An emotionally invested enthusiast of pop culture in the guise of a Copywriter. Apathetic by design. Aesthetically offensive and eloquently candid. A sentimental heathen.

To be honest, both Lego and DC does not have a good silver screen track record. At least for me. Lego Movie was a bore-fest and the two DC films that I’ve watched last year are such let down. And despite the surprisingly fun trailer, I’m still skeptical because, you know, DC movies have never been able to deliver the hype and fun its trailer promised. But hey, The Lego Batman proved that you don’t need Zack Snyder low lighting and dark tone to make a great (DC) superhero movie.

Batman (Will Arnett) always works alone. Because he’s Batman. And because nothing really matters to him, not even the Joker (Zach Galifianakis). Even though the Clown Prince is supposed to be the nemesis that Batman hates. Anyway, Batman’s attitude prompted Joker to pulls all stop just to prove his worth. And to stop him, Batman has to deal with not only his personal issues, but also the new Commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), his accidentally adopted son Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), and his trusted butler Alfred Pennyworth (Ralph Fiennes).

Seems like someone has been stealing from Wade Wilson’s playbook. Okay, that could perhaps come across as accusing and sounds like something that’s written to fan a fan-war (ha), but I meant that as a compliment. Because this movie really reminds me of The Merc with A Mouth’s successful silver screen outing this time around last year. It got that sarcastic self-deprecating tone, its main character often hijacked the movie’s narration – even its own opening, and it’s a nonstop barrage of (meta) jokes with a lot of pop culture cues. It kind of feels like Chris McKay, along with Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, and John Whittington, took the good things of Deadpool and cultivated it into one fine flavoring for The Lego Batman Movie’s solid good ingredients. As a result, they created one palatable dish that’s enjoyable for all age – with the help of parental guidance, of course. And yeah, you can argue that those aforementioned traits are not exclusive to Deadpool alone. But since both are superhero movies, it’s kind of hard not to see the resemblance. If anything, The Lego Batman Movie had done something that most can’t get right: stealing like an artist.

I may not be the biggest Batman fans in the room, but I know enough to say that this movie got him right. Down to the issues that the story revolved around. See, I thought this would either be an origin story or a simple Batman vs villain(s) story. I didn’t expect it to deal with the problem that has been plaguing The Dark Knight for so long: why he choose the desolate path of working alone and how it affected him. This is a very fundamental Batman issues. We all know Batman is not a team player and he distrust everyone. He keeps everyone at arms length and take all the risk by himself. And it’s surprisingly in The Lego Batman Movie that we finally understand why he did that, and walked with him as he face his ghosts and fears. Because though this issues resurfaced in James T Tynion IV’s current run on Detective Comics, it’s weirdly hasn’t been touched in reent Batman movies. By recent, I mean starting from Batman Begins. Yes, it actually was the first Batman movie that I properly watched and that means I can’t vouch for his old movies. Yet. Isn’t it ironic that this is the one portrayal of Batman that made me liked him enough to feel like going through his old movies?

Then again, it’s not surprising because this movie is ultimately about Batman and his personal journey to learn what matters most in his life. With a witty take that has both depth and humor, this is the most fun and insightful Batman movie for me and Will Arnett is my favorite Batman so far. It also helps that this movie finally bring the long awaited Dick Grayson a.k.a The Boy Wonder a.k.a the first Robin a.k.a that guy whose face is plastered on my office wall to the silver screen. This Dick (pfft) is not that much of a flamboyant bachelor yet. Not at all. This Dick is a cute orphan boy who admired Batman and Bruce Wayne with all his heart and just wants to be loved by them. Like seriously, this Dick is so adorable and cheerful and innocent, and Michael Cera nailed that. This is the Dick you’d like to take home and wrap in a blanket to cuddle with, as double entendre as that might sound. But even with all those fluffiness, he still got some of what makes him that Dick we know (ha). Namely dat glorious ass and gymnastic ability. And that Robin costume’s iconic pants – or lack there of.

Alfred Pennyworth is every bit of the hands on butler that he’s supposed to be, though the badass and wise level was dialed down a bit. Still love him and how Ralph Fiennes voiced him tho. Rosario Dawson’s Batgirl continues that weird trend in which Batgirl is a love interest of Batman as opposed to Dick’s. She got both steel and heart though. Even if the way she was written was a bit… archetypal. But the biggest surprise came from Joker. Unexpectedly voiced by Zach Galifianakis, this Joker is one of the cutest Joker ever. And he got heart and feelings. This may not go over well for some fans, but I do love how this movie played with the relationship of Joker and Batman. And even make fun of the ship. Because that is a thing, somehow. Aside from those five, however, this movie was filled with countless cameos and supporting characters. Expect not only Batman’s Rogues Gallery, but some other notable names in the pop culture world. If you’re a pop culture trash enthusiast like I am, then you’re in for a treat. Just get your geek glasses ready.

The Lego Batman Movie is the right cure for the fatigue of seeing a somber and overly serious Batman. This one got the right dose of brooding, deadpanned wit, jerkass-with-a-heart-of-gold attitude, and moves. It’s a refreshing take on the Dark Knight that also paid homage to previous renditions. Yes, it got a predictable three-act structure that relies on endless barrage of jokes to keep your attention. But considering it made such excellent use of pop culture cues, well, no oversight is too big to forgive.

 

Director: Chris McKay. Writers: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, & John Whittington. Released on: 10 February 2017 (Indonesia). Casts: Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Rosario Dawson, Michael Cera, Ralph Fiennes.

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