THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE: 7 out of 10 (The Laughs Connect)
The makers of THE LEGO MOVIE are back, and though this next film isn't quite the same experience, there is still a lot here to enjoy. THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE is directed by Chris McKay and written by Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern and John Whittington. This film chooses to focus on the DC Comics character Batman. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, writers and directors of the original film, this time are back as producers. The movie stars the voices of Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson and Ralph Fiennes.
During a mission to prevent The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) from destroying Gotham City, Batman (Will Arnett) hurts his arch-rival's feelings by telling him he is not as important in his life as Superman or Bane. The following day, Batman attends the city's winter gala as his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, to celebrate the retirement of Commissioner Gordon (Héctor Elizondo) and the ascension of his daughter Barbara (Rosario Dawson) as Gotham's new police commissioner. But when Bruce hears of the new crime-fighting plans for the city that doesn't include him, and The Joker arrives with a new nefarious plan, Batman is forced to consider if his own crime-fighting methods are what Gotham needs.
Like its predecessor, THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE is chock-full of pop culture references, jokes, and even several allusions to previous iterations of the Caped Crusader himself. The jokes come at a frenetic pace, and the film really cooks for about an hour. Unfortunately, the film moves into a story arc that isn't very interesting at all and falls into a very stale format with the theme of friends=family. (Isn't that the theme in every movie marketed to kids under 12 these days?) The ending goes in another way altogether than I think the audience might have enjoyed more, and the climax is inexplicably dumb. For all the crime-fighting and good v. evil that the movie sets up, there isn't much of a payoff. The bottom line is that this movie has enough narrative for about an hour but stretches it far too thin over the course of the movie.
That isn't to say the movie doesn't entertain. Any movie that can dig deep enough to reference GYMKATA gets a recommend from me. THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE will certainly satisfy those looking for a great family film, and the adult set will find plenty to chuckle at, at least in the first half. But at a running time of 1 hour and 46 minutes, the pacing and non-stop hyper visuals may have the older set needing a nap afterwards.