The LEGO Batman movie is finally out on DVD, which is good, because it’s great fun for the whole family (with one small caveat). Here’s our review for Catholic families.
by Adrienne Thorne
I saw the trailer for The LEGO Batman Movie a few months back and thought it looked like a fairly promising family movie night choice that my husband and I might enjoy along with our 3-year-old. We’d watched The LEGO Movie and rather liked it, even if its “Everything is awesome!” song was stuck in our heads for days afterward.
So, now that the Batman installment came out on DVD, we decided to give it a try, having no idea how much our expectations were about to be blown out of the water.
I don’t think it’s very often that I’ve watched a movie and loved it from the first few words. This was one of those rare movies.
It starts with a black screen and the voice of LEGO Batman commenting on the black screen, and on how all important movies start with a black screen. And then, the film company logos, with his commentary on those as well. It is funny, and spoofy, and a little spazzy. And exactly my kind of humor.
It opens, and the laughs don’t stop for several minutes – jokes about how ripped Batman is, jokes about his rivalry with Superman…. In fact, the jokes came almost too quickly. We like to watch movies with the subtitles on (a habit we started back when our toddler was at that little screeching-baby-babble stage, and now handy once again since our younger son is at the same stage…), and I think we actually would have missed a good portion of the humor if we hadn’t had them turned it, it was so fast.
The Surprising Message
I didn’t expect to find anything too deep about this movie. But there it was, a few minutes into the story, a blatantly stated but very important theme: Batman doesn’t need anybody. Batman works alone. Batman certainly doesn’t need friends or family.
Except that he very much does. And he quite thoroughly learns how much he does need others throughout the movie, changing from a hilariously self-centered narcissist to someone who will fight for his friends. Of course by the end he’s still kind of spoofishly narcissistic, but the point is still clear.
My One Complaint
I really wish I didn’t have one, but here it is: There’s an ongoing joke about the Robin character, an orphan whom Batman accidentally adopted, having two dads. On the surface, there’s really nothing wrong with this, because the kid is confused about Batman’s real identity as Bruce Wayne and thinks they are somehow both his dads, when in reality they are the same person. It never goes any farther than referring to them as his “two dads,” but they do say this several times.
I think, twenty years ago, it would have been a silly joke that meant nothing. In our current day and age, not so much.
Our son is only three, so the implications were totally over his head. I think for most innocent little kids, this would probably be the case and they’d think it’s just something silly. But obviously, Catholic parents should be aware that it’s in there and exercise discretion.
Apart from this, it was a pretty morally safe movie, with only some cartoony violence, and the worst of the language being words like, “sucks.”
This movie reminded me a lot of my all-time favorite animated film, Megamind, in its hilariously spoofy nature. If you’ve seen Megamind and love it, you’ll probably love The LEGO Batman Movie.
Apart from the issue of that one unfortunate ongoing joke, I personally think this movie is pretty awesome.
Adrienne Thorne blogs at Thorne in the Flesh: A Faithful Catholic’s Guide to Netflix, Hulu, and More.