WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
The Lego Batman Movie by Chris McKay (Director)
Type: Cartoon, Superhero
Basic Plot: Hurt from the pain of losing his parents, Batman refuses to be close to anyone, whether it’s his butler, his accidentally adopted son, or his wannabe worst enemy. Eventually, though he forced to either change his behavior or destroy everyone he knows with it.
Plot: 4/5 Well Done: This movie scores high brownie points for many reasons. First, the overall story was really good. Though the movie has a lot of action and is fast paced, there are plenty of quiet times of reflection and thinking, as well as a real story with emotional impact. Little, if any, action is mindless and just exists for its own sake. I appreciated that, as a lot of movies are little more than just mindless action. There were two or three light cop-out feeling scenes, but it was about 90% creativity. The second thing I loved about this movie was the amount of references to other movies. If you have ever watched a superhero movie or even just a batman movie, you’ll appreciate the enormous amount of references in jokes, graphics, and dialogue. The final thing that made this movie so good was that it was hilarious. The humor was creative and intelligent, only containing a few instances of light potty humor out of the dozens of funny scenes. There’s humor of all kinds in the movie, reaching adults and children.
Graphics: 4½/5 Amazing: The movie has beautiful graphics. Lego action is well done and smooth, but the movie also has beautiful, near real sky and sea imagery that is complemented by lovely light and steam details. The movie definitely looks Lego, but it does not have a cheap Lego feeling. This is high class Lego entertainment.
Moral: 4/5 Applicable Good Moral: Outside of Wreck-It Ralph I haven’t seen a children’s cartoon movie with such a good moral. There are two morals, both clearly expressed and applicable to everyone’s life. The main moral is that you should change yourself for the better. Batman learns that he must change his attitude and behavior if he truly wants to help others and himself. At first he refuses to, but by the end he has decided that he is willing to act differently both internally and externally. The other moral was to not let pain keep you from having new relationships. Because Batman is afraid of losing anyone he loves, he decides he won’t ever love anybody. He eventually learns that “just because you lose people doesn’t mean you stop letting them in.” Both morals are extremely clear and good for both kiddies and adults.
Overall: 4/5 Well Done: This movie was so good, that it’s the kind of movie I would own and watch as an adult, even if I didn’t have any kids. It’s funny, clever, and moving. I recommend it to superhero fans (especially of Batman), children and their family, Lego lovers, and anyone looking for a good, mostly clean comedy to watch once. I believe that people ten to adult of either gender would enjoy it.
Official Rating: PG
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Brief Suggestive Content: A woman tries to kiss a man several times, but she ends up kissing penguins instead. A man is seen in his underwear at least four times, once for a while, though most only for a few seconds. Because a boy thinks his pants are too tight, he rips them off and wears only green underwear on the outside. A man is seen shirtless at least twice and once wears a bathrobe that shows part of his chest and legs. One villain that is occasionally briefly seen wears his underwear outside his clothes. A part of a password is “Buttler.” A man rubs his butts on various vehicles and says that one will “have to [be] rename[ed]… the Butt-mobile. There are a three mentions of “butt” in phrases such as “kick your butts,” “I only have one butt,” and “kick butt.” A song played in the background says that Batman has “buns of steel.” A man mentions how he could have spent a life with “lady active wear models,” but he isn’t. A man says that underneath the city, it “smells like dirty underwear.” A man calls himself a playboy (which technically just means a man who is frivolous with his money), and it is meant in that sense. A woman blows a kiss at the screen.
Violence: 2/5 Lots of Cartoon Violence: Characters punch, kick, beat with clubs, run over, throw things, and whip at each other and things, usually for the cause of justice. Characters shoot guns, vehicle weapons, and missiles. A man pretends kicks and punches the air, and another man makes fake shooting sounds with fake guns. A man threatens to blow up the city’s foundation and succeeds. A ball of fire hits and kills a giant eye. A man trips a person. A boy hits the windshield of a car. A man hits a Lego brick and is dropped on the ground. It is mentioned that a man “loves punching.” A man is described as “karate chopping.” Various marital arts are mentioned. It mentions that King Kong “likes violent walks.” A man thought a hug was an attack attempt. One of the lines in a song that Batman wrote is that he can “choke a bear.” A man says they should start looting. A man says to another that he’s “not here to throw [him] down,” and the other man says the first would be “crush[ed].” A boy says that to be like Batman he has to destroy as much property as possible.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 1½/5 Slight Misuse and One Joke: A boy named Richard says that the kids at his orphanage call him “Dick,” and his listener says, “Well, kids can be cruel.” “Gosh” is said at least fifteen times. A man calls a prison a “heckhole.”
