Contributed by Levi Raab
The spinoff of 2014’s The Lego Movie was released on Friday (February 10), bringing Will Arnett’s pint-sized Dark Knight back to the big screen. If you enjoyed its predecessor, then you’ll probably enjoy The Lego Batman Movie as well, but there’s one disappointing aspect where it falls flat.
Without giving anything away, Lego Batman is about what you’d expect: more of the same style of humor as The Lego Movie, and that same wonderfully-detailed animation that’s just a joy to watch. There are so many little details, references, and Easter eggs packed into the backgrounds alone on this movie that makes it impossible to catch them all in one viewing. The Lego Universe’s Gotham even features a building that looks straight out of Tim Burton’s Batman, just one of many visual callbacks to other DC films. Batman, DC, and comic fans will all appreciate the callbacks to Batman’s past, especially when it comes to the inclusion of the wackier rogues in the Caped Crusader’s gallery, like Egghead and even Condiment King.
As fun and funny as the movie is, there’s one thing that holds it back, and like too many other movies, it’s how Lego Batman treats its female characters. In a largely male-dominated cast, there are only two female characters with large speaking parts: Barbara Gordon and Harley Quinn. Which isn’t to say the movie’s lacking women, they’re certainly there with characters like Gotham’s mayor and many of the rogue’s gallery being women (there’s even a gender-swapped Clayface). The problem is (as mentioned here by Gail Simone) that the women don’t get to be as funny as the men. Barbara’s a strong character, with a no-nonsense by the book personality fitting her role as Gotham’s police commissioner, but rarely gets any really funny dialogue the way the male characters round her do. Not even Harley Quinn, whose usual brand of humor seems like it’d fit perfectly in place with a Lego movie, has any particularly funny dialogue or memorable lines. It’s a trend seen far too often to not let the women in a movie be as funny as the men, and The Lego Batman Movie certainly isn’t immune to it.
Despite that, Lego Batman still packs in plenty of fun for the whole Bat-family, with a third act twist that only a Lego movie could make work and proves to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of the film.