Possibly the greatest Batman movie ever, The Lego Batman Movie both an homage and a parody to DC Comic’s most enduring superhero.
While thwarting his arch rival’s latest scheme to destroy Gotham City, Batman deeply wounded the feelings of Joker by telling the latter he is not as important as he thinks he is. To seek revenge, Joker convinces all other villains in Gotham to surrender at a winter gala. This, coupled with the new police commissioner’s intention to restructure the force without the involvement of Batman soon puts the dark knight in a job crisis. Aware that the surrender is another nefarious scheme of Joker, Batman then steals Superman’s Phantom Zone Projector, intending to banish Joker and his lot to the prison dimension. He doesn’t realise that by doing so, he plays right into Joker’s hand. To win, he would have to rely on the combined help of his closest allies.
As a kid, I disliked Batman. Sorry to say this, but I thought he was really lame. Other than having no superpowers, he was always so hapless and campy in the 60s series and in Superfriends. After I got older, though, the Batman persona began to appeal more and more, thanks to updated, more sophisticated storytelling. What fascinated me most was not so much the whole damaged psyche backstory or his incredible detective skills, but the many story possibilities hinted at regularly.
Things like, what exactly is Bats’ relationship with all his Robins? All his boys.
Is Bats as obsessed with the Joker as the Joker is with him?
Wouldn’t the Gotham police detest Batman for showing how badly they sucked are at their jobs?
And so on.
The Lego Batman Movie answers all these possibilities in one grandiose swoop, spinning a story so hilarious at the same time you would be grinning non-stop from start to end. The Batman portrayed here is the one so many of us have long suspected him to be. Hopelessly vain, egotistical, and at the heart of everything, just an insecure rich kid who never grew out of his misery. (Or his toys) To sustain the joy and humour, practically every minute of the movie is spiced by a tasty cameo, a turkey egg, or an outrageous proclamation by Bats. The effect is just incredible. While it ought to feel messy or over-the-top, one never loses track of the story or feel bloated. The colourful, brick-y world sucks you in like a vortex. You’d be cheering for every character. Yes, including the adorable villains.
And the cameos! From Superfriends, to Voldemort, to versions of Batman from over 70 years. On the last bit, The Lego Batman Movie is both an homage to and a parody of these historical versions, and for me, this willingness to laugh at these versions is easiest what’s most lovable about this movie. It also makes it possibly also the best Batman movie ever.
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