I’m going to just say this up front: If you even have the slightest inclination to go see The LEGO Batman Movie, even if you like Batman but not LEGO or vice-versa for some reason, you should go see it. But you might have some questions about it, so…
1. Will I like it?
I’m not one to write puff pieces about movies; like most geeks, I enjoy pointing out flaws even in movies I love. So please understand that when I tell you that this is the best Batman film ever made, I say so without hyperbole. It reminds the audience that, at its core, the Batman character is absurd, but has enough action that it also reinforces that Batman kicks serious ass.
2. Will my kids like it?
One of the great things about the movie is that despite the relentless references and jokes, there is nonetheless an actual bonafide plot, which makes it so that even someone who knows next to nothing about Batman can and will enjoy the heck out it. All you really need to know is that Batman is really Bruce Wayne, that he’s rich, and that his parents are dead.
There is some violence, of course, but it’s all animated LEGO violence, where really the worst thing that can happen to a character is temporary disassemble. If your kids could handle The LEGO Movie, they can handle this.
3. What kinds of Easter eggs are there?
The LEGO Batman Movie has references to previous Batman movies going back to, and very much including, the 1966 Adam West classic (and the TV show as well). There are enough Easter eggs in this film to give the Bunny a hernia. I can’t wait to see the movie again because I’m sure that, despite the large number I caught, it was only about 80% of the ones that are there.
4. Is there any singing, like in The LEGO Movie?
Yes, and some of it is hilarious, but none of it is (to me, anyway) an earworm the way “Everything Is Awesome” was.
5. Do I have to have seen The LEGO Movie or any prior Batman films to understand and/or enjoy it?
Not really. You’ll likely find The LEGO Batman Movie funnier if you’ve seen the older LEGO movie, but not much more so. Lacking acquaintance with previous Batman films and the Adam West series will no doubt make many of the jokes get by you, but I’m sure there’s enough entertainment value even for Batman newbies.
6. How is the voice cast?
Excellent! Will Arnett reprises his role as Batman from The LEGO Movie, and is brilliantly self-centered, parodically earnest, and humorously clueless. Rosario Dawson shines as Barbara Gordon, who has more to do in the story than just be Batgirl (and she does get a good line asking why, if she’s “Batgirl” he’s not “Batboy”). Ralph Fiennes is terrific as Alfred, though I did wonder why they didn’t have him also do the voice of Voldemort (yes, LEGO Voldemort appears in the movie, along with a lot of other not-exactly-traditionally-Batman-related characters, but I don’t want to spoil it for you). Zach Galifianakis does an excellent job as Joker, too.
7. Should I pay more to see it in 3D? How about IMAX?
As far as I’m aware there is no IMAX 3D version of the film, so you have three basic choices: regular-size 3D, IMAX 2D, or good ol’ regular-size 2D. The preview screening I attended was IMAX 2D; I think it benefitted from the larger screen (though I’m sure it would’ve been fine without it), and it never once crossed my mind that it would have been better in 3D. So my advice is to leave 3D alone, do IMAX 2D if it’s convenient and affordable, but don’t hesitate to see it in regular-size 2D.
8. When is a good time for a bathroom break?
There’s a good point around a half-hour into the movie when it seems that crime is gone from Gotham City–it’s early, but it might be worth it because you won’t miss much. There’s also just under an hour into the movie when Joker rides Godzilla, which wouldn’t make you miss too much and, as the film is about 1.75 hours long, could get you and/or your kids through to the end.
9. Do I have to stay after the end credits for a bonus scene?
No. The first several minutes of the end credits are definitely worth staying for, but once the animation stops and the regular credits start rolling, there’s nothing more of interest to see.
10. Will my kids and I want to buy the sets based on the movie after seeing it?
Hell yes. The Batmobile set is awesome, and the Scuttler, which will make sense after you’ve seen the film, is almost as good. The others don’t excite me as much, but that’s just my opinion; they’re all excellent, and as with The LEGO Movie, it’s nice to have sets that look exactly the way the scene looked in the film.
Note: I received free tickets to a preview screening of the movie for my family and me. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Images: Warner Bros.