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Review: Lego Batman The Movie

Updated on January 5, 2018
Jonathan Sabin profile image

Jonathan has been writing since 1995 about various topics, from movie reviews, works of fiction and media commentaries to Bible sermons.

Fun, but a step down from its' predecessor

Three years after The Lego Movie was released in 2014, Warner Bro.'s offers, not a sequel, but more of a spin-off starring one of it's most popular supporting
characters: Batman. This time around, Batman must thwart the Joker's jealous
scheme to lead an attack on Gotham, releasing a slew of villains and bad guys (all from Warner Brothers properties, of course) from the phantom zone. When this place was first introduced, it seemed visually similar to the portal to the real world in the basement from the first movie. In fact, they even showed a clip from The Lego Movie of Emmet falling into it, so it seemed a given that it would in some way relate to that plot element. This ends up not being the case, and instead it's more of a dreary Tartarus for bad guys. Batman was the source of many rapid-fire laughs in the first film, (i.e. his inordinate ego, his ignorant treatment of his girlfriend, his self-
proclaimed "art" in the form of a blatantly lame heavy-metal song, etc.). These
elements definitely carry over into the second film, but are less concentrated and overshadowed by a more dramatic sub-plot about Batman facing his fears,
accepting help from others, showing love and giving commendation, all while being
guided by his butler & getting to know and work with his unexpectedly adopted son. The first Lego movie was fast-paced for a reason: it was loaded with not only plot detail but much societal commentary and satire, not just surface humor. The Lego Batman Movie too was fast-paced, but largely due to some repetitive, frenetic action sequences that could have been prioritized and further edited, playing to the story's strengths. Visually, the film was in the same style as the first movie, save for a certain stylistic choice, namely: The first Lego movie had the characters' movements largely restricted to what would be physically possible with an actual Lego mini figure. In this movie it's almost the same, except there are many instances of arms conveniently disconnecting to strike an impossible pose or necks raising and even tilting a little bit. Personally I prefer the former, but opinions vary. Otherwise, the animation was just as stunning, with that same photorealistic quality including the fine matte texture on certain Lego pieces, coupled with low frame rates on most character movements, leading to the illusion that you're watching a stop-motion animated film made with real Legos. Viewed in 3D it's a real visual treat, some of the best shots being whole rooms where the floor lines up with the bottom of the screen and recedes from there into positive parallax, making it look like a real diorama within the screen. All in all, while The Lego Batman Movie wasn't as, uh "awesome" as it's predecessor, it's a solid movie in it's own right and could have been better with a little tightening up.
- 3 stars out of 5

Now available on Blu-ray 3D. (It is also available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, but you should know that no animated film has ever been rendered in 4K due to hardware limitations, so it's an upscale. 3D is the true native format.)

Buy it on Blu-ray 3D combo pack


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