Here’s a fun little fact: Batman is the most adapted comic book hero. He’s appeared on our screens so much it’s easy to forget that most of the time, he’s normally drawn with a pen. From Adam West’s groovy moves in a costume that looked as if it were falling off, to Batfleck’s abstinance of the peaceful approach, preferring to kill things rather than talk morals, we’ve had all kinds of Batmen.
With so many different versions of the dark knight, it’s easy to overlook or disregard some. For instance, no-one talks about Batman Forever anymore – everyone has seen it, but I’ve heard more people debating whether bat-nipples actually happened than why on everything sacred someone cast Jim Carrey as The Riddler.
Getting to the point, Batman is a household name in the medium of film as well as in the comic world. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about the newest addition to the bats on the big screen in The Lego Batman movie. Firstly, if you like anything about Batman at all, SEE THIS FILM. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll realise kids films have got way more balls nowadays. So, what’s so great about it?
It’s a Batman film as much as it is a Lego film
Making a film that stars an all Lego made cast; setting it in an all Lego world; making overt references to how Lego works, and producing Lego toys based on your Lego film, might lead people to suspect that you’re trying to plug something. But because of the character of Batman, it actually shows that you’re making a very clever, self-aware piece. The scenes with Batman building gadgets out of nothing seem to parody the fact that Batman does have a gadget for every situation.
Remember the oceanic life repellent? Or how about in the Dark Knight where it’s incredibly lucky he thought to build a motorbike in his tank? So this trope in the form of Lego matches up wonderfully.We also have the focus on Batman and The Joker’s relationship, something the films haven’t really touched upon yet. Of course, we’ve had many jokers, but unfortunately none have lasted more than one film so there’s not been any real time to build anything. Lego doesn’t have this problem because it’s certainly not going for realism so there’s no need to give any kind of back-story. And because this is not only a Batman film, but also a comedy film, we get to see that famous frenemy relationship in a hilarious new light.
It has the most loving portrayal of Robin
It’s no secret that the number one spot of the geekiest hero belongs to Robin. He’s just such a weird concept – well actually, he isn’t…well he shouldn’t be. A young sidekick to a famous hero is a pretty normal idea, but in Robin’s case, things just seem to have never gone right. Even if we try and remove the exclaiming Burt Ward stereotype from our heads, Robin can never really be elevated to a great character. They even tried to make him Batman-esque by making him Nightwing, but come on, he’ll never be Batman.
Lego however, go a different way. Instead of corny, they go for cute. Instead of dark, they go for naive. They even go one further than previous films in fact as they don’t even make him whinging brat like in Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. He spends the entire film in awe of being Batman, but in the end, just like the caped crusader, he just wants to feel loved and accepted. And [spoilers], it’s through Robin that the incredibly self-centered and stubborn Batman of the Lego world completes his arc. He’s pivotal to the film, and how many times can even the comic book fans say that about the Boy Wonder.
The Easter Eggs
Easter eggs are always fun, whether they’re made of delicious chocolate, or just as sweet references, and Lego media has always been fantastic at the latter. I remember the games being legendary for them, so it makes sense that a Lego film wouldn’t be any different. There is however one easter egg that I want to highlight properly.
Amongst the numerous villains included in this flick, we have Two-Face. And his appearance here happens to be based on an unlikely portrayal, and that’s Billy Dee Williams’ (yes Lando) version of the character from Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film. See, the funny thing about Williams’ Harvey Dent was that he never actually became Two-Face. I mean, it was obvious that’s where Burton was probably going to take it because, you don’t just throw in Two-Face and not use him and some point. But it never came to be, and Williams was only given half a piece of cake and it’s such a shame because like Nicholson’s Joker, I imagine we would have seen something unique. In this case, a suave and sophisticated maniac with an emphasis on both, because that’s what Tim Burton loves to do. But in Lego Batman we get a fully Lando inspired Two-Face who also happens to be voiced by the man himself.
After all these years, he finally got that whole piece.
Barbara is a boss
While a comic book fan might be able to name you hundreds of female superheroes, but when it comes to the big screen, they’re incredibly rare. Even moving away from solo ventures, female superheroes never really get the love and respect that many male superheroes would (think of that as you will, I’m not trying to get political but it’s unfortunately the truth however you look at it), especially not Batman anyway. Oh, they’ve tried – in Batman’s case we got a bratty Batgirl in Batman and Robin, and a pretty crap Catwoman film – not forgetting that character’s kinda forgettable portrayal in The Dark Knight Rises. As you can guess, none of them were that brill. But then we have Lego Batman’s version of Barbara Gordon, and it’s a bloody good one. Not only is she strong hearted; she’s witty, considerate and brave; she could clear a room full of baddies just as quickly as Batman, and probably batter him while she’s at it. Rosario Dawson does a fantastic job bringing a level of maturity to a character who I know for a fact has been portrayed as a naive young gal many times before, so combining her with the character was a really great choice. Plus, it’s so nice to see Barb get the love she deserves as to my knowledge, she’s the only comic character I can think of that has two different super-hero personas. One of those personas by the way, is a wheelchair bound hacker so yeah, go on Barb!
I know there’s a new Batman film on the horizon, but I don’t think The Lego Batman movie fill fall into obscurity any time soon, because it truly is something special. It gives way more than you would expect a film of its caliber, and it left me incredibly surprised at how leveled and amazingly crafted it was.
Here’s to more films following this BestAtTeamwork-man!