HOLLYWOOD—“The Lego Movie” which hit theaters in 2014, was a massive hit and full of heart, comedy and visuals of Lego figurines that many could only hope for. While the initial sequel to that movie is not set to arrive till 2018, “The Lego Batman Movie” is indeed an accomplished feat. The spin-off from the first flick as its title implies, focuses on Batman and the world of Gotham.
Batman (voice of Will Arnett) returns to the driver seat of the character he voiced in the 2014 movie. The animated flick opens with an interesting premise as Batman goes toe-to-toe with his greatest foe, The Joker (voice of Zach Galifianakis), who is determined to bring Gotham to its feet. Amidst the ongoing feud between hero and villain, Bruce Wayne aka Batman takes in orphan Dick Grayson aka Robin (voice of Michael Cera). I love how the film tip-toes around the issue of Robin’s sexuality, without actually going there. I mean this is an animated flick people!
The narrative really plays with the idea that Batman/Bruce Wayne is a secluded character, who is forced to break down those walls when it becomes clear that Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl (voice of Rosario Dawson) captures his heart. As a viewer, it’s like watching the latest installment in the Batman franchise, but the only difference is that it’s a Lego version people, and it works so well. The tension between Batman and The Joker reaches feverish heights, when Batman’s ego puts a bruise on The Joker’s ego, forcing him to implement a masterplan that places Batman in a precarious predicament.
At its core, this movie is all about people, socialization, love, trust and relationships. Now, people we’re not just talking about romantic relationships, but the midst of friendships and family. Even in the time of tragedy, Batman learns by surrounding himself with people who care about him, can help pull one from a dark place. The bevy of characters that appear in the movie are countless including Batman’s rival Superman (voice of Channing Tatum), Alfred (voice of Ralph Fiennes), Bane (voice of Doug Benson), and even pop singer Mariah Carey lends her voice as Mayor McCaskill.
The element of comedy works with perfection throughout the narrative thanks to a witty and clever script and smart direction from Chris McKay. Rarely do we see spin-offs to animated flicks unless the success at the box-office is massive, but I can see multiple, and I mean multiple sequels in play as we chronicle Batman and his many battles with foes that are all too memorable to many of us.
“The Lego Batman Movie” will be a hoot of fun for kids, nostalgic for adults and pinpoint a very important element about life that even animated films do better than live version movies: just when you think no one cares, there are always people around who care for you.