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Movie Review: ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ is a Bat-Fan’s Bat-Dream of Bat-Fun

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Lego Batman Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here’s a witty awareness to The Lego Batman Movie that makes the absurdity of a Lego Batman movie more amusing than one would think. It’s aware of the counter-intuitive nature of Batman’s ego to play around with the character’s self-centeredness for laughs. It’s aware of Batman’s long history of varying tones and goofy villains to poke fun at all of the ridiculous inconsistencies. It’s aware that the movie must end with a song and dance number to please parents and studio executives.

And, yet, it still has time to find a little bit of heart in the arc of its costumed hero. It may be crowded around the swarm of jokes and action, but I assure you it’s there.

Lego Batman Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Batman rushes into action.

Batman (Will Arnett) is in his ultimate cocky form as the most praised crime-fighter of Gotham City. His ego reaching the level of a demi-god, he refuses to acknowledge his loneliness and longing for a family. His loyal butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) has to be the dad that keeps Bruce Wayne in check, forcing him to say please and placing parental locks on his computers to get his attention. All that’s missing are the scenes of forcing Bruce to eat his veggies and grounding him. He does give Batman a timeout, but only during an airborne scuffle on the Bat-Jet so it seems more absurd and awesome.

Two Lego figures enter his life that makes him reconsider his lonely and self-centered war on crime. Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) has taken over as commissioner of Gotham City, having recently graduated from Harvard for Police. Though smitten by her presence, Batman quickly grows to despise her, as she wants to work with Batman on a more ethical basis. Batman only plays by Batman’s rules and can’t be tied down by some lady commissioner, even if he really, really, really likes her.

While Batman tries to grapple with this new relationship, he inadvertently adopts the adorable orphan Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), a boy with eyes so big he could be an anime character. Trying to find something for the boy to do, he employs him as his expendable sidekick. He wants to be called Robin, but Batman doesn’t like the ring of his sidekick being named after a fragile bird. It’ll probably grow on him, despite an initial hard pass.

Lego Batman Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Robin has never been so adorable.

But there’s one more relationship he forgot about and it’s probably the strangest of them all. The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) considers himself to be Batman’s greatest villain, but Batman does not reciprocate the hate. This deeply wounds the clown prince of crime as he tries to round up all of Batman’s villains to hatch a most grand scheme to attain his rightful place as the Gotham’s #1 bad guy. But when Gotham’s most evil can’t get the job done, Joker ventures outside his own universe to grab some other movie franchise villains. In the realm of Lego, there are no borders to crossovers. The Joker can team up with King Kong and the Wicked Witch to rule Gotham, just as any imaginative kid with a fistful of Legos would concoct such a scenario.

Related: Movie Review: Sci-Fi Sappiness in ‘The Space Between Us’

The other rules of the Lego universe established in The Lego Movie are very much adhered to as well. As a Master Builder, Batman is able to pick apart the bricks of his environment and quickly assemble a rescue jet. Gotham City rests on top of the giant void, the place where all Legos discover the truth about who controls their wild worlds. The simplicity of the Lego designs not only makes for some amusing sight gags, but also the solution to many of the catastrophic events. What kid didn’t stack Lego people on top of each other by connecting heads to legs?

Lego Batman Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

The Joker pulls out all the stops.

Kids will undeniably love the frenetic action and child-like dialogue of the script, but adult Batman fans may love The Lego Batman Movie even more for the clever satire of Batman’s history. The endless cavalcade of references come rapid-fire from Alfred rattling off Batman’s movie resume (including the 1960’s version with dancing) to the lesser rogue’s gallery of bad guys (including the Condiment King). Several in-jokes for deeply entrenched Batman fans are present as when Batman states he doesn’t do the whole “ship” thing with Joker (Google it and prepared to be horrified). An interesting casting choice was Billy Dee Williams in the small role of Two Face; Williams had played the character of Harvey Dent in the Batman movies before getting the chance to play Two-Face, but now he’s been given the role he deserved.

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Director Patty Jenkins Confirmed for Wonder Woman Sequel – YES!

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Patty Jenkins Is Back!

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f there’s one thing Hollywood knows how to do, it’s taking something that works and sticking with it. Usually, that just means we get beat over the head with sequels until a franchise is run into the ground. However, sometimes, we actually get more of what we want. Case in point: Patty Jenkins will be returning to direct the Wonder Woman sequel.

Patty Jenkins Wonder Woman MovieSpoon.com

Patty Jenkins hard at work on the set of ‘Wonder Woman.’

Variety reported that Patty Jenkins has officially sealed the deal for the new project. Considering how much she was praised for her work on Wonder Woman (2017), it’s no wonder. The superhero film was highly anticipated due to the fact that it was the first big Marvel or DC pic to focus on a female lead. The fact that it was also helmed by a female director was an added bonus.

Related: ‘Wonder Woman’ Smashes Female-Directed Opening Weekend Record

DC Comics films hadn’t been doing so hot with the critics, so there was a lot riding on this. Luckily, Patty Jenkins delivered. Wonder Woman earned $813 million at the worldwide box office. It also received a 92% “certified fresh” rating on RottenTomatoes.

