The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)

The LEGO Batman Movie
Director: Chris McKay
Writer: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, John Whittington
Based on: Bob Kane‘s and Bill Finger‘s comics character
Cast: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate, Jason Mantzoukas, Conan O’Brien, Doug Benson, Billy Dee Williams, Zoë Kravitz, Kate Micucci, Riki Lindhome, Eddie Izzard, Seth Green, Jemaine Clement, Ellie Kemper, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Adam Devine, Hector Elizondo, Mariah Carey
(I saw the dubbed German version, though.)
Seen on: 9.2.2017

Bruce Wayne aka Batman (Will Arnett) leads a rather lonely existence. Between beating up criminals like the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) and eating lobster thermidor prepared by his trusted butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), he spends most of his time alone and in pain at the memory of the family he lost. But things change rapidly when Bruce not only accidentally adopts an orphan (Michael Cera), but the Joker and pretty much the entire league of supervillains surrender themselves to Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) who just proposed a new approach to crime for the police. But there must be something behind that surrender and Bruce has to find out.

The Lego Batman Movie is a celebration and parody of all things Batman and more. It’s as funny as it is nonsensical, and yet it manages to say more about the character Batman than more serious adaptations have managed. But at its heart, there is not much behind the jokes.

I already very much enjoyed The Lego Movie‘s take on Batman, and so I thought it was absolutely lovely that they made a spin-off that focuses on him entirely. It’s obviously a parody of the character, but it’s one that comes from a place of love for Batman, even when he is grumpy and gloomy and a little ridiculous. But that’s simply Batman, too.

It’s also pretty much a non-stop firing of jokes from practically all corners of humor-land: we got slapstick, meta-jokes, puns, running gags, one-liners, pop-culture references everywhere and more. Not all of those jokes work equally well (and what works best for you will probably depend on the individual in the end), but it’s almost impossible that there isn’t something there that will make you laugh.

Personally what I thought particularly well-done and examined in a way that the other Batman films didn’t dare so far was Batman’s relationship with the Joker. Basically the set-up for many a fan-fiction that pairs the two together romantically, this Lego version dares to apprach the homoerotic potential in these two characters and their obsession with each other. It doesn’t actually go all the way there, but it takes quite a few steps in that direction anyway. Plus, with Barbara Gordon’s criticism of Batman and his lack of structural changes they touch on one of the biggest problems of that character per se (they just don’t go anywhere with it). That way, they do manage to get something new from the character.

But mostly The Lego Batman Movie is ramped up nonsense. It’s pretty entertaining and it can probably be re-watched a couple of times before it gets boring because it’s crammed so full with everything but while I did enjoy myself, I did not love the film enough to feel a huge urge to do so.

Summarizing: Funny enough.

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