Posts Tagged ‘Lego Movie’

Lego Batman is a spinoff from the 2014 Lego movie (which featured Batman), and has a surprising level of introspection into the Batman character.

It’s a very meta film, with Batman’s voice talking over the opening credits, remarking how cool movies start in black with ominous music, going on to comment on the Warner Brother’s and DC logos. The opening scene offers more self-awareness as its remarked that a plane with a ton of explosives is flying over a city (Gotham) with an extremely high crime rate. Naturally the Joker hijacks the plane, but the pilot is not scared of the Joker at all, as he remarks all the times Batman has stopped him (actually referencing the Dark Knight film as well as Tim Burton’s first Batman film). When asked what to do, Commissioner Gordon says out loud that they’ll do the only thing they ever do, which is turn on the Bat-signal. Naturally Batman saves the day. Joker gets away, but Batman is greeted with his usual hero’s welcome. Batman soon returns to his Bat-cave, as a journalists comments that Batman will probably go home and have a big party with all his friends.

This leads to some surprisingly quiet and mundane moments. Batman goes home to his mansion, puts some lobster in the microwave, and eats by himself. Watching the “You complete me” scene from Jerry McGuire he cracks up laughing, he finds it hilarious. His butler Alfred eventually shows up, and we immediately get the surrogate father/son relationship between the two. Batman acts like a spoiled child, while Alfred tells him that he needs friends.

Lego Batman’s central theme is Batman learning that he needs other people, and also explores what Batman fears the most, along with the concept of a sidekick, his relationship with the law, and Batman’s relationship with the Joker. In fact, it is a breakthrough in that relationship that leads to the resolution at the film’s climax.

Without giving major spoilers, early on in the movie, Joker outsmarts Batman by actually surrendering. Joker knows being locked up at Arkham won’t be enough for Batman, and this knowledge moves the plot. Along the way Joker teams up with villains from various media, including Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter, King Kong, the Kraken, Dracula, Sauron from Lord of the Rings, the Gremlins, and the Daleks from Dr. Who, which are referred to as British robots. I wonder if they weren’t allowed to use the name Daleks or something.

Batman villains aren’t lacking however, we get the traditional rogues gallery of Catwoman, the Riddler, etc, but also a bunch of obscure ones. The Joker breaks the fourth wall telling us that all these characters, no matter how ridiculous (Condiment Man) are real characters, and actually encourages us to Google them.

Lego Batman is the kind of movie you’ll want to get on DVD and pause a million times to get all the Easter eggs. I doubt any movie ever had more Easter eggs than this. I believe there are references to every live action Batman appearance (including the 1940’s serials), as well as nods to the animated series of the 90’s and Batman Beyond, and nods to various comic books like The Dark Knight Returns. There’s a ton of references to the Batman Adam West TV show of the 1960’s. Actual villains from the show like King Tut and Egg Head appear, there’s more than one reference to the Bat-Shark Repellent, and there’s even actual footage of the series shown.

Given the plot, I was hoping Batman would team up with heroes from other media. This didn’t happen, but there is an appearance by Superman and the Justice League. In their segment we get both musical and visual nods to the first two Christopher Reeve Superman movies, and we see a bunch of obscure characters from the old Super Friends cartoon.

Personally, one of my big nerd fantasies is a story/a world with characters from  various media, comics, TV, film, video games, etc. all together. The Lego film series may be the closest I come to seeing this. It’s nice to have various references to things in film, but things like that don’t matter unless the movie is good. Given it’s a kids movie, Lego Batman is infinitely better than it needed to be. It is a very poignant examination of the Batman character and the tropes that surround it. Honestly, Lego Batman may be the best Batman movie there is.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Lego movie is a CGI film from Warner Brothers based on the toy building blocks of the same name. The story is about a Lego builder man named Emmet who lives a completely ordinary life as a construction worker. He follows his daily instructions on how to live a happy life. His favorite song is the pop hit “Everything is Awesome,” and his favorite TV show is the popular “Where’s my pants?” He works as a construction worker demolishing buildings that aren’t built according to instructions/that are weird, and rebuilding them the right way.

One day he meets a woman named Wyldstyle, and accidentally finds a mythical piece of resistance.The piece of resistance is said to be able to stop President Business, who rules the world they live in. President Business believes in order and everything being in it’s proper place, and secretly has a plan to keep things in permanent order. Wyldstyle and Emmet join the Master Builders, a group of characters that can build anything without needing instructions, and try to stop President Business.

So the central conflict is between structure and spontaneity, however it’s not cut and dry. The disadvantages of 100% spontaneity are hinted at, and Emmet realizes that victory can only come about through a balance between the two. Some interesting philosophy from a movie one can dismiss as a mere toy commercial.

At the end of the movie you find out what’s really going on and it’s very meta. The animation is great and it’s a highly enjoyable movie.

One of the coolest things about the Lego movie is all the licensed characters that appear. Warner Brothers’ DC comics characters appear, Batman having a supporting role. One of the funniest and surprising moments came with the arrival of Star Wars characters Han Solo and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon. We see Star Wars characters on screen with DC comics characters, and the crossover potential for future installments is huge. The characters that appear are as follows;

DC comics characters Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern.

Michelangelo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Gandalf from Lord of the Rings

Dumbledore from Harry Potter

Milhouse from the Simpsons

From history Abraham Lincoln and William Shakespeare

Pop culture, Shaq, the Statue of Liberty

Then there’s more generic characters like Mermaids, Knights, and Cowboys.

Here’s to future installments.