Welcome to 2017, everybody! We have a great year ahead of us and we're starting the year off right with The Lego Batman Movie.
As a spinoff of The Lego Movie, we see Batman at a lonely place in his life when he accidentally adopts Dick Grayson. Meanwhile, the Joker plans to make sure that Batman takes him seriously as a villain.
Will Arnett returns as Bruce Wayne/Batman and once again nails it with his performance. In previous Batman films, we saw him experiencing loneliness before, but not at this level. So it's refreshing to see character development from the over-confident solo act to being part of a team with people that care about him. At times he is far too abrasive and careless, but he does handle it with confidence and we see natural progression with his character.
It has been twenty years since we saw Robin in a movie, and it's been far too long in my opinion. Michael Cera plays an extremely young, hopeful, and optimistic Dick Grayson that is reminiscent of the Burt Ward version of the character. This movie really shows how important Robin is to Batman by keeping him grounded and bringing joy in his life. Their chemistry is such a delight to watch and worth every moment.
It's also been twenty years since we saw Barbara Gordon and I love Rosario Dawson as this character. She starts off as the new commissioner of Gotham who wants to work with Batman. She is pretty capable of handling crime long before she becomes Batgirl, and even knocks some common sense into Batman. Easily one of my favorite versions of Batgirl.
Zack Galafinakis is great to watch as Joker. He has the zany elements of Ceasar Romero with the charisma of Jack Nicholson, but really most of the past Jokers are represented well in this movie. I enjoyed how this movie delves into the Batman/Joker dynamic and how it affects their respective psychoses. Not extremely in depth, but it's acknowledged at least in a comical sense.
As with The Lego Movie, the animation is wonderful. The nice blend of stop motion and CGI makes all the scenes both simple and complex, not to mention all the character designs are done so that you're never confused by the characters. And that's not even getting into all the references! Oh my goodness, there are references to all versions of Batman over his 78 year history! With characters, lines, props, and scenes that cover all the movies, shows, comics, etc. So no matter what your favorite version of Batman is from any decade, it's here.
If you loved The Lego Movie and you're a Batman fan, then you'll love this. It was an excellent 78 year anniversary tribute to all things Batman that anyone will enjoy. And it has the moral of not pushing people away out of fear of losing them. It's not a moral you see often in movies, so I was impressed to see this done in a subtle yet comfortable manner. I highly recommend this to anyone and it's easily one of the best DC films in quite some time. A great way to kick off 2017.
Beauty and the Beast.