2. The LEGO Batman Movie
The first true spinoff in this universe, The LEGO Batman Movie delivers a borderline spoof Batman film, but also one that treats the character's long history with reverence. The movie features the return of Will Arnett's Batman, who is off on his own adventure in Gotham City this time. Directed by Chris McKay, the story pits Batman and Joker (Zach Galifinakis) against each other in classic fashion, but one where Joker turns in all of Gotham's criminals to prove that he is Batman's greatest enemy.
After so many iterations of Batman on the big screen that range from campy to ultra serious, LEGO Batman arrived to remind everyone that you can still honor the Dark Knight while also having some fun at his expense. It was a refreshing change of pace for the character that gave audiences the chance to laugh at Batman's lonely lifestyle and sympathize with him at the same time. The adoption of Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) provides for some of the best comedic moments and the comedy doesn't let up until the end of the credits. In between, viewers are treated to more Batman villains than you knew existed and plenty of meta-commentary on the superhero genre that Batman has been such a prominent part of.
The biggest flaw that LEGO Batman has is the finale, where the Phantom Zone allows for Warner Bros. fully array of cinematic villains to appear. This brings Harry Potter's Voldemort, King Kong, The Matrix's Agent Smith, Lord of the Rings' Sauron, Superman's biggest villain General Zod, and more into the picture. It crowds the movie and strips away some of the focus from the complex exploration of Batman and Joker's relationship, which is a highlight of the movie otherwise. Overall, The LEGO Batman Movie is an incredibly enjoyable ride, but Batman's solo adventure just falls short of his debut.
1. The LEGO Movie
Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, The LEGO Movie tackles capitalism, a child's imagination, and much more through a comedic lens. Emmet (Chris Pratt) is the most average LEGO in Bricksburg but soon finds himself being lauded as "The Special" that can save the world. The evil President Business (Will Ferrell) is set to employ TAKOS Tuesday to make the world and society look how he wants permanently, and it quickly becomes Emmet and his fellow Master Builders' responsibility to stop him.
The LEGO Movie has yet to be beat when it comes to quality. Phil Lord and Chris Miller's sensibilities can be seen throughout the movie, as they are able to breathe life into this concept and make it work. The creative world and quick wit still makes it stand out to this day. The story that The LEGO Movie is ultimately telling is grand in scale, but the film does an excellent job of setting up what you need to know for the story and not worrying about fleshing out every area. It features the strongest story, characters, and the most memorable song, "Everything Is Awesome," of the entire franchise.
The movie is incredibly smart from start to finish and even manages to take on the chosen one archetype without feeling overly cliche. The use of the real world elements is also a franchise best, with President Business' hall of relics paving the way for a true exploration of the real world setting. The LEGO Movie doesn't waste this opportunity either, as the father and son relationship in the real world adding another layer to Emmet and President Business' different views. Frankly, The LEGO Movie is just special in that regard and showed that even a toy as simple as LEGO can be transformed into an awesome movie.