I have to admit, The LEGO Batman Movie was not on my radar. I’m a sucker for rom-coms, aspirational dramas and female wish-fulfillment movies (think Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries). So, when my 3-year-old Ninjago-loving son begged me (with pouted lips and puppy-dog eyes) to go see this movie, I reluctantly caved. But to my surprise, I liked it… I really, really liked it!
It has humor that both adults and children can enjoy, plus it’s action-packed and visually appealing with bright, bold primary colors abound. And, the best part? The animated film's overall theme and message is right in line with want any parent wants to teach their kid, and here’s why:
We Get to See What Life is Really Like for a Superhero
We all know the story of how Batman came to be and why people love him. I mean, Bruce Wayne is a handsome billionaire with a tricked-out smart home and endless guy gadgets that would put the Consumer Electronics Show to shame. In the night, he saves the day by morphing into a caped crusader who successfully wards off the bad guys each and every time. Batman is—no doubt—the original PJ Masks.
But in LEGO Batman we get to see that the life of a superhero can get very lonely at the end of the day. What happens to Batman after he is done fighting crime? Does he go home and eat dinner alone? Does he play in the Bat Cave all by himself or are there any friends he can invite over? This film does not overly romanticize superhero life.
We Get to See That Money and Fame Isn’t Everything
In this sequel to producer Dan Lin’s 2014 The LEGO Movie, we get to see the metamorphosis of Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) from a lone dark knight into a family man who adopts a orphan boy (Michael Cera). Together, they form a superhero squad complete with a Batgirl (Rosario Dawson) and Batman’s loyal butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes).
Through his newfound friendships and partners in crime (fighting), Batman realizes that—while you can have all the money, fame and notoriety in the world—it don’t mean a thing unless you have people around you with whom you can share and enjoy it. That’s a great lesson for kids to learn in this age of fame followers and unabashed fortune chasers.
We Get to See That Teamwork Really Does Make the Dream Work
This is a saying that I got from my son when he started chanting it after school one day. I was carrying a laundry basket from my wash room into my living room. He saw me and abruptly belted out, “Teamwork makes the dream work,” in his loudest outside voice. He then proceeded to grab the laundry basket and hold it up from the opposite end of where I was holding it. I can’t take credit for teaching my toddler that one, it was his preschool teachers. But LEGO Batman reinforced this invaluable lesson.
The film starts out by showing Batman pitted against his arch rivals The Joker (Zack Galifianakis), Two-Faced (Billy Dee Williams) and the usual suspects of Gotham City rubble rousers. But eventually the superheroes and the super villains discover they must work together in order to save their city and themselves from peril. In other words, there’s no way the “every man for himself” type of thinking will work. That mentality will get everyone in the world of LEGO Batman killed. Solving a problem together is the only way that everyone will survive.
But can they do it? Will they do it? Guess, you’ll just have to take your kids to this film to see for yourself.
4/5 Mom at the Movies Rattles
All in all, I give this 4 out of 5 rattles from Mom at the Movies for (1) moral messaging, (2) phenomenal visual effects, (3) excellent voice-over artistry and over the top (4) fan engagement. My son laughed and cheered throughout the 1 hour 44 minute film. Apparently others around the country did, too. LEGO Batman has accumulated impressive domestic box-office earnings of more than $107 million since its mid-February release.
Markette Sheppard is host of Great Day Washington, the lifestyle morning show on WUSA 9. She is also a wife, mother of a rambunctious 3-year-old and avid movie lover. You can see more of her film previews and reviews weekdays at 9 am.