Batman’s never looked so good — and I don’t just mean his nine-pack (yes, “nine-pack”). The infamously broody anti-hero undergoes yet another transformation in the newly released The Lego Batman Movie, and this incarnation is more stimulating than the nipples on George Clooney’s bat costume.
The beauty of The Lego Batman Movie is you think you know what you’re walking into. Here we are, yet again, in Gotham City, the world’s most crime-ridden metropolis that owes its entire existence to a masked vigilante with a penchant for dark clothing and darker moods. Speaking of, there he is — same old Batman summoned from his same old Batcave to face (but never catch) the same old villains. But wait a sec — is Batman wearing a dress?
This version of the Marvel star takes himself as seriously as ever but the plot pokes fun at such self-absorption not to mention superhero stereotypes in general. Lego’s Batman is emotionally complex, more so than Clooney’s, Affleck’s and Bale’s combined. He is, we learn, a bro with a heart of gold whose greatest fear is having a family again.
The plot revolves around Batman’s struggle to let love in as a son, as a father and as a friend. And that — to paraphrase the first Lego movie — is pretty freakin’ awesome. Lego Batman takes one of the world’s most stereotypically macho superheroes and breaks him into pieces. And the movie’s moral to make friends even with the people you don’t agree with also rings true — particularly right now.
Like all legendary children’s movies, this one isn’t just fun for kids. Parents will love how action-packed the film is without any violence (for all the fight scenes, there’s no blood because Legos), while the roster of stars, which ranges from Will Arnett (Batman) to Mariah Carey (the mayor of Gotham City), means no shortage of exhilarating “that’s who that is?!” moments.
Judging from the crowd at my Saturday matinee, kids dig it too. The audience — 75 percent of whom were under age 10 — sat with rapt attention for all 146 minutes with minimal fidgeting. We laughed, we cried and, most importantly, we did it together.
A note on ratings: The Lego Batman Movie is rated PG with Common Sense Media recommending it for ages 7 and older.