2014’s The Lego Movie was one of the biggest surprises to hit cinemas the year it came out. What could have been an hour and a half advertisement for selling Legos ended up being one of the most creative and hilarious films of the year. It dominated the box office and critics and fans alike fell in love with its charm and wit. How does The Lego Batman Movie compare with its predecessor? The short answer is that it’s not quite as good, but seeing as how high The Lego Movie set the bar, that’s certainly no insult, as The Lego Batman Movie is still great in its own right.
What’s made evident from the beginning is the animation quality from The Lego Movie has not been lost, because this film is incredible to look at. All the small attention to detail that goes into making these animated figures feel like real life Legos are back, including the stop motion effect. The film starts off in possibly the funniest scene of the whole film, an airplane heist that pokes fun of almost every cliché of the inciting incident. It also wastes no time in getting in several jabs at Batman’s rogues gallery, as even the most obscure of his C-list villains get nods. However, his villains aren’t the only characters lovingly mocked, as almost every iteration the Dark Knight has had is mentioned in a humorous way. The throwaway background lines present in The Lego Movie are here as well, getting constant legitimate laughter throughout the entirety of the films first act. Fortunately, it’s not just the background characters getting laughs, as the main cast is also fantastic, with Will Arnett’s Batman once again stealing the show, though Michael Cera’s Robin and Zack Galifianakis’ Joker both get plenty of laughs.
Where The Lego Batman Movie fails to live up to The Lego Movie is in its actual plot. The focus of this story is Batman’s fear of belonging to a family again, which works for the film, but unfortunately it feels as if every other scene the film is reminding us of the lesson Batman’s supposed to and will eventually learn. A few too many times, the film puts a halt to its humor to once again remind us that Batman prefers being a loner. It’s great to have an actual message in a kids film, but that message is diluted when it’s so often re-iterated, often in no meaningful way.
I declare The Lego Batman Movie completely sane. While it’s not able to rise to the heights of The Lego Movie, it’s still an incredible look at such a beloved character. Any fan of the caped crusader will find something to absolutely love about this films, and fortunately the film itself is of great quality. With The Lego Ninjago Movie already being advertised, it looks like this series will continue to be far better than it has any right to be.