Batman may be known as a man who sulks in the shadows, but he's probably become the biggest superhero of all time regardless. Bruce Wayne's alter ego has been on the forefront of the public conscience for decades, and as such, he's seen numerous movie adaptations. Yet the best cinematic story of the Bat comes from a surprising source.
The Lego Batman Movie could have been a complete disaster, but we're here to argue that it's actually the best Batman movie ever created. Certain Batman movie hold special places in fans' hearts, but it only Lego Batman who took all the best elements of the comic books and crafted one amazing film.
The Lego Batman Movie might not be the best interpretation of the Caped Crusader outside of the comics. There are certain TV shows, video games, and the like that might have it beat. Yet when it comes to a wide-spread motion picture releases, Lego Batman is a pointy cowl above its competition. Here are 15 Reasons Lego Batman is the Best Batman Movie - Seriously.
15 Understands the Batman/Superman Rivalry Better than BvS
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice started off strong when looking at the differences between DC’s two biggest heroes. Yet eventually, the movie that truly launched the DCEU buckled under its own moody weight and Martha "twists." The Lego Batman Movie manages to convey the complicated relationship between Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent in just a fraction of the time of BvS.
The interactions between Batman and Superman are as simple as they are brief, but they get to the core of it. Batman is a hero who might do well in his “professional” life, but it's a mess when it comes to personal connections. Connecting with people is something that comes incredibly easy to Superman, meanwhile, even if he is not technically human.
In the scene where Batman wanders in on the Justice League having a dance party without inviting him, the dynamics and personality of both superheroes are laid out beautifully. In this one short but funny scene, The Lego Batman Movie shows more understanding of these two characters than BvS manages in an entire movie of Henry Cavill frowning and Ben Affleck scowling even harder.
14 The Level of Fan Service
Since The Lego Batman Movie takes place in the “Lego universe” as well as being a Batman story, there are plenty of references and characters that have nothing to do with DC Comics. Basically any movie property that parent company Warner Bros. has access to appeared in The Lego Batman Movie. While Lego Batman is the only time fans can see the Joker work with Lord Voldemort, the appearance of the Dark Lord is not what elevates the movie to top-tier Batman status.
The Lego Batman Movie is crammed with easter eggs, references, and winking nods to the audience that only the most faithful Dark Knight diehards are going to understand. Every type of fan and every era of the legendary character is treated with equal love and respect. Lego Batman takes all eras and iterations of the caped crusader to blend them into one weird fan smoothie.
There’s something for every type of Batman fan in Lego Batman. This alone makes it unique, because every Batman movie takes a very specific look and direction with their Bruce Wayne. Lego Batman's true skill is that it not only accounts for every version, but treats them on a equal level.
13 The Colors, So Many Colors
Batman’s whole thing is that he stalks in the shadows. He is the Dark Knight after all, but he is also a comic book character. While Batman’s main color scheme is different shades of black, or a very dark grey, Lego Batman finds a way to inject much more color into his world. The Tim Burton movies tried to balance the darkness with the comic book aesthetic, but weren't entirely successful in that regard. The Joel Schumacher movies, meanwhile, went way overboard into garish territory. Lego Batman manages to find just the right balance of “DARKNESS! NO PARENTS!” and the colorful comic book visuals.
Batman might operate at the darker side of the rainbow, but his villains and his city often don’t have that same motif. Lego Batman understands that Poison Ivy is the exact opposite side of the spectrum from Bats, and embraces every type of color. The movie is a treat for the eyes, as Robin’s cape isn’t the only thing that sparkles. The entire world of Lego Batman feels far more inviting and interesting than any previous movie featuring the Caped Crusader.
12 Appeals to Audiences of All Ages
The extended cut of Batman v Superman, the best edition of the movie, earned an R-rating. While there is nothing inherently wrong with an R-rated superhero movie -- just ask Deadpool or Logan -- Batman doesn’t necessarily need that level of intensity. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy is a little too drab for audiences of all ages, and Tim Burton’s movies are just a tad too slow for youngsters. While Schumacher versions can appeal to toddlers who like shiny, sparkly things, they're probably the only ones who are going to be enthralled.
