The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) Review

The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)

Directed by Chris McKay

Starring: Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Bruce Wayne must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted.

My Opinion:

The LEGO Batman Movie is easily my favorite 2017 UK release so far! Well, okay – it’s only February and I’ve only seen three other movies (La La Land, T2 Trainspotting & Split). But I’m sure it’ll be in my top ten at the end of the year. It really cheered me up after a crappy day at work – it’s lots of fun and the humor is genuinely funny. And I mean an “all ages” funny – this is one of those movies I’m sure plenty of adults without kids are wanting to see as well. Go to it! You’ll like it no matter what your age, especially if you’re a superhero fan. Although you don’t really have to be a superhero fan, either – I’m a very mild one. In fact, I’m so superheroed-out that I went to, I think, only one of the superhero movies released last year. I didn’t go to that Batman/Superman thingy! I’m pretty sure The LEGO Batman Movie is superior to that anyway from what I’ve read.

I absolutely loved the first The Lego Movie, which I re-watched with the kid again this week. I thought that was one of the best family movies in recent times and it somehow actually manages to still go up slightly in my estimation anytime I see it. This LEGO Batman “sequel” follows a similar sort of hero’s journey narrative and delivers another great message in a thoroughly entertaining, funny, and non-preachy way. I still adore the message from the first film and, while this second film is much more obvious with its straightforward message and the story isn’t quite as “deep” or as uniquely told as in the first film, it’s still a wonderfully written film and so much better than the majority of mindless kids’ films that get made with only cheap laughs and cheap toys in mind. Crap like Trolls! What’s the message in that? Be happy no matter what! Tra la la, stupid happy songs, don’t think for yourself, don’t have emotions…

I also want to emphasize the “non-preachy” message thing, as I get so thoroughly annoyed by preachy kids’ films (I seem to have a very unpopular opinion on Zootopia but I sincerely felt that it rammed its message down our throats. Plus, the film was just boring so that didn’t help). These LEGO movies, like the Pixar films and most (not all) Disney films, get the perfect balance. It feels like the focus is first & foremost on telling a good and entertaining story, which ultimately does a better job in getting its point across anyway since any message it may have doesn’t feel forced.

I suppose I should end this review by actually talking about the movie in some way?? I don’t do that a lot anyway since I like to avoid spoilers and prefer to just discuss my feelings about a movie. What can I say? I thought the jokes in this were genuinely funny (almost as funny as in the first film). “Clever” funny. I’m very picky on comedy and like very few adult films in the comedy genre. Why is the best, most well-written comedy in films nowadays in these so-called kids’ movies? The LEGO movies (and everything made by my beloved Pixar) put all the immature, silly, live-action “adult” comedy to shame. Are adults idiots or something? Considering that our cinema screen was nearly empty when we went to see this while queues were going out the door for that new Fifty Shades movie, I’m thinking that must be the case.

I can’t help but compare this to the first LEGO movie, of course, but to say it’s not quite as good as that one isn’t really an insult as that’s a hard one to live up to. Batman himself is great but the rest of the characters are a bit weak in comparison. The focus is on Batman’s relationship with each of these people, though, and this is done really well. You gets loads of fun pop culture cameos (Gremlins & a Twilight Zone reference put a big goofy grin on my face) and I know there are plenty of superhero in-jokes that I’ll have missed but that hardcore fans will love. I saw so many “dads” alone with their kids at this one and I’m sure they loved it as much if not more than their kids. I like to pretend that those dads’ wives weren’t next door at Fifty Shades… This is why I don’t get along with many other women! Do any girl bloggers out there who prefer LEGO Batman to Fifty Shades want to be my friend??. πŸ˜‰

The story itself is, well, a pretty standard superhero storyline. But better. I wish more live-action superhero movies were half as good as The LEGO Batman Movie. This film is more lighthearted and “fun” than the first one but it still has a fantastic message and put as big of a smile on my face as on my husband’s and, most importantly, our daughter’s. Well, maybe slightly bigger smiles on ours. But her generation of kids are gonna be great adults thanks to growing up on good movies like these and like those made by Pixar. This generation of kids are gonna save the world! They’re gonna be better adults than all the current idiot grown-ups! If we all live that long. Hmm. This review took a dark turn. Kind of like the death metal songs written by LEGO Batman.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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Disney Infinity: Star Wars!Β 

I don’t know who was more excited when this came out in the UK on Friday: my Star Wars crazy husband or my Star Wars mad daughter. Probably my husband, although he played it cool instead of squealing with delight like my six-year-old did. πŸ˜‰

This is just a quick post & certainly not a review of the game itself as I’m not exactly a gamer. In fact, I’ve not played it yet (but I’m sure I’ll be forced to soon – which won’t be so bad as I’m a bit of a Star Wars fan myself). I just want to say THANK YOU to Disney Infinity for probably being the best Star Wars-related thing yet to actually not ignore its young female fans! πŸ™‚

We have not just one, or two, but THREE female Star Wars Disney Infinity characters! I’ve talked about this a bit in the past but it’s crazy how difficult it is to get any Princess Leia toys/clothing/etc nowadays as opposed to all the widely available items with all the male characters. Okay – you can sometimes get a Leia but only as a part of a ridiculously expensive set (like the Lego Ewok Village). Want a cheaper Lego Leia? You’ll have to get the keychain & pull the chain out of her head. Better than nothing, I guess?

