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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, like 2014's The Lego Movie, The Lego Batman Movie is clever, creative, and funny, with nonstop action. It's a little darker/edgier than its predecessor -- there are tons of bad guys, battles, explosions, bombs, weapons, destruction, and general mayhem. But because it's all made out of Legos, there's zero gore, and very little is permanently damaged (lots of things are put back together in a literal snap). Still, the main characters are constantly in peril, which could upset some younger/more sensitive kids, and one key character momentarily seems headed for a more serious end. Words like "butt," "loser," and "sucks" are used, and there's a little flirting, plus humor related to Dick/Robin's preference to go without pants when wearing his costume -- but nothing gets too risque. Batman is forced to give himself a pretty hard look over the course of the movie, eventually realizing that he can't do everything by himself and that working with a team/having a family is more fun and fulfilling than going it alone (no matter how awesome your pecs are). As with all Lego movies, shows, and games, it also serves as a feature-length toy ad -- but you may not care, you'll be laughing so hard.
What's the story?
In THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE, Batman/Bruce Wayne (voiced by Will Arnett), is pretty sure he's got it made -- sweet Batcave, awesome tuxedo wardrobe, endless Bat-vehicles and gadgets. But without anyone to share it with (other than long-suffering butler/minder Alfred, of course), what does it all mean? Even Gotham City's biggest bad guy, he Joker (Zach Galifianakis), can't break through Batman's "I don't need anyone" defense mechanisms. Things start changing when Batman accidentally adopts earnest young orphan Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) and meets Gotham's new police commissioner, Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson). She wants Batman to work alongside the cops, rather than as a solo vigilante. He's skeptical, but after the Joker engineers a mass breakout from the galaxy's most secure prison, the Caped Crusader may have no other choice than to finally give teamwork a try.
Is it any good?
Smart, funny, and fast-paced, this second big-screen Lego movie shows that the first one wasn't a fluke: The folks behind this franchise definitely know what they're doing. Jokes and pop culture references fly fast and furiously in The Lego Batman Movie -- adults are likely to get a particular kick out of the many references to earlier Batman movies and TV shows -- and the animation is colorful and creative. It never gets old to see all the inventive ways that Lego pieces and characters are used, built, taken apart, and rebuilt. Plus, the writing is snappy, and the voice cast is spot on. Arnett stole the show as the Dark Knight in The Lego Movie, and he has no trouble taking center stage here. Cera's Dick Grayson/Robin is perfectly chirpy and wide-eyed; Dawson is cool, calm tough-chick perfection as Barbara; Ralph Fiennes is drolly amusing as Alfred (who gets several memorable scenes); and Galifianakis is a great mix of quirky and menacing as the Joker.
All of that said, what's particularly pleasing about this franchise (so far, at least!) is how much attention has obviously been paid to story development and positive take-aways for kids and families. No, the Lego movies aren't going to give you quite as many feels as something like Inside Out, but they've got distinct, memorable characters who change and grow over the course of their adventures in ways that even kids will understand -- in between their bouts of giggles, of course. Barbara's message to Batman -- "you can't be a hero if you only care about yourself" -- is simple and clear, but you never feel hit over the head by it because you're too busy marveling at the movie's technical achievements and clever humor. Bottom line? The Lego Batman Movie is as at least as much fun as one of Batman's tuxedo dress-up parties.
Talk to your kids about ...
How does the Batman in the Lego movies compare to other versions of Batman you've seen in movies and/or TV shows? Why do you think Batman is usually portrayed as so serious and angry? Is he a role model?
The Joker is definitely a villain, but it's clear that we're also supposed to sympathize with his frustration and hurt feelings regarding his relationship with Batman. Is it OK to feel sorry for a bad guy? How did you feel about him in the end?
- In theaters: February 10, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: June 13, 2017
- Cast: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Ralph Fiennes, Rosario Dawson, Zach Galifianakis
- Director: Chris McKay
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Superheroes, Adventures
- Character strengths: Humility, Teamwork
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: rude humor and some action
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Seal
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.