Lego film success continues to build

By Ivan Mateo

When “The Lego Movie” was released back in 2014, audiences had little to no expectations, but were completely blown away by how awesome the film brought Legos to life through the combination of wonderful storytelling, vivid animation and childlike imagination.

One of the main characters in “The Lego Movie” was a self-indulgent and overconfident Batman voiced by Will Arnett. In the new spinoff/sequel, “The Lego Batman Movie,” the spotlight focuses on Batman and the city of Gotham. Arnett reprises his role as Batman here.

Over the years, there have been numerous iterations telling the tale of Gotham’s favorite superhero, the Dark Knight himself. Some interpretations have been far more successful than others.

“The Lego Batman Movie” successfully captures the personality of Batman with the Lego universe as its canvas.

One of the characteristics often associated with the storytelling of Batman focuses on the contemptuous, dichotomous relationship between himself and the Joker (Zach Galifianakis). This relationship of good versus evil provides the narrative wheels for the “The Lego Batman Movie” to progress.

The film opens with Joker assembling an insanely large cast of villains in order to blow up Gotham City, but Batman stops them all easily. This causes the Joker to contemplate what he may be doing wrong and what he can change in the future.

Does “The Lego Batman Movie” provide slight differences to be discovered inside the typical blueprint of “bad guy tries to destroy the city, while good guy saves the day?” Can the hero function properly without the villain? Can the villain go on without the hero?

These are some of the inquiries Batman’s arch-nemesis, Joker, poses to our hero as he tries to destroy Gotham in a completely sideways fashion.

Joker and his sidekick, Harley Quinn (Jenny Slate), are the main masterminds of silliness because, as the bad guys, the moniker of “the bigger the plan, the more devastating” is definitely something they follow. Joker’s expressions and quotable nature are on full display.

Despite Batman consistently saving Gotham City from Joker’s dastardly plans and inevitable crime all while receiving the subsequent adoration and praise of the police department and the townsfolk, Batman still feels something missing.

The problem lies in the fact of Batman remaining alone in his mansion filled with bat tools, bat automobiles and cool tech, but being unfulfilled. He does have his butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Ralph Fiennes), with him.

Haunted by the death of his parents, Batman chooses to be alone because he fears losing people close to him once again.

As the story of “The Lego Batman Movie” moves along, Batman continues to explore what he is looking for, while meeting people such as orphan Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) and Commissioner James Gordon (Hector Elizondo), the police commissioner of Gotham City.

Commissioner Gordon is now retiring and his daughter, Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), has been appointed as his successor by Mayor McCaskill (Mariah Carey).

One of the many features making “The Lego Batman Movie” easily relatable to audiences is the relationships we have with different people. Batman’s connections to Dick, Barbara and Alfred are each special in different ways, just like his link to the Joker.

How Batman navigates his complicated choices on whether or not to allow people into his life displays the psychological aspects of the character at the forefront.

Certain scenes and characters in the film are absolutely silly, but this is to be expected from an animated superhero film made entirely of digital Lego blocks.

For fans of the old Batman series, “Lego Batman” pays homage to the rich lore of yesteryear by cycling through the history of Batman ranging from Christopher Nolan’s trilogy all the way back to Adam West’s films and television series.

The film also brings along many notable Batman villains ranging from well-known antagonists such as Two-Face (Billy Dee Williams), Bane (Doug Benson), Catwoman (Zo_ÒåÇ Kravitz), Riddler (Conan O’Brien) and others to incredibly obscure villains such as Egghead, Orca, Condiment King, etc.

The comprehensive list of throwbacks and tributes shows the creativity and willingness of the “The Lego Batman Movie” team to have some fun and share Easter eggs with audiences. Fans of other popular franchises in film and television will surely be surprised in unexpected ways as well.

To think that a Batman storyline of learning to deal with isolationism would be told successfully through the lighthearted prism of Legos is another example of the juxtaposition between light and darkness.

“The Lego Batman Movie” recaptures the magical essence brought to the table from its predecessor, “The Lego Movie,” by continuing with the beautiful graphics and clever storylines for fans of Batman and Legos to enjoy with their families.

“The Lego Batman Movie” is rated PG for rude humor and some action.

“The Lego Batman Movie” is playing in theaters now.

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

‘Lego Batman’ movie poster

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