The Lego Batman Movie is one of those films which is unabashed about its aim of making as much money as physically possible. When you go the cinema to see it, you are exposed to a magnificent number of Lego Batman related ads. Be it Target, Sky , McDonald’s or Chevrolet, everyone seems happy to join Lego Batman’s advertising campaign. The only thing that seemed not to be advertised with The Lego Batman Movie were the bricks that the characters in the film are made of, but then I suppose the whole movie is basically an extended Lego commercial.
It is very good nonetheless.
First of all, one must bear in mind that the target audience of the movie is mainly boys aged from 4-16. Expect ‘butt’ jokes and fart noises and phrases like ‘rad dude’ and ‘sick’ (these are positive adjectives, by the way).
Second of all, the plot is unabashedly that of a children’s film. There’s a moral to it. You are supposed to learn how to work together with others and the importance of a family to a happy life.
Yet despite the marketing, the moralising and the vocabulary, the film is a huge success.
I think one of the main reasons for this is the film’s self-awareness of what it is. A movie about the Lego Batman, not Batman himself. Gone is the pathos of Christopher Nolan’s films and it is replaced by the comments its viewers might have made when watching it. The Lego Batman proudly declares “I have so many abs. Even my abs have abs.”He also remarks that he has aged remarkably well, given that he has been proudly fighting crime in Gotham for the last 90 years. But the movie’s self-referentiality is not simply restricted to the superhero genre or the bricks that the film’s characters are made of.
It applies to the matter of film itself. The entry sequence of the movie is magnificent. First, we hear only Lego Batman’s voice against a dark background declaring the importance the importance of dark screens and serious logos for assessing the seriousness of the oncoming movie. Then we have a stereotypical Batman – joker chase… And here I have to stop myself before I start narrating the whole movie. I can only say that it’s a postmodern enjoyment full of: metatextual commentary (Batman says to Robin “we will hit them so hard that words describing our punches will appear in air), metaleptic devices (“if you don’t believe me, google this” says the Joker either to a film character or to its audience) and crossovers (the eye of Sauron and the Godzilla make cameo appearances). All in all, The Lego Batman Movie is an intelligent celebration of unashamed popular culture. And the kids will love it too.
Image source: USA Today