Movie Review: The Lego Batman Movie

“Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman.”

– Batman –

To me the authentic Batman is Christian Bale. Val Kilmer and George Clooney didn’t impress me much. Ben Affleck was just not right. I was happy when Ben Affleck was reported to drop the role of Batman later after Justice League is launching. My daughter asked me if we could go watch The Lego Batman Movie this weekend, and I said yes. We went to the cinema this Saturday right after lunch. It’s been months since the last time we watched movie in a theater. We’re a bit concerned that Sky wouldn’t enjoy the show like the last time, but this time he apparently did enjoy it.

Two sentences that crossed my mind after I watched this movie:

  1. This movie is hilarious.
  2. This movie is not for children.

From the poster and the quote above I can say that Batman in LEGO movie was a narcissistic, self-oriented person. He also had an illusion of grandeur tossed in the plate. From the beginning of the movie I could tell that he’s so full of himself, of his capacity, of his capability, of his being Batman. And at the same time, he’s being lonely. It’s shown from the moment he landed on Batcave, walking down the runway citing the password “Ironman sucks” as he went farther inside the cave. It’s shown from the moment he was waiting for the microwave to heat his lobster. It’s obvious from his facial expression when he found Superman was partying with the other heroes from the Justice League. It’s shown from the second “Jerry Maguire” movie displayed on his big-but-empty personal cinema. It’s supposed to be a sad scene, but I was rolling with laughter the minute I saw Tom Cruise saying “you complete me”, and then the camera moved to Batman’s pathetic face. I found it funny that this simple scene described Batman’s longing for a relationship more than words could.

Batman was one lonely man, people. And he’s too afraid and proud to admit it.

I like Alfred who became someone to talk some sense into Batman when he needed it. His alter identity as Batman is a refuge for Bruce Wayne to ease his guilt because he didn’t die that night along with his parents. His being vigilante is his way to show his gratitude of still being alive and to stop other children to become an orphan like he did. In his ways of fighting crime, he didn’t seem to care about destroying so many buildings and cities (just like The Avengers did). In most part of the movies, he cared only about himself. His caring towards Robin didn’t happen as smooth as I thought it would. But yeah, you know how tough times often bring people together.

Batman’s friend-enemy relationship with Joker was the one that got me thinking of dependency among human beings. In the rare case of Batman and Joker, this saying might work: I exist because you exist. If Joker hadn’t existed, Batman wouldn’t have been needed. If Joker was not the most notorious bad guy in Gotham, Commissioner Gordon and his team might have been able to catch him by themselves, and it led to Batman not being needed. Joker’s demand to be recognized as Batman’s worst enemy was somehow sick. It’s like needing the approval of other party to just simply exist in this world, and it doesn’t feel right. It shouldn’t be like that. What I perceived from Joker’s cry for recognition was that Joker was a lonely man, just like Batman.

Let’s wrap this note by counting the scenes/lines I found hilarious:

  1. Batman speaking in slang. From saying “commiss” instead of “commissioner” Barbara Gordon, to saying “puter” for “computer” (I found it more memorable to say it that way instead of “Jarvis” for Ironman’s backup computer).
  2. The references to Batman movies/TV shows in previous years, going back really far into the 1960’s. Alfred made a point of how he came from a different generation from Bruce by putting in the Batman costume from this era. Not to mention the sounds of punches which were materialized into words whenever Batman and Robin were in the fights. My siblings and I were loyal viewers of Batman TV series with that feature. We were adoring that show, and now we cringe because of what we thought was cool is actually very corny, ha-ha.
  3. Batman’s enthusiasm for music. From DJ-ing, metal, electric guitar, disco, up to beat boxing, this guy is an enthusiast for music from all genres. Kudos.
  4. The time when Batman and his team (later on joined by Joker and his team) took off the hair parts and stuck their heads together to join the cracking streets of Gotham. They made bridges out of their heads and feet, for goodness sake. It just pinpoints the basic idea of LEGO bricks: sticking different parts to make something meaningful and useful.
  5. The time when Alfred read a book in his car while waiting for Batman doing some actions, about setting the boundaries for children, and he followed it up by time-outing Batman. He was disciplining Batman. He acted as Bruce’s surrogate father, not merely his head-butler. Alfred was just awesome.

Why is this movie not for children?

  1. The humors are dark and this movie uses references to popular culture in the last three decades. I think audience in their 30’s can relate best with the content of this movie, but not young children.
  2. The codependent and coexisting relationship between Batman and Joker is quite hard to grasp. I asked my daughter if she understood anything that’s going on between Batman and Joker. And she said she only understood that Batman made Joker feel sad. She didn’t understand that Joker was sad because Batman thought he was not significant enough for Batman.

All in all, it’s an entertaining movie. From all superhero movies I’ve been watching since early 2016 until now, I must say that for me this movie is the best of all (followed by “The Antman”. Can’t wait for its sequel this year!). It’s something I didn’t expect from a supposedly children movie. I would definitely love to watch this movie again, but perhaps without the kids around.

 

 

 

 

 

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