The Lego Batman Movie hit theatres February 2017, and with it the iconic incarnation of Batman (voiced by Will Arnett), bricks-style. The story introduces the world of Gotham City, that is built on a flimsy foundation of bricks. If the foundation were to be compromised, the whole city would cease to exist, falling into a vacuum of nothingness, which is key to the plot. The main characters of Batman, Robin, and Barbara Gordon / Batgirl are met by the shenanigans of the Joker and Harley Quinn, who lead a cast of other comic-book archenemies in an attempt to get control of the city. But like The Lego Movie, the cast of characters don’t always match the narrative, i.e some of the most evil villains include Jaws the shark, King Kong, and Sorren from Lord of the Rings.
The story follows Bruce Wayne’s heroic deeds as Batman, but with a twist: his inner fears of being part of a family because he doesn’t want to lose them as he did his parents. This fear stops Bruce from bonding with his new son Dick Grayson, who he unwittingly adopts at a gala. Dick just wants to be part of a family and blindly loves both of his “fathers” (Bruce and Batman). Wayne’s butler Alfred plays an instrumental role in helping the two bond and getting Batman to realize he can be part of a family again. Meanwhile, the Joker wants to be acknowledged by Batman, and wants the masked crusader to admit he is his greatest archenemy ever. When he is rejected, the Joker devises an ingenious plan to ensnare Batman and send him to the most guarded prison ever — the Phantom Zone. Famous characters like Superman and the Justice League team are also featured briefly at an annual anniversary party at the Fortress of Solitude, when Batman robs Superman of a ray gun that will send the Joker far away for good. Robin is much younger in this version. We see him as a young boy who Alfred lets into the Batcave after Batman refuses to raise him.
There is a lot of comic tension between the two main characters, as Robin is trying so hard to earn Batman’s love, and Batman is too busy trying to put the Joker in the Phantom Zone. Throughout the movie, there are many throwbacks and jokes about the past incarnations of Batman played by actors Adam West, George Clooney, etc. The costume, theme music, and kapow! signs of the of the 1960’s show are key throughout the movie; even Batgirl’s costume mirrored Yvonne Craig’s with the signature yellow and purple cowl and suit. This Lego version is not nearly as grim as its counterparts. The concept of building vehicles in mid air and completely changing the Wayne manor mansion into a Coney Island freak show was too sudden and drastic to be taken seriously. It was a fun watch that anyone who loves superheroes and Lego can relate to. It is truly like having a Lego play session with CGI. The 3D element worked for this movie, because as a viewer you felt connected into the story. It was more engaging, especially for younger children.