THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

Childhood was an amazing time, a period in which I developed my share of interests in many pop culture-related phenoms that still cling to my personality well into my adult years.  Legos were a common item amongst us younger Farvours, while superheroes like Batman & Superman were the first to capture my attention, with The Dark Knight coming out ahead thanks largely to repeated viewings of the campy Adam West-starring TV show, then in rerun status in the afternoons on Nickelodeon.  Upon the release of 1989’s Tim Burton-helmed, Michael Keaton-starring Batman, my love for Gotham City’s main man surged to unprecedented levels-this semi-origin story still exists as one of the finest superhero movies ever made, with Michael Keaton nailing the title role, Jack Nicholson as a perfect Joker only rivaled by Heath Ledger, Michael Gough as one of the best Alfreds captured to film and some of Danny Elfman's finest work as score composer.  This, truly, was the most ideal way imaginable to re-introduce Batman into a more modern era, and a beautiful kickoff to a series of films filled with plenty of ups (the Burton & Christopher Nolan eras), downs (the Joel Schumacher era) & now, with the release of The Lego Batman Movie, another welcome addition to the family has entered. 

Attempting to describe the plot would be useless, as it’s far too scattershot to even begin to attempt-and this, believe me, is a very good thing.  Though a focus on Batman’s relationships with others drives the story forward, it merely serves to construct a sandbox in which The Dark Knight and his cronies can play, all the while referencing previous Batman films, shows, comics and other pieces of today’s society, all the while driven by an excellent soundtrack and score by Lorne Balfe that would feel right at home in any live-action Batman film since the Burton years.  One can find comparisons to The Lego Movie in terms of feel-good lessons-learned, it being a children’s movie at heart, but Batman purists will no doubt feel at home and adults will absolutely laugh at many jokes that should hopefully fly past youngsters for good reason.  Seeing Batman unwind after a night of fighting crime is a hysterical look at a the dichotomy of a superhero reconciling his adrenaline-filled job with a surprisingly boring set of household routines, and while none of the original songs-usually sung by Batman-reach a level of “Everything Is Awesome” memorability, they all still work in the context of the film, and are all quite funny in the own right.  Will Arnett reprises the title role last seen in The Lego Movie, reminding us all that he may very well be the best version of this character we've seen yet, while Michael Cera is plucked from obscurity as Dick Grayson/Robin, a role seemingly as tailor-made for him as the collection of outfits Grayson/Robin tries on at one point, much to Batman's dismay.  Zach Galifianakis is a perfectly acceptable Joker, playing him with enough over-the-top mania but knowing when to rein it in so as to avoid caricature, and though Rosario Dawson may be a bit average, even slightly irritating at times as Barbara Gordon, all is forgiven when The Lego Batman Movie starts to reference nearly every obscure villain Batman has faced over the decades-seriously, even Kite Man gets a mention.  And the credits, which features one of the film's better songs, is an upbeat dance-off at which everyone should at least crack even a small smile.
 
Chris McKay, who handles directing duties following Phil Lord & Christopher Miller's work on The Lego Movie, does a fine job, with writing assistance by Seth Grahame-Smith in an interesting move as the latter had once been attached to helm DC's live-action The Flash.  Even though I may not necessarily be as excited for the next big screen Lego universe installment, that being this fall's Lego Ninjago Movie, I hope to see further brick-based adventures of the Caped Crusader, as it feel as comfortable and natural as an afternoon building with those beloved toys back when I was young.

But hey, who am I to talk?  Let's ask my five-year old daughter what she thought.