Having a daughter, she’s of course happy with any Star Wars toys & has loads of male character toys as well. But how do you explain to a six-year-old why female characters are so often excluded? She loves Star Wars Rebels, which has two main female characters, but all the merchandise in Disney Store is aimed at boys and the girl characters are actually not even included in the images of the cast of characters on the boys’ clothing & things like stationery. Occasionally Sabine Wren is included in an image but, when she is, she tends to have the helmet on so you can’t tell that she’s a girl. It’s like Leia in the Boushh helmet – you can sometimes find that version of Leia. Is a boy really going to complain at one or two girl characters on a t-shirt or a school folder along with the male characters? I highly doubt it. I blame idiotic marketing execs.

I’ll stop rambling before I sound too complain-y. I just wanted to celebrate the fact that you can get Princess Leia, Ahsoka Tano & Sabine Wren Disney Infinity characters (and that super cool Boba Fett up there as an exclusive if you buy the set that includes him. hubby did, of course). Things seem to be improving slightly for female fans of what are considered “boy movies” – let’s hope this is just the start of things. On a recent trip to the Disney Store, we were able to buy an awesome unisex R2-D2 sweatshirt plus an R2-D2 t-shirt specifically for girls! I was so happy that I won’t even complain that it’s pink & full of glitter. She can wear her Darth Vader helmet with it to balance out the pink. πŸ˜‰

Speaking of Star Wars, I’ve participated in another great Question Of The Month for Luke over at Oracle Of Film. This month’s question: Who Is Your Favorite Star Wars Character? You can read everyone’s answer, along with mine, HERE. (FYI – I didn’t choose a girl) πŸ™‚

Banksy’s Art Reimagined in LEGO

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OMG – LOVE these! I love Banksy. Living in the UK, I have fond memories of going on a “Banksy Tour” around London & seeing a lot of his art. What a shame that some had been painted over – such as the one represented above. I also thoroughly enjoyed the fascinating Banksy film Exit Through The Gift Shop – I reviewed that HERE. Oh, and I also reviewed the awesome Lego Movie HERE. πŸ˜‰

Anyway – to see the rest of the 20
fantastic Banksy LEGO creations from photographer Jeff Friesen, you can follow this link: The Brick Fantastic.

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And I’ll again share the best photo I got on my “Banksy Tour” – The Grin Reaper.

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The Lego Movie (2014) Review

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(I had to use this amazing Mondo poster by artist Tom Whalen. Link here: GeekTyrant)

**SPOILER-FREE REVIEW**

The Lego Movie (2014)

Directed by Phil Lord & Chris Miller

Starring:
Chris Pratt
Will Ferrell
Elizabeth Banks
Will Arnett
Nick Offerman
Alison Brie
Charlie Day
Liam Neeson
Morgan Freeman

Music by Mark Mothersbaugh (Yo Gabba Gabba! Yes! And Devo, of course)

Running time: 100 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The wizard Vitruvius attempts to protect the “Kragle”, a superweapon, from the evil Lord Business. He fails to do so, but warns Lord Business of a prophecy where a person called the “Special” will find the Piece of Resistance capable of stopping the Kragle.

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My Opinion:

I don’t know how many of you will have read it but when I reviewed Mr Peabody & Sherman recently, I was pretty mean. My main problem (besides one terrible character) was that the movie didn’t seem to know what sort of an audience it was aiming for and ended up making something I think only those between the ages of 6 and 10 will enjoy. I moaned, as I always do, that only Disney and, especially, Pixar seem capable of making kids’ movies that people of all ages love. Well, I’m very happy to report that The Lego Movie achieves this perfect balance as well. And, although aimed more at boys, it’s one that girls will also love thanks to the characters of Wyldstyle and, my personal favorite, Uni-Kitty. Hooray for The Lego Movie! πŸ™‚

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I’m actually going to say nothing whatsoever about anything in this film. My ONLY complaint about this is that I think the trailers showed too many of the funniest scenes, meaning I didn’t get as many surprises as I’d have liked (although there were still some great ones). I absolutely LOVED a few of the surprises but think I’d spoil it for anyone who’s not seen this yet so, unfortunately, I can’t discuss those things! I can be vague and say that I loved loved loved the ending, though – especially the very final thing. It’s so satisfying when a movie gets the ending so right!

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The characters are strong and there are a lot of them & they’re so varied that everyone will have a favorite (go Uni-Kitty!). The “hero”, Emmet Brickowski, is completely ordinary & totally loveable. Wyldstyle is cool & a strong female character great for the young girls watching, Morgan Freeman is of course perfect as the Gandalf-like Vitruvius as he has the coolest voice EVER (well, maybe after James Earl Jones), and there are several superheroes which will make a lot of geeks happy (I say “geeks” in a nice way because we’re all geeks here. And we rule!). One lesser character really cracked me up and, oh my god, the cameo(s) I didn’t know about…. LOVE! (Everyone probably knows by now but, hey – I don’t want to be the person who ruins it for the few people who maybe don’t know everything about this movie by now).

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Summary:

I know I’ve not said a lot about this movie but that’s the whole point. If you’ve not watched every single trailer by now and if you’ve not read much about this film yet – DON’T. I think you’ll enjoy being surprised by just how funny and, quite frankly, epic The Lego Movie is. A lot of talk online says this is the perfect little kids’ introduction to the teachings of Joseph Campbell. It is. It’s an epic adventure with a really great message told in a very unique & un-preachy way. It’s been seen plenty of times but not quite in this fashion and not often in a “kids’ film”. Awesome.

My Rating: 8.5/10

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