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Emotional and Lightly Intense Content: A man looks at and talks to a picture of his dead parents and feels sad. Throughout the movie, he has to overcome the fear “of being part of a family.” A cat is hit by lava and is all burnt up and black. Several characters almost die, but are saved just in time. A giant eyeball is hit by a fireball and dies in flames. A character asks another if he wants the “streets red with [a man’s]… blood;” He refuses. Some characters crowd a man and say they should “eat him;” they don’t. There are skeletons that attack people, and people’s skeletons are sometimes shown. There are burning things, car crashes, crashing vehicles through walls, destroyed buildings, explosions, falls from high places, and pointing weapons. Some characters using stun guns say, “Non-lethal, yeah!” A boy’s cape is briefly seen to have a fire on it. Batman costumes include the names, “Silent but Deadly,” “Death Merchant,” and “Night Terror.” A computer says that a weapon is guarded by “the Ring of Napalm, an “Acid Mote,” and “the Jaws of Death.” These are only shown on the computer screen. It also shows skulls and crossbones. A man says that death is the answer if he and Batman are enemies, but he chooses not to die, in the end. Characters tear up and one tear is shed. “Diseased” is used for descriptive purposes. Some young children may find the clown decorations and certain enemy faces scary. A man says that attacks will be so painful that words will appear out of thin air, and they do.
Religious Issues: 1/5 Brief Mention: Two of the dozens of side enemies that appear are named “Gentleman Ghost” and “Zodiac Master,” both appropriately costumed. Some characters are briefly seen doing yoga. Medusa is a brief minor character. There is a briefly appearing laundry mat called “Phantom’s Own” that has a picture of a ghost on the truck. There is a prison called “The Phantom Zone,” but it doesn’t have anything ghostly about it. There is a briefly seen St. Batnick costume. Gandhi is briefly mentioned once.
Magic: 1½/5 Brief Side Magic: Several minor named characters are from the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter series. A man uses magic to create a storm, freeze a man, and turn people into various animals, and he says magical words to do so. A vampire can be briefly seen. “Muggles” are briefly mentioned once. (They are something from the Harry Potter series.) A boy briefly mentions once that he can do street magic. One Batman costume that can be briefly seen once or twice is the “Wizbat” which looks like a wizard Batman. The wicked witch of the west and flying monkeys from the movie The Wizard of Oz is briefly mentioned. “Dark lords” and “witches” can be briefly seen in a list of things. “Magic” is used for descriptive purposes.
Others: There is heavy metal, jazz, pop, rap, and rock music from various eras, a lot of them containing drums. Characters beatbox at least twice. A man once asks where “funky beats” are coming from. At the beginning of the movie, there is a Michael Jackson quote from the song “Man in the Mirror,” though the song isn’t mentioned by name. Prince music is briefly mentioned once in conversation. A man says he is a “heavy metal, rapping machine.” A dog is DJ. Batman tells Robin that he and Bruce Wayne share custody over him, and the boy responds with “And now I have two dads!” singing “It’s raining dads!” and once calling Batman “Dad 2.” Some may view this as lightly hinting at the homosexual marriage agenda. Some may look at the Jokers obsession with getting batman in a serious, hate “relationship” as homosexual, but many may also look at it as merely a parody of serious relationship rather than a serious agenda to push it. When the Joker finds out that Batman lives in Bruce Wayne’s house, he asks if their roommates, and he gets the responds, “Uh… yeah!” A man is once briefly disguised as a female. A boy is seen briefly in a ballet skirt when he is told to do a [pleae?] Characters dance three times, including the credits. Characters play the electric guitar. Superhero costumes are compared to Halloween costumes at least twice. There are a lot of superhero pop references, even showing a scene from the 1966 Batman TV show. There are also several pop cultural references to various villains like Gremlins and Doctor Who robots and characters from Men in Black. There are several real movies mentioned, and some characters watch a scene from the movie Jerry McGuire. A man is called “the Martian Dance Hunter.” A character uses gambling and roulette for descriptive purposes. Ballerinas are briefly mentioned.
Overall: 2/5 Child Appropriate: The only thing I was really disappointed about was the “dick” joke. Some may not like the slight possible homosexual hints. Other than these two things, I think this movie is pretty morally recommendable to parents who don’t mind pop cultural references and some worldly music. If one watched it, I would recommend it to mature children between ten to twelve and older.