Putting the silly in superhero

By Chris Sanchez

sanchezch@mnstate.edu

In “The Lego Batman Movie,” everything is pretty awesome—for the most part.

Our favorite caped crusader Batman, aka Bruce Wayne (Will Arnett), reprises his role from 2014’s “The Lego Movie.” He deals with criminals left and right in Gotham City.

Bruce Wayne is a lonely, secluded billionaire living in his isolated fortress. He’s self-obsessed, and in this film, he doesn’t take anything in life very seriously. It’s no surprise that he’s not loved by the folks of Gotham City.

Director Chris McKay has taken what we’ve known about the infamous vigilante and made a super-hyperactive version, resulting in the funniest and most enjoyable Batman film to date.

The kick-ass opening sells it right away. In it, Batman fights a billion different villains, including the Condiment King (yes, that’s a real villain, look it up) and his arch-nemesis, the Joker (Zach Galifianakis), in an archaic battle that involves a musical number and the citizens of Gotham singing his praise. That’s totally normal, right?

In this alternate universe it is, because in “The Lego Batman Movie,” McKay makes a sugar-rush parody of the beloved superhero, contrasting the overly drab and bleak depiction of the dark hero under Christopher Nolan. So if you were as disheartened by last year’s “Batman vs. Superman” as I was, this is the perfect antidote.

Superheroes can be silly and lighthearted, and “The Lego Batman Movie” makes use of that in the best way possible. On top of all the chaos Batman causes, he accidently adopts a local orphan boy (Michael Cera), who is also Batman’s biggest fan. He then deals with the replacement of head commissioner Gordon for his daughter (Rosario Dawson), who wants to change Gotham for the better. This includes not wanting the caped crusader fighting for Gotham anymore, since many criminals are still wreaking havoc in the city.

The film makes full use of the Warner Bros. copyright logos and enterprises, such as the barrage of villans that appear throughout the film from enormously popular franchises. The slew of iconic monsters and villains that appear are often funny, but they do become distracting after a while. Like “The Lego Movie,” the visual jokes and gags come so fast and furious that sometimes they might go over a viewer’s head, so repeated viewings of this film may be necessary to pick up everything that wasn’t caught the first time around.

However, “The Lego Batman Movie” is still fun to watch. The gags and pop culture references are hilarious throughout. Even though this film isn’t as visually innovative or as emotionally resonant as its predecessor, there is enough visual delight and wonder to keep audiences interested for its taut 100-minute runtime.

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