Sunday, February 26, 2017

Theatrical Review: Lego Batman

Date: Sunday February 19 2017
Time: 12:10pm
Party: 3 (mom sister and I)
Director: Chris McKay (of "Robot Chicken" fame)
Notable Cast:
Batman- Will Arnett
Robin- Michael Cera
Barbara Gordon- Rosario Dawson
Alfred- Ralph Fiennes
The Joker- Zach Galifianakis

Opening comments 

Who knew that the Lego movie would be so huge that it'd warrant a batman spin-off that won over the box office in its first week (now second week)?
It got such rave reviews- certainly more than the past few solo batman movies.
The theater wasn't as full as I thought it'd be with the amount of cars in the parking lot. But a good number of people- mostly moms and younger kids.
Yeah they've had several commercials for "Beauty and the Beast" (and I'm equally excited every time) but it was kind of a letdown that it was the teaser trailer again. Not quite as appetizing as it was the first few times. March needs to get here like now.
The main event 
Yeah I'm not going to go into too much detail about it, but for the first half hour, it felt over hyped. 
Batman kinda did what Deadpool did in his movie- breaking the 4th wall- but to the extreme. From the very beginning, talking us through the opening credits. Batman is so into the character of Batman you kinda gotta wonder about his sanity a bit.
It starts with this big elaborate heist with all the villains led by the Joker that Batman somehow thwarts. But you get to know the man behind the mask (he's rarely without it in this movie) and how deep down he's lonely but is afraid of his own feelings (and snake clowns apparently).
Things are changing in Gotham with Barbara Gordon taking over for commissioner James Gordon (her father) and wanting to reform Gotham's actions against crime. Batman unwittingly takes in Dick Grayson. And even though the Joker surrenders himself (along with 99% of the other villains) there's obviously something afoot. Otherwise it wouldn't be much of a movie.
Batman takes a long time but he eventually does change and accepts that he can't do this alone and that he needs other people in his life. 
The Joker recruits so many different villains it's hard to keep track of them all (and I don't want to spoil how bizarre a lot of them are since they're not exactly from the same realm of fantasy). But the second half is definitely better than the first. It doesn't get nearly as insane as what they did with the Lego Movie and it makes about as much sense (which is still very little) but sometimes you just have to sit back and go with it.
There were a lot of great jokes (once the movie stopped taking itself so seriously) and it got lots of different laughs. Some were great adult jokes without being raunchy. (One of the villains being named Condiment-man is debatable). Like one part where the computer reads off the emails he has and one was a newsletter from bed bath and beyond. (That got a laugh out of one of the 40-somethings in the crowd).

The cast itself... Will Arnett does the whole Bat-voice and is totally into his character. He's great at what he does here, but it wears out its welcome for me and took a while to win me back.
Michael Cera- I hadn't seen since the year I saw "Scott Pilgrim" and a bunch of his other movies. He's really good at the orphaned Robin character. Ralph Fiennes is interesting as Alfred- a good interesting. It's different from his typical work.
And Zach Galifianakis is the perfect Joker in this. He's brilliant and should really do voiceover work more often.

Other comments I can add...
I liked the use of music in this. I mean, there's no original songs that are as catchy as "Everything Is Awesome" but they're not bad. Yet I remember more that they liked to play "I just died in your arms tonight" by the Cutting Crew whenever Bruce Wayne/Batman sees Barbara Gordon (ok, only twice... but I love that song... I remember loving it when I was a kid because I picked out by the instrumentals that it was from the 80's... the best decade of music in my opinion).
Then Robin had a scene where he wanted to pick a theme song for them to kick butt and fight crime. Including "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley (one of my many favorite 80's songs... and I have dozens :P) and "Fly Robin Fly."
Batman was certainly a fan of heavy metal and beatboxing.
But I also didn't appreciate the fact the code to the Bat-Cave is "Iron-Man Sucks"...

like, HELL NO!
I can only hope that they don't try to reincarnate Iron-Man as many times as they did with Superman and Batman, trying to recapture the lightning in a bottle they had with Michael Keaton and Christopher Reeve.
And for me, it's kinda at the point where I want RDJ to have more creative freedom in his career, so the sooner he stops being Tony Stark/Iron-Man, the sooner he can get that Oscar he deserved years ago for "Tropic Thunder" (yeah... never letting that go).

Grade: B+
(yeah, all the hype it got from the critics kinda ruined it for me... not to mention "Deadpool" kinda beat Batman to this type of movie and he did it a lot better...
I may add "Suicide Squad"  to the list as well, but I gotta see the movie first. And we do have the DVD in the house. Just waiting for dad to get home so we can watch it together... it was his idea).

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