(5 / 5)
The Lego Batman Movie does the same for the Caped Crusader that Blazing Saddles did for the Western genre. Poking fun at all the various versions of the character, the overabundance of praise from his fans and some of the most colorful villains in pop-culture history. But done with genuine love, enthusiasm and knowledge of the source material so it is never bitter or poorly thought-out.
This is the same Batman that we got in The Lego Movie, the Batman that the overzealous fans talk about but don’t know they are. Completely impressed with himself because he can so effortlessly accomplish every seemingly impossible feet, has wealth and many, many cool possessions and everyone else is his lesser (he believes). Will Arnett has made this version of Batman his, having a deep raspy voice but also able to use it for dry delivery and even being petulant at times. He accomplishes one of the great examples of voice acting, remaining in-character while truly acting with it, able to maintain the same voice but use it to convey different emotions.
The other members of the cast members are Ralph Finnes as Alfred Pennyworth, the loyal butler. Through his straight delivery it makes the comedy all the more hilarious, it is a genius contrast against the wackiness he has to work off. Michael Cera plays Dick Grayson/Robin the energetic flamboyant element in the Batman universe and is very unwelcome to this Batman that believes he’s cramping his style. Rosario Dawson plays Barbra Gordan, who they unblinkingly changed to Latino, who’s the level headed, no-nonsense character she’s always been. Zach Galifianakis takes on the role of the Joker, obviously this a much more comedic focused version of the character, but there are a few moments where you can detect his malice, but he is here for comedy and you will laugh.
The animation is just like in The Lego Movie. Using actual pieces of Lego’s and cutting down on the frame rate so that it creates a choppy effect. However there are moments where it isn’t as refined as the previous movie. For example in the last one they only had on-screen what they could do with real Lego’s, here they cheat but manipulating the arms or having the pieces goes where they wouldn’t with a real toy, other times they look less realistic and more like C.G.I. characters, moving more smoothly. This isn’t really a detriment to the movie, it’s just that previous instalment was meticulous in it’s execution of animation.
The message and overall character-arc for Batman in this movie is to not be alone, to let others in because one man (even if they are Batman) can’t do everything. That and life just goes by better if you have someone to share it with. A simple message but told in such a gloriously overblown and entertaining way that it’s damn near impossible to not enjoy it.
Like what Blazing Saddles did to the Western genre I wonder if this will have a similar effect on the “serious” portrayals of Batman. That the people will see that this is all really rather ridiculous and not be able to take it so seriously for a time and have to wait. Or maybe that will be a good thing and realise that to be a real character is to have flaws so they may be willing to accept that their favourite Superhero has more than a few.