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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Trance (2013) Review

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After an art heist gone wrong & a gash on the head resulting in his memory loss, art auctioneer James McAvoy finds himself in a hairy situation with a group of criminals. Rosario Dawson is the hypnotherapist hired to unlock the mystery of a missing painting buried deep in McAvoy’s mind – to lay things bare & help him out of a close shave with the criminals.

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Okay – I’ll try to take this review seriously now…

I like most of Danny Boyle’s films but wouldn’t call myself a huge fan. 28 Days Later is by far my favorite and I also really like Shallow Grave, Sunshine & Trainspotting. I haven’t watched 127 Hours or Slumdog Millionaire (they don’t really appeal to me) but, obviously, Slumdog won lots of Oscars. So… Maybe I went to Trance with expectations that were too high as he’s an Oscar winning director with some films I’ve really enjoyed. What I’m taking ages to say is this: Trance was a huge disappointment.

The movie starts with an art auction & James McAvoy’s art auctioneer telling us in voiceover what you do in the event of an attempted robbery – you get the most valuable painting to a safe place & it’s his job to do this. I thought this movie started out GREAT. The art heist right at the beginning was very exciting and I liked the music and everything was all “slick and cool” and I was like “Yep, this is a Danny Boyle film”. If only the rest of the movie had lived up to the beginning…

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During the heist, McAvoy’s character is getting the main painting (Goya’s “Witches In The Air”, worth Β£25 million in the film if I remember correctly) to its safe place when he’s confronted by one of the thieves (Vincent Cassel) and, after a brief struggle, gets knocked unconscious and develops amnesia. The painting disappears and only McAvoy’s character knows the truth of what’s happened to it. Unfortunately, he now can’t remember. This is where, as said earlier, Rosario Dawson comes in as the hypnotherapist who tries to help McAvoy to recover the painting.

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Sounds like a great plot, doesn’t it? It is! But then it twists and turns and twists and turns some more and you get the whole “Who’s really the good/bad guy/girl? Who’s on whose side? Who’s being double-crossed? Who is lying? Who is telling the truth? What parts of this movie are real and which bits are just part of a hypnosis-induced trance???”. All of which are fine as long as the many twists & turns are handled well (and, more importantly, you CARE enough to follow all the twists & turns). This is where Trance failed for me. I just didn’t care.

The movie becomes a complicated mess. And I didn’t care enough about any of the characters to try to follow along. It’s like Inception done poorly (no trouble following that one – it was good enough to hold my interest). And the criminals were a bit like if those in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels had been completely uninteresting & humorless. Yeah – good description I think: Trance is like an inferior cross between Inception & Lock Stock.

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As for the actors in this, everyone was “fine”. Vincent Cassel was the only one I really felt was the right fit for the role. James McAvoy was okay but just not QUITE right. I don’t know who may have been better in the role, though – I think the decision to cast him wasn’t a bad one. Rosario Dawson also didn’t feel quite right. She did well enough. Meh. I just don’t care! I don’t think anything is the fault of the actors anyway – I think it’s the script that’s to be blamed.

Before I trash this too much (I’m feeling kind of bad – I really do love 28 Days Later!), here’s the good points:

The Art. I wish I had any sort of knowledge about art. I liked seeing the artwork in this. Obviously Goya’s “Witches In The Air” is the one the whole plot revolves around but there’s a good (trance) scene later on showing some other famous missing paintings. And the overall look of the movie is good (of course – it’s a professionally made Danny Boyle film). The only thing I hated was Rosario Dawson’s ORANGE apartment (at least I think it was her place? Saw this four days ago & already forgetting it – the sign of a not-very-good movie). Seriously, I hate the color orange! What does that say about me? Love green! Someone analyze me. Never mind – I’m sure I can just Google that. πŸ˜‰

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The Music. Danny Boyle is known for good music in his films. I think the music in both 28 Days Later & Sunshine is especially fantastic. And, of course, Trainspotting! Once again, Boyle worked with Rick Smith of Underworld for Trance. The music in Trance isn’t quite as good or as memorable as in the other Boyle films I mentioned but it’s still pretty good. And there’s an UNKLE song in it! Yay!

Summary: Starts out great but then turns into a complicated mess. Slick, cool and stylish as to be expected from a Danny Boyle movie but it would be nice if that could go along with a good script and characters I care about in any sort of way. So… Meh. I hate saying that about a Danny Boyle movie but, unfortunately, that’s what it is. Other than that one part…

Holy full-frontal female nudity!!!!

Boom! WTF? That suddenly came out of nowhere! I’m not a prude (seriously – look at a couple of my posts over the last couple of weeks). But Bloody hell… Was that really necessary?! And then they gave a really pathetic “reason” for having that in there. Ha! Excuses excuses. So the movie starts with a gash on the head and then… Well. Yeah. Not going there. You want to see it now, though. Don’t you. πŸ˜‰

My Rating: 6/10

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UNKLE – Hold My Hand