Lego Batman is the first Batman movie able to attract every member of the family. The campy live-action Batman TV series from the '60s and the more straight-ahead cartoon show from the '90s worked on multiple levels too. Lego Batman is the only feature length offering that 4-year-olds and 44-year-olds can watch harmoniously, however. It has jokes for adults, it has jokes for kids. It manages to please just about any audience member who wants to sit down and watch it. It's almost impossible to not be put in a better mood after watching Lego Batman, even if you just got mail gauging your interest in an AARP membership.
11 There is No Tacked on Love Interest
Like almost all superhero movies, Batman films tend to put the hero into some romantic plot. Sometimes, giving the Caped Crusader a love interest works, mainly when that love interest is some form of Selina Kyle. Yet for every Cat and Bat tale, there are much more with Bruce being inexplicably taken with a bland gal like Vicki Vale or Rachel Dawes. Lego Batman doesn’t bother with any of that nonsense.
While Bruce does show an interest in Barbara Gordon, those romantic feelings are never reciprocated. Batman does form relationships with another characters, including Barbara, but things never get remotely amorous. It’s a breath of fresh air for not only how unique it is, but what kind of message it sends to the audience.
The Bruce Wayne of Lego Batman doesn’t need to find validation or acceptance in some romantic partner. The connections that Bruce forms in this film feel far more lasting and personal than any intense sexual or romantic relationship from a previous cinematic outing.
10 Doesn't Apologize for Being a Batman Movie
Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder all desperately wanted audiences to take their version of Batman seriously. While Nolan and Snyder are the biggest offenders, Burton is also guilty of this sin, and previous cinematic versions of the hero want to take a grounded approach with the hero. This is, in a word, asinine. Batman is a rich orphan who dresses up like flying rat to take on criminals. It is a silly idea, but it is a silly idea that people are obviously willing to accept. No one needs to justify Batman or make him seem more realistic; he should be unbelievable, because he is fictional.
Lego Batman understands the inherent madness in the basic idea of the Dark Knight and embraces it. There is no effort to try to explain why he exists or how anything he does is possible. Lego Batman goes with every wackiness impulse, and is a stronger movie for it. There is not nearly an hour of buildup of Bruce Wayne putting on the Batman costume. Batman is Batman for nearly the entire movie, and it never breaks the immersion.
9 Alfred Does More than Just Sass
Unlike a lot of Batman’s supporting cast from the comics, his butler Alfred Pennyworth is almost always involved in Bats’ movies. There are even been some tremendous actors who have taken on the role of the famous manservant, but Lego Batman is the first movie where Alfred is used to his full potential. Michael Caine is fantastic, but his Alfred did little more than just quietly sass Bruce and occasionally offer advice. Jeremy Irons’ Alfred in BvS clearly disapproved of nearly everything Batman was doing, but never offered more than a snarky grumble as resistance.
In Lego Batman, Alfred not only disapproves, he takes an active role in the movie to fix things. It's Alfred who forces Bruce to open up and spend time with his adopted son, Dick Grayson. It's Alfred who continually pushes Batman out of his comfort zone and makes him grow as a result. Alfred even suits up in the film’s climax in a Batsuit reminiscent of Adam West because he “misses the '60s.”
Lego Batman’s Alfred is the first time in a movie that the Caped Crusader's surrogate father has actually tried to parent him, which is really the whole point of the character.
8 Batman's Loner Attitude is Portrayed as Unhealthy Not Cool
Batman flicks don’t just want the star to be the coolest person on screen at any time. In any given Batman film, the hero is portrayed as one of the most impressive characters in all of cinema. From Burton to Snyder, the Dark Knight is the coolest, most edgy, and completely alone character in the entire movie. In Lego Batman, the mystique of the character is deconstructed in a vital and compelling way. Batman is still just as much as lone wolf as ever, but it is no longer glorified.
