I typed that title by mistake as The Lego Barman Movie and passed a moment wondering if that would have been a better film. Possibly.
The trailers seemed so promising. The Sky TV advertising wasn’t all that annoying. And the original Lego Movie had been great fun, with Will Arnett’s Batman a big part of what made it fun. That take on Batman was great, because Batman was not just a jerk, but a jerk who had no idea how annoying he was. A whole movie? What could wrong?
I learn nothing, really. After all, I thought a whole movie full of Minions was a can’t-miss proposition too. Turns out Will Arnett’s Batman is a seasoning; fine in something else, but you’re going to hate yourself if you eat a whole bag of it on its own. John started to fall asleep about twenty minutes in; I’ve got some lost time of my own. And it wasn’t like I feel I missed out on anything.
There’s a simple test I regularly apply to a movie; is this something I’d watch again with someone else? At the very least, is there anything happening which I’d find on YouTube and show people on a laptop? Hell if I can think of anything like that in The Lego Batman Movie.
Mostly, it’s the way the jokes aren’t there. The Lego Movie was funny, and used jokes cleverly to counterpoint the Lego stunts. The Lego Batman Movie seems to have figured it would be enough to keep making references to the other Batman movies. Really, it’s not. The other thing is that the writers seem to have thought that Batman being a jerk was a problem they needed to solve, instead of being the best thing about him. So there’s annoying plot in which Batman has to overcome his fears of loss and embrace teamwork in a new family. There’s nothing remotely funny about that, and it isn’t even all that interesting. No-one came to this movie for hugs and learning.
Would it have been so hard to make a comedy about Batman being a complete jerk as he frustrated the bad guys? Instead there’s a mega villain plot to destroy Gotham, and even that takes second place to the Joker’s need to feel special. So, one order of “the world will end” and not one, but two side orders of “it’s important to be in touch with your feelings”. I think I speak for all of us, including Batman, when I say that it’s important to be in touch with your feelings in private rather than figuring it all out in front of everyone you know and everyone else as well.
So, if you liked Will Arnett’s Batman in The Lego Movie, this week’s top tip is “watch that again”.