Certain to be the No. 1 movie this weekend at the box office, “The Lego Batman Movie” is somewhat of a sequel to 2014’s “The Lego Movie.” Families will no doubt flock to this goofy follow up expecting much of the same, but they should be prepared for a slightly darker, edgier movie this time around.
“The Lego Batman Movie” takes a closer look into the life of Gotham City’s Caped Crusader (voiced again by Will Arnet), whose alter ego is billionaire Bruce Wayne. Bruce/Batman’s solitary lifestyle is criticized by his loyal butler Alfred (voiced by Ralph Fiennes), who wishes Batman would face his greatest fear — being part of a family again. Batman is too much of a loner to consider the idea, despite accidentally adopting an upbeat young orphan named Dick Grayson (voiced by Michael Cera) and being drawn to the city’s new police commissioner, Barbara Gordon (voiced by Rosario Dawson). Meanwhile, The Joker (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) is on a mission to get Batman to admit that The Joker is his greatest enemy.
What parents should know
While sometimes funny and clever, “The Lego Batman Movie” isn’t as funny, clever, or awesome as “The Lego Movie” was, in my opinion. A lot of the humor felt aimed at teenaged boys, which might turn off some parents. As a spoof that frequently pokes fun at Batman’s quirks and past appearances in pop culture, many jokes will go over the heads of young viewers.
There are also a lot of villains depicted on screen, along with a lot of fighting, battles and comic-book style destruction. Of course, it's all done in Legos, so it's not as bad as the violence in live-action films. As for language, there is no profanity, but plenty of name calling and words like “loser,” “heck,” and “butt.” Batman also listens to and sings to heavy metal music, but his lyrics are silly and kid-friendly.
That’s not to say “The Lego Batman Movie” isn’t worth seeing, especially if you or your children are fans of the character or other superheroes, many of whom make cameos throughout. There are also some great messages offered, especially that working with a team and being part of a family is better than being alone. It’s also fun to see Batman go from being a terrible father figure to a caring parental figure when all is said and done.
The bottom line: Children ages 5 and older will probably love this action-packed story that features Lego toys prominently, and hopefully, they’ll walk out with a few positive takeaways, too.
Rated PG, “The Lego Batman Movie” is now playing in theaters.