2014), and I thought Batman stole the show, so it only makes sense that the next LEGO movie outing would be about that character. This movie looks like it’s going to be a satire of the Batman mythos, but still be smart enough to have a meaningful story to go along with it. It’s probably just wishful thinking and it’s likely going to be a comedy through and through, but it still looks like a great deal of fun.
So let’s take a gander at the voice cast. Reprising his role from the previous film is Will Arnett. This deep-voiced funny man is no stranger to animation, having been in THE NUT JOB (2014), TV show BOJACK HORSEMAN, and several video games. His most notable live-action films probably include TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS (2016), as well as its predecessor, but shines as a TV actor, having been in UP ALL NIGHT, THE MILLERS, Netflix’s A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, among many others. He’s a TV great and I look forward to enjoying his work here. In support, we have a few noteworthy names. One of them is Ralph Fiennes. Anyone else kind of tickled by that? Has he ever done a kids movie before? And don’t say Harry Potter; that’s young adult. Oh… wait, he did KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (2016), NANNY MCPHEE RETURNS (2010), and THE PRINCE OF EGYPT (1998). Okay, so… shutting up. But still, for a guy known for playing murderers, creeps, and nose-less magicians that can’t take over a school even with an army behind his back, it tickles me to think of him in a true kids movie. Next is Michael Cera. Sheesh, there’s a name you don’t see much anymore unless you know where to look. While he was kind of a staple in the mid to late 2000’s for his roles in JUNO (2007) and SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD (2010), he sort of faded away from the big screen, didn’t he? But that’s not to say he hasn’t found success elsewhere, primarily in television, being in CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL and ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. Hell, his last major big-screen role was 2016’s SAUSAGE PARTY. Also an animated movie. Er… but not for kids. Other talents include Zach Galifianakis (KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES , BIRDMAN , and The Hangover franchise), Billy Dee Williams (the original Star Wars films, BATMAN , and a ton of voice work in animation and video games), Mariah Carey (POPSTAR , PRECIOUS , and GLITTER ), Rosario Dawson (RATCHET & CLANK , SIN CITY , and TV show LUKE CAGE), and Jenny Slate (THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS , ZOOTOPIA , and TV show PARKS AND REC, and will be support in the upcoming GIFTED ).
Now for the crew. Directing is Chris McKay, known for mostly directing episodes for TV show ROBOT CHICKEN, making this his feature-length debut. Congrats, sir. Ehh, here’s the one red flag that I have… three writers: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, and Erik Sommers. Grahame-Smith has done ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER (2012), DARK SHADOWS (2012), and even for writing (or assisting in writing) for the 87th Academy Awards. He is also slated to write BEETELJUICE 2, due out… in the future. And both McKenna and Sommers are known for TV show AMERICAN DAD!. They are also writing the upcoming films SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (2017) and JUMANJI (2017). Finally, the composer for the film is Lorne Balfe, known for 13 HOURS (2016), TERMINATOR GENISYS (2015), and PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR (2014).
UPDATE: Five writers, including Jared Stern (THE INTERNSHIP , THE WATCH , and TV show DR. KEN) and John Whittington, his debut. Congrats, sir.
Overall, despite the three screenwriters attached, I have to say that I am pretty eager to see this film. It looks like it’s going to be fun, funny, and cute. Can’t wait.
This is my honest opinion of: THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) is seen as the greatest superhero. He is loved and adored by all in Gotham City, and he loves the love. But there’s just one problem. He’s lonely. One night getting out of the house, he goes to a party celebrating the new commissioner, Barbara Gordon (voiced by Rosario Dawson), even accidentally adopting a young boy and fan of Bruce Wayne named Dick (voiced by Michael Cera). But before the night is over, the city’s greatest villains crash the party and… surrender, chief among them, Joker (voiced by Zack Galifianakis). Now, now with no crime to stop, Batman is suggested by his trusty and wise butler, Alfred (voiced by Ralph Fiennes) to take care of Dick. Getting him roped into his crime-fighting lifestyle, the two go on a quest to learn a few life lessons.
Holy cow, what a movie. This is likely the best Batman movie we’ve gotten since THE DARK KNIGHT (2008), and will likely be the best we’ll get for a very long time. Kinda sad when you think about it. I think the best part of this is that it’s a parody film. How many of those get released in this day and age and are actually good?! In a few ways, this is almost a ground-breaking film. Okay, not really, but it’s a reminder that with clever writing, you can make a good spoof movie by understanding the material and knowing what to satirize. To top it all off, it’s still it’s own unique story.
Well let’s jump right into it, shall we? The movie opens with an incredible ensemble of Batman’s most well-known villains, as well as an impressive amount of his most obscure and silly villains. Condiment Man always tickles me. And let’s just say that Batman comes in to save the day in a way that I legit didn’t see coming. Oh, and metal music in a kids movie, no matter how ridiculously hilarious the lyrics are, is something I needed in my life. The opening of him just kicking so much bad-guy butt is beyond hysterical and epic.
But there is a surprising amount of drama too. When the movie takes us to Wayne Manor and it’s all subdued and quiet, you can really get a sense of loneliness that Batman feels and… I won’t lie, it tugs at my heartstrings a bit when he’s talking to the portrait of his parents and he tells them that they’d be proud of him saving Gotham again. Despite the jokes, there is tenderness when Alfred challenges Batman with the idea that he’s afraid to be a part of another family. And there’s a lot of emotional moments too. I almost cried at the end. Yeah, it’s that good.
The casting surprisingly works for what this movie is. Arnett gives the perfect over-the-top voice as he did in THE LEGO MOVIE and continues to work so well the for character presented. Even Cera, whom I’m usually not a fan of, works really well here. I gotta say, the guy’s found a nice place in voice acting. But anyone else get more of a Tim Drake out of him than a Dick Grayson? Eh, whatever. A funny, well-written role is a funny, well-written role. I probably say this about all side-kicks in comedy, but I feel like it would have been so easy to make him annoying, but he really isn’t. He’s a kid, an orphan, and he’s just been adopted by his hero, Bruce Wayne, who is secretly Batman. Who wouldn’t be over the moon? And once he realizes that he’s been co-adopted by Batman (Batman doesn’t reveal he’s also Bruce Wayne) and gets sucked into becoming Robin, he’s got the thrill of adventure in him. This is surprisingly keeping it within the younger Robins of the comics, with similar outlooks, minus the cartoonish personality. That’s… really clever of this movie. Seriously, why does Warner Animation Group have a better understanding of the DC universe than Warner Bros. itself. Dawson’s fun as Barbara, Fiennes is fun as Alfred, but wouldn’t it also have been funny if he reprised his role as Voldemort? I think it would have been, but whatever. Galifianakis is also surprisingly fun and hilarious as Joker. Everyone else gets pushed back, so the celebrity cameos are almost completely useless.
I think the closest thing to a downside is that the movie poster teases that we would get most of the Justice League characters. While they do make an appearance, and some even have their reprised voice actors from LEGO MOVIE, but they’re literally only in it for one scene and it’s… kind of a letdown. But I choose not to let that hinder the film too much as it’s supposed to be a mix of both a celebration and a roast of Batman, so he’s the focus, not the DC universe… minus, again, the appearance of Sauron from Lord of the Rings, King Kong, and a bunch of other non-Batman or DC universe characters.
I think a lot of us figured that this would have been pretty good, but I think it’s a testament everyone involved when you make something look really good, to something really great. It’s clever, it’s fun, hilarious, and even hits you in the feels. I don’t care who you are, this is such a fantastic movie and I can’t recommend it enough to any and everyone.
My honest rating for THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE: 5/5