There are different ways to look at Lego Batman, depending on how you approach it; most likely as either a Batman movie or another Lego movie. It status as both puts it in kind of a weird place, since the fact that these are all Lego people is both essential to how things play out and also a weird side note because it’s a fact of the world but not part of the thematic arc, which it was in The Lego Movie.
What works about Lego Batman is that its a Batman parody that’s not cynical about Batman. (Batman v Supermanbeing a Batman movie that was entirely cynical.) It explicitly takes every part of Batman’s history as fact and part of the character, while also turning him into a joke. It’s kind of the opposite of the idea of Batman ’66, where Batman is the straight man to the world’s silliness. However silly this world is (when people shoot guns they’re accompanied with people making”pew pew” noises) Batman is that much sillier. Even when Robin shows up and is kind of a joke himself, he fits into the world effortlessly, whereas Batman is an outsider and loner… until he isn’t.
Here’s my one issue with the film, which I really enjoyed and think is very funny: in its third act the movie goes hard on giving Batman an emotional arc, and I just don’t need that. I don’t need a joke character to learn a lesson to lessen the joke; it makes the joke less funny and means the movie is spending time on sentimentality instead of jokes. And it could have been done more economically, that aspect of the movie just eats up too many minutes of film for me.
Part of the problem with that is that by that point the movie has already unleashed its big gimmick; one that would be insane for a Batman movie but is honestly a little weak compared to what The Lego Movie already pulled off. So the movie has pulled out its best stuff before you get to the final stretch, which is kind of a bummer.
But the stuff leading up to that point is so good that it’s still an easy recommend. I’d even say it’s a stronger recommend to Batman fans who never watched The Lego Movie. (Assuming they can stomach an animated kids’ movie.)
I had high expectations and this movie met them. The craft and attention to detail in the animation is super impressive; this is great eye candy and a fun, light, experience