I haven’t posted in over six months, making this my longest stretch of silence yet. The reason is that I have been extremely busy without a lot to blog about. But this is me; if a movie based on the Lego brand can’t get me back here, what could?
You may recall that two years ago, I got to see an advance screening of The LEGO Movie (and then got interviewed about it on TV). Well, I got the same invite to go see The LEGO Batman Movie, and I took Intern #2 with me as she lives and breathes Batman. (I exaggerate, but only slightly.) My expectations were higher than what I had for the original film, but here’s the short review: my expectations were still exceeded.
Don’t worry. This review is spoiler-free.
Unlike the first film, this one doesn’t depend heavily on it being about sentient minifigures in a Lego world. That doesn’t mean that it’s just an animated film with oddly-shaped people, just that the storyline doesn’t center around manipulating bricks. It does carry over, however; I was afraid they wouldn’t do much with the Master Builder plot device from The LEGO Movie, but they actually play it straight. Most of the minifigures are completely unaware of the nature of their world, just like in The LEGO Movie. Batman is one of the few, as is apparently Alfred. Most of the other minifigures take it in stride when Batman manipulates his environment to make a vehicle, but enough is there that I feel like it’s working in-universe as a partial sequel.
It’s not a true sequel, though, because it remains in the Batman setting. It ventures out into some larger DC universe elements, and a few things are brought in from other settings (not saying any more about that), but the plot remains centered on Batman.
And that plot isn’t revealed in the trailers, either. It’s something I was a bit concerned about, as I’ve seen other movies take a funny secondary character, especially one that was funny due to shock value the way Batman was in the first film, and completely fail at trying to get something good out of making that character the star. But not only did this movie succeed at the comedy, it also succeeded at making it an excellent story. I’m not going to give away the plot here, but I was able to quiz Intern #2 on it later and turn it into a lesson plan.
Er . . . I swear, that’s more fun than I just made it sound. No, really. Ask her.
The final thing to mention is that when you see this movie, be prepared for an onslaught of references. You will see references that you may not get. Intern #2 got more than I did, since she’s very knowledgeable about this particular fandom; but I still got a lot, and I could tell there were more that I missed. For one thing, I didn’t even know there was a 1940s live-action Batman to reference in the first place. Intern #2 did, though. She had trouble breathing because she was laughing so hard.
Even if you’re not dedicated Batman fan, this movie is worth seeing. If you’re a Batman fan but not into Lego, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. And if you’re worried about going to see a kid’s movie . . . just know I’m silently judging you, and Batman won’t share his lobster thermidor, and Superman won’t put you on his email list either.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to jump back into work, and maybe carve out some time to go see this movie again when it comes out this weekend.