5 Reasons ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ Works So Well
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
When we think about the Batman mythology, we tend to imagine a dark, visceral world of a man who is tormented by inner demons he has never reconciled. All the while, he’s trying to protect the innocent from evil forces who are bent on nothing but the senseless destruction of Gotham City (and Batman himself). The Lego Batman Movie does exactly this, but unlike the previous Batman movies, it does it with flawlessly executed hilarity.
Lego Batman uses all of the mythos that we are familiar with, but with a comedic twist that’s so brilliantly written that it leaves you wanting more. There are several devices they use to execute this new twist, and it’s because of them that the character works so much better as a comedic hero than a gritty one.
5 Reasons The Lego Batman Movie Works So Well
DIAWHAT? Diegesis is how to the narrative is presented. A narrator may tell the story, but the characters don’t hear the narrator talking or know of his/her existence. A song may be playing during an action scene, but the characters can’t hear it. Lego Batman uses diegetic narratives and sound effects to add to the parody. For instance, when the characters shoot their guns, they actually say, “PEW PEW PEW!” Its reminiscent of Space Balls‘ goofiness and purely fun. Batman also talks to his bat cave, because why wouldn’t he? I think he can afford Alexa. Something that is unique to the Lego world that helps move the parody forward is that the characters can use the environment to make any object. This lets the movie create its own narrative without you ever having to ask, “Wait where did they get that new spaceship from?” And you shouldn’t have to; its too fun of a movie.
2) The Joker / Batman Relationship
One of the most iconic scenes in all the Batman movies is from The Dark Knight when Heath Ledger is swinging upside down hysterically laughing and tells Batman that they’re “destined to do this forever.” It pays tribute to the longevity of the series while also describing the nature of their relationship in terms of good versus evil. In Lego Batman, they use this same concept, but not in a transitional sense. Joker wants Batman to hate him above all other bad guys and essentially decides to break up with Batman for not appreciating him. It’s like watching the funniest episode of The Jerry Springer Show with more than just chairs being thrown.
3) Batman and Robin
While many people dismiss Robin as a meaningless character, he plays a vital role in the development and understanding of the Dark Knight. Robin’s very character provides a narrative as old as the Bible. The son comes into the father’s life and forces him to make selfless changes. It also provides a something very common in today’s society — the dissolving nuclear family; a single father and his son amidst impossible odds. Lego Batman develops this duo of Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder better than ever before. Robin is naively whimsical and optimistic.
4) Mocking the Mythology
Lego Batman spares no joke in mocking the silliness and plot holes of the Batman universe in order to establish a plot. It’s refreshing to see a Batman movie that doesn’t take itself seriously, but at the same time stays true to the canon and characters. This is done perfectly when Barbara inquires from Batman, “In 80 years, you haven’t once caught the Joker. Why do we need you?”
5) It’s Almost a Musical
The first time Batman goes to start his song, you take a huge breath, ready to endure a painfully awkward musical scene. But then, 30 seconds in, you’re bobbing your head and smiling. It just works. Its lighthearted and keeps the movie fun, as it should be.