Satirical Humour in The Lego Batman Movie

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

SOURCE: Warner Bros

It seems like this current wave of super hero blockbusters has been going on for an eternity, with multiple big budget films coming out each year. For the past couple of years the whole concept of super hero films has been boring me more and more, in much the same way zombie media did before that. The last film I can really say I enjoyed from the genre was Guardians of the Galaxy, and even that was more sci-fi and felt inherently different than other Marvel films. Well this past week I got to go see The Lego Batman Movie and that felt different in another way that felt like a catharsis for the character of Batman.



In 2014 The Lego Movie gave birth to a brand new film franchise born from a diverse and impossible creative source, Lego. And really it is a superb money making idea, with already developed merchandise, a huge cast of characters, settings and an infinite ability to cross over stories. The Lego Batman Movie is the second film in what I imagine to be called the Lego cinematic universe, with many of their characters reprising the roles from The Lego Movie.

Will Arnett plays Batman, who in this version is seen as a narcissistic, selfish and ultimately lonely character. While Zach Galifianakis as Joker is desperately trying to get Batman to confess that he is in fact Batman's Arch Enemy. To do this Joker masterminds a plot to force batman to admit this while unleashing terror onto Gotham City. With both Batman and Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon competing to foil Jokers plans. While the B-plot focuses around Dick - played by Michael Cera - an overenthusiastic orphan boy who Bruce Wayne accidentally adopts and eventually becomes the new Robin. 

SOURCE: Warner Bros [via. YouTube]

As well as just being a fun film the whole family can enjoy, The Lego Batman Movie also acts as a satire of the superhero genre and the character of Batman particularly. For many years Batman has been stuck in the mode of, super gritty, serious, ultra masculine man and while this version of the character was perfected in The Dark Night, the concept gets boring the more iterations you see. Unfortunately this brooding grittiness seems to be something the DC movies are stuck in. The Lego Batman Movie manages to poke fun at these facets of Batman by showing a character desperate for admiration from others while refusing to accept any real feelings of inadequacy and finds justifications for them in the faults of others. This may sound pretty heavy but it is done in such a goofy and over the top way that sometimes you don't even notice it's going on. Eventually by being forced to connect with others and show his vulnerable side Batman learns to open up and let down a narcissistic facade that protected himself from being hurt. This facade is present in other super heroes too but is probably the most prominent with Batman.

Disregarding all the satirical mastery, Lego Batman is supremely well written and funny too. Frequently referencing other Batman films, featuring cameos from DC characters and even other unrelated Warner Bros films. And every time you notice a reference and cameo a little involuntary smile appears, I'm sure with multiple viewings you will notice more and more little nods, but I don't want to spoil them because they are among the best surprises in this film.

SOURCE: Warner Bros

Ultimately as a follow up, I believe Lego Batman raises the bar set by the original Lego Movie, whose overall themes tended to get muddled towards the end. This is definitely a must watch for anyone who loves a good family friendly film regardless of your feelings towards super heroes. Also after seeing the quality of this film I cant help but to feel more confidant about what The Lego Ninjago Movie can do later this year.  

~Gary

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