Bruce Wayne gets the Lego treatment and that’s a great thing.
DC brought many surprises to last week’s San Diego Comic Convention, including trailers for Justice League and Wonder Woman, which left us breathless and fiercely excited, We also saw some slightly newer footage for footage for Suicide Squad that featured a bad ass lineup of female anti-heroines that matched Marvel’s. These pieces were acknowledged for playing up the lighter, more comical side of the DC world, instead of the usual gloomy darkness we’ve been accustomed to in DC movies. The humorous style of trailers paid off with plenty of positive reactions and buzz, but none of these can compare to the laugh out loud hilarity for the new Comic-Con trailer for The Lego Batman Movie. Not only does this trailer continue the tradition of self-referential humor that made The Lego Movie a smash it, introduces us to the world of Lego Batman which looks to be 110% funnier and even more ridiculous than real life Batman. And that’s a great thing.
The Lego Movie creators Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have built a career out of hilarious self-reflexive comedy starting with the animated film Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (a highly underrated masterpiece in my opinion). They are able to take old and familiar products like Lego and 21 Jump Street and transform them into fresh, seemingly new stories with an added dose of millennial attitude and appeal. The Lego Movie was made for millennials with short attention spans who want quick thrills, or in this case laughs. Lego Batman is directed by Chris McKay (Robot Chicken) but carries much of the same comedic spirit as its predecessor. Lego Batman (gloriously voiced by Will Arnett) was The Lego Movie’s breakout star after all.
At its core, the trailer is an introduction to Batman’s partner in fighting crime Robin. The piece picks up where the teaser left off, featuring a deadpan Batman living and working on his own in his Batcave – but wait, there’s more! We are introduced to good old Albert (Ralph Fiennes), who reminds master Bruce Wayne of his responsibility to take care of his recently adopted son Robin (Michael Cera). Arnett and Cera are an inspired combination choice for the iconic characters of Batman and Robin. They are able to bring their own interpretations of the characters to life, playing off each other through the script’s razor sharp dialogue. Cera adds his own blend of awkward humor (“Oh my gosh!”) and Arnett returns the favor with his own witty comebacks posed in that unmistakably Arnett tone of voice. This skillful battle of wits between the two characters is perfectly encapsulated in the scene where Robin asks if Batman lives in Bruce Wayne’s basement, to which Batman quips, “No. Bruce Wayne lives in Batman’s attic.”
The trailer shows that the film is a spinoff of The Lego Movie centering around the character of Batman and his relationship with Robin, but doesn’t explain too much more about the plot. From his goofy antics we can tell that Robin is going to be causing a lot to mayhem for Batman who normally likes to keep things cool. The film’s director Chris McKay has helmed episode of Robot Chicken, so we can expect to see some of that humor and style fused in. We don’t hear from them but there are glimpses of appearances by classic Batman characters like the Joker (Zach Galifianakis), Wonder Woman, Superman, the Flash, Green Lantern, and others. Batgirl (Rosario Dawson) is listed in the IMDB credits page but we have yet to see her (unless I blinked and missed it). The film releases on February 10, 2017 though so we can probably expect to see a few more trailers and spots released closer to then.
The Lego Movie was a surprise comedy that worked because it had a simple but great story about an ordinary Lego figure named Emmet (Chris Pratt), an everyman who somehow finds himself leading a resistance against an evil businessman who plans to glue everything in the Lego worlds. The film featured Lego versions of popular DC characters like Bat-Man (Arnett), Superman (Channing Tatum), Green Lantern (Jonah Hill), and Wonder Woman (Cobie Smulders), as well as characters made up for the film like Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Princess Unikitty (Alison Brie), Metal Beard (Nick Offerman), and Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman). But despite having so many characters, the story always kept its focus on Emmet’s adventure. The interactions between the characters provided comic relief, and Batman was one of the standouts.
I’m very much looking forward to Lego Batman taking that same Lego Movie spirit to the next level. There’s so much this film can play with now that we’re familiar with the Lego movie world and this Lego version of Batman. The Black and Yellow theme song used in the latter half of the trailer is an inspired choice that helps to emphasize the film’s cooler, edgier attitude in contrast to the original film’s hyper-activeness. Batman was always the cool guy in the original film with the best one-liners and entrances. Here’s to hoping The Lego Batman Movie takes that same awesomeness of his character and turns it into a fully formed story worth sitting through an entire film for.
If this trailer is a testament to what we can expect from The Lego Batman Movie, then count me in. The Lego Movie was the breakout comedy of 2014, and Batman was the breakout star of the film, so this film could stand a chance of accomplishing the same. Let’s face it, after the gloomy Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the awfully sexist and dated The Killing Joke, we – and Batman – could really use a laugh.