When I reviewed the marketing campaign for The LEGO Batman Movie back in February I concluded that, despite whatever shortcomings the marketing might have, it was selling a fun movie. It was clear that the movie was going to be fast-paced, with rapid-fire jokes coming that would keep the audience engaged with the effects and the humor, even if the story itself wasn’t all that substantive. That is more or less exactly what the movie delivered.
The story, such as it is, follows Batman as he deals with just how amazing and awesome he is. As voiced by Will Arnett (who also pulled this duty for The LEGO Movie a couple years ago) he’s an egomaniac who refuses to partner with anyone and is convinced his way is always the right way. Through a series of circumstances revolving around his ongoing conflict with The Joker he winds up adopting a young boy and eventually begins to realize the power that comes with having friends, family and colleagues.
Really this is just the rough outline of a movie. There’s so little substance to the story it’s practically translucent. But it keeps moving so fast – literally, the camera movements look like it’s been attached to a ferret that’s running through a series of tubes – that it’s hard to catch up with just how ridiculous the whole endeavor is.
That’s not to say it’s not without charms. Arnett nails the character, which is a bit surprising as what worked well in small doses in The LEGO Movie could have quickly become annoying and over the top. And the jokes that play off previous incarnations of Batman as well as the character’s history in general all work.
Again, the main feature of the movie is that it keeps throwing new things at you, either visually or verbally. It’s designed for the shortest of short attention spans and keeps explaining things to the audience time and time again just in case you missed it the first seven or eight times. But it’s funny, with many genuine laughs that come from a clever script combined with Arnett’s spot-on delivery. There’s a lot here for fans of Batman in general and the LEGO franchise in particular.