Wonder Woman Returns

Naturally, Patty Jenkins isn’t the only fantastic female to be returning. Gal Gadot, who plays Wonder Woman herself, is also signed on for the project. Gadot was likewise praised for her work on the new movie. She was charismatic, loving, strong, graceful and accepting.

 

Unfortunately, we have to wait a while to see the new movie. Wonder Woman 2 is scheduled for release on December 13, 2019. On the bright side, Gadot’s Wonder Woman is set to appear in Justice League, which has an earlier release date of November 17, 2017.

Will you be checking out Wonder Woman 2 as soon as it’s out? We are already marking our calendars!

MovieSpoon Staff


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‘Wonder Woman’ Director Patty Jenkins Is the Real Superhero

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Wonder Woman Patty Jenkins MovieSpoon.com

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s official: Wonder Woman is a smash hit. From the day the critic reviews came in to the current box office status, the first female-fronted superhero flick from Marvel or DC is making a big splash. Not only is Wonder Woman an exceptionally fun blockbuster, it’s also paving the way for women in the superhero genre. In fact, it’s the highest grossing opening by a female director EVER.

Patty Jenkins took the reins on the first DC Comics success story. Jenkins had only one previous feature under her belt prior to Wonder Woman (not including a handful of TV movies). However, her one feature was Monster, starring Charlize Theron, so it was a good one to have on her resume.

Wonder Woman Patty Jenkins MovieSpoon.com

Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.

Now Wonder Woman has cemented Jenkins’ status as a director to be reckoned with. It opened this weekend to a stellar $100.5 million. That means it passed up the previous record holder, Fifty Shades of Grey, which opened to $85.1 million.

Given all the praise the new movie is receiving, chances are it’s going to make even more people curious about seeing it. More people equals more money, so Wonder Woman is right on track to continue climbing.

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Movie Review: ‘Wonder Woman’ Finally Brings Heroism to the DCEU

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Wonder Woman Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter the uneven and garish tones of Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the first attempt at a Wonder Woman movie, especially after the dismally unfocused failure of a modern TV pilot. But I guess once you’ve crucified Superman and turned the Joker into a Juggalo, there’s nowhere to go but up (I hoped). And while Wonder Woman hasn’t exactly launched DC Comics into the cinematic stratosphere, it has enough spirit to revive my enthusiasm for the future of DC superhero movies in a single bound.

Wonder Woman Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Wonder Woman makes her big debut.

Before she was slinking in the shadows in Batman v Superman, Diana (Gal Gadot) was an Amazon woman on the hidden island of Themyscira. Tucked away from mortal men behind some foggy force field, her mother is determined to keep her safe from the hearts of mankind, but she’s much too adventurous to pass up the opportunity to explore.

Her infatuation turns into a moral desire for a hero’s calling when the British spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) stumbles onto her island. He must be a brilliant spy for the United Kingdom, given his flawless American accent. After he crashes his plane into the waters of Themyscira, Diana soon learns of World War I and how many lives are on the line. She figures that if she can just defeat that pesky Ares, the God of War that filled mankind with violence, she can put an end to the conflict with her god-killer of a sword.

Wonder Woman Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Chris Pine and Gal Gadot

With such talk of gods during World War I, I fully expected the movie to be an overly dour experience. Batman v Superman had already spoken of gods with such doom and gloom and it sounds rather grim that Wonder Woman has to slaughter a god among men. Director Patty Jenkins thankfully realizes how silly it is that Wonder Woman has to fight Ares to never make the scenario darker than it should be. Defeating such a villain requires a convoluted logic about showing love and compassion, while still trying to find a means to Wonder Woman’s hacking and slashing. Even sillier is the supporting female mad scientist who looks like the Phantom of the Opera and carries the name Doctor Poison! You can probably guess what type of gas she’s developing for the Germans.

Related: ‘Wonder Woman’ Is the Fantastic DC Movie We’ve Been Waiting For

But the key to Wonder Woman’s success is that it never gets too goofy with all these adventurous elements. Gadot and Pine have some amazing chemistry between each other when they enter the war. While Gadot tries to comprehend the complicated nature of politics and diplomacy, Pine attempts to make sure the Amazon warrior doesn’t go strutting around the streets of London with a sword and shield. These scenes could have turned into sitcom material from a different movie, especially with a comedic soundtrack to signal hijinks, but they never veer wildly off course from the mission at hand. You don’t want to get too silly when you have to stop that evil Doctor Poison when she’s developing super mustard gas, as well as a superhuman god drug as a side project.

Wonder Woman Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Entering the fray.

Naturally, for being during wartime, the movie offers plenty of action scenes where Gal Gadot will literally spring into action on the battlefield. Machine gun fire holding back a defensive line? That’s no sweat for Wonder Woman’s shield. With her super strength and speed, she can easily go from zipping across the front line to flipping a tank with her hands. These scenes are all staged in a manner where the audience is never lost in what is going on in the action, making great use of slow motion when it’s needed. You can see everything in these scenes, including how cartoonish the CGI looks when Wonder Woman climbs buildings and leaps across rooftops. A little motion blurring could do wonders for her CGI body and make her bounds across German rooftops a little more human and less uncanny valley.

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