Tuesday, December 12, 2017
The Lego Batman Movie
Based on the characters from DC Comics and Lego Construction Toys, The Lego Batman Movie is an animated film in which Lego Batman is trying to defeat the Joker and other villains while dealing with his own fears when he finds himself adopting a young boy who would become his sidekick. Directed by Chris McKay and screenplay by Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, and John Whittington from a story by Grahame-Smith, the film is a comical take on the Batman story told through Legos as it’s a spin-off of the 2014 film The Lego Movie with Will Arnett reprising his role as Batman. Also starring Zach Galifianakis, Rosario Dawson, Michael Cera, and Ralph Fiennes as Alfred. The Lego Batman Movie is a fun and exhilarating film from Chris McKay.
The film follows the Caped Crusader who is once again battling the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) and his army of villains to save Gotham as he isn’t sure what to do next after the Joker suddenly surrenders to the Gotham’s new police commissioner in Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson). It’s a film in which Batman is forced to face his greatest fear as he refuses to believe that he can work with other people preferring to work by himself. The film’s screenplay explore Batman’s desire to be the hero of Gotham and his belief that he can do it himself yet he remains haunted by the fact that he lost his parents as a child and couldn’t cope with the idea of a family. Yet, at a gala to celebrate the retirement of Jim Gordon (Hector Elizondo) where they announce Gordon’s daughter Barbara as his replacement. Batman in his true identity as Bruce Wayne would meet a young orphan in Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) where he unknowingly adopts him. Adding to this is the fact that he would use Grayson to retrieve a weapon at the home of Superman (Channing Tatum) in the hopes he can get rid of the Joker but he is unaware of what the Joker is planning.
Chris McKay’s direction is definitely stylish as it play into this world where it all Legos and all of the characters are Legos while using references to all of the Batman films of the past. While McKay would use wide shots to get a look of Gotham as well as some extravagant action set pieces in which Batman would battle various villains. McKay would also utilize medium shots and close-ups to play into the humor and some of the drama as the latter relate to Batman’s issues over needing some companionship as the only person he has around him is his butler Alfred. McKay would infuse a lot of offbeat moments in the animation as well as footage of films such as the 1966 Batman film and Jerry Maguire with the latter being a film that Batman likes to watch. It’s among these moments that provide that heightened sense of entertainment as well as moments where Batman reluctantly makes Grayson his sidekick known as Robin.
The film also has McKay maintain a look that fit in towards every set piece and how the characters would build something through whatever Lego piece they can find. Helping McKay with the look is production designer Grant Freckelton in the way Gotham looks as well as Wayne Manor and what the Joker would do to it for its third act. The film’s third act doesn’t just feature Joker teaming up with various villains from other stories such as Gremlins, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and other franchises/films. It just adds to a climax that is crazy but also filled with a lot of humor and moments that aren’t afraid to be ridiculous. Overall, McKay creates a joyful and exuberant film about a vigilante struggling to deal with the idea of needing a family again.
Editors David Burrow, Matt Villa, and John Venzon do amazing work with the editing as it is stylish to play into the action without deviating too much into chaotic editing styles while playing up to the film’s humor with its approach to rhythmic cuts. Sound designer Wayne Pashley does brilliant work with the sound in creating some of the sound effects as well as how the voices matches up with whatever objects the characters are using to shoot. The film’s music by Lorne Balfe is fantastic for its orchestral-based score as it has a lot of bombast in the percussions and in the string arrangements while the soundtrack feature a lot of music from artists and acts like Patrick Stump, DNCE, Harry Nilsson, Wham!, Alesso with Tove Lo, Cutting Crew, Rick Astley, and Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine.
The casting by Mary Hidalgo is great as it feature notable small voice roles and appearances from Eddie Izzard as Lord Voldemort, Jermaine Clement as Sauron, Jonah Hill as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern, Channing Tatum as Superman, Adam DeVine as Barry Allen/the Flash, David Burrows as an anchorman and Mr. Freeze, Doug Benson as Bane, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Conan O’Brien as the Riddler, Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face, Jason Mantoukas as the Scarecrow, Riki Lindhome as Poison Ivy and Wicked Witch of the West, Seth Green as King Kong, Kate Micucci as Clayface, Mariah Carey as Mayor McCaskill, Lauren White as Chief O’Hara and Medusa, Susan Bennett as Batman’s computer, and Hector Elizondo as Gotham police commissioner Jim Gordon who retires and gives the job to his daughter. Jenny Slate is wonderful in her small voice role as Harley Quinn as the Joker’s girlfriend who would help him conspire his scheme to defeat Batman and destroy Gotham.
Ralph Fiennes is excellent as Alfred Pennyworth as Batman/Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler who is aware of Bruce’s reluctance to invite people into his life as he sees Dick as someone that could probably help Bruce. Rosario Dawson is brilliant as Barbara Gordon as Gotham’s new police commissioner who wants to make some changes as she hopes to rid Gotham of crime once and for all yet realizes how much she needs Batman to help achieve these ideas. Michael Cera is fantastic as Dick Grayson/Robin as an orphaned boy accidentally adopted by Bruce Wayne as he would become Batman’s sidekick where Cera brings in that sense of boyish energy that is needed to be Robin. Zach Galifianakis is amazing as the Joker where he provides a lot of wit and depth into the character as well as providing a complexity to the Joker as someone who just wants some respect from Batman and is willing to do anything to get that. Finally, there’s Will Arnett in an incredible voice performance as Batman/Bruce Wayne as the Caped Crusader who thinks he is cooler than everyone and doesn’t need anyone’s help but also has this torment inside over the idea of having a family again as it’s a very comical performance from Arnett.
The Lego Batman Movie is an awesome film from Chris McKay. Featuring some dazzling animation, some very funny and adventurous moments, and a lot of high-octane action. It’s a film that definitely manages to be something fans of Batman can enjoy as well as be something that is just pure fun for audiences of all ages. In the end, The Lego Batman Movie is a marvelous film from Chris McKay.
Related: The Lego Movie - (The Lego Ninjago Movie)
Batman Films: (Batman (1966 film)) – Batman (1989 film) - Batman Returns - Batman Forever - Batman & Robin - Batman Begins - The Dark Knight - The Dark Knight Rises - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - (Justice League)
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