The hero being some solo crusading figure is not something to imitate or look up to in Lego Batman. Bruce is presented as a deeply unhappy and sympathetic figure. He might seem himself as the most imperturbable superhero of all time, but the movie makes the effort to expose the reality at every turn, making for a refreshing take on an old trope. The way that the Caped Crusader’s behavior is constantly presented as unhealthy also gets to the heart of the character. Viewers shouldn’t want to become Batman because deep down, Batman really doesn’t want to be Batman.
7 It's Not Afraid to Have Fun
Despite the heaviness of Bruce Wayne’s emotional state in Lego Batman, the movie still knows how to have fun. Lego Batman might be the first big screen Dark Knight in which Bruce smiles and it's not as a part of an act. There are genuine happy moments and fun to behold in this film, regardless of some of the darker themes.
Lego Batman repeatedly undercuts the tension of the movie in the exact right time and in the exact right manner. Emotional moments with Bruce opening up are perfectly juxtaposed with something like Sauron whining about stuff getting in his giant eye. Lego Batman can get away with far more than the average live-action Batman movie because it's all Lego, but that doesn’t change the fact that the movie still is self-aware enough to not take itself too seriously.
The amount of fun and lightness in Lego Batman manages to endear the audience to Bruce’s character even when he is being horrible to everyone around him. It's hard to remember a time where Christian Bale’s Batman or Ben Affleck’s Bruce were even half as fun to watch as Will Arnett’s version.
6 Understands and Emphasizes Batman's Flaws and Weakness
Batman almost always does the right thing in the movies. This is not just from a moral standpoint, but from a plot perspective. No matter how big the gamble or the leap in logic, the hero is almost always right -- because he's Batman. In Lego Batman, he frequently stumbles. The movie understands that capabilities in one area does not equate to capabilities in all areas, stopping short of the polymath we're used to.
The Lego version is arrogant, has severely lacking social skills, and is stubborn to the point of recklessness. While other movie versions of Batman remember that the hero is known as the World’s Greatest Detective, they often forget that he is human and flawed. Batfleck in BvS makes several faulty assumptions, but still manages to be the ultimate hero of the story.
Lego Batman indirectly causes the drama of the movie, and it's only after he learns the consequences of his actions that he can save the day. This Bruce might made of plastic, but the hero of this tale is far more compelling because he's so flawed.
5 Everything about Barbara Gordon
Shockingly, Lego Batman marks Barbara Gordon’s live-action debut on the silver screen (sorry "Barbara Wilson"). While the Barbara of Lego Batman takes some liberties with the comic book version, she is still one of the best female leads in any superhero movie ever, but specifically in a Batman film. Unfortunately, many of the leading ladies in the Caped Crusader's movies are nothing more than supporting characters for Bruce Wayne’s story. The two Selina Kyles (Michelle Pieffer and Anne Hathaway) come close to being on equal footing with Batman, but Barbara Gordon manages to eclipse them all.
Barbara is funny, capable, and she manages to go toe-to-toe with Batman on several occasions. Barbara is firm without seeming braggy or naggy. She knows what needs to be done and just does it incredibly well. There has never been a female character in a Batman movie who seems just as dynamic as the leading man.
Barbara might suit up as Batgirl, but she is so much more than just a sidekick.
4 Completely Nails the Joker and Batman Dynamic
Though it doesn’t reach the disturbing level found in some comics, Lego Batman really dives into Joker and Batman’s twisted relationship. The way that the pair interact is almost a very macabre love story. While it's played off for laughs in Lego Batman, there are enough moments that show that the movie understands that the two really are intertwined for life.
The Dark Knight played with this idea, but sadly, Joker and Batman’s scenes together were a little too few in number to really dive into it. Lego Batman is all about the duo needing and relying on each other for a sense of purpose. They are each other's disturbed ying to their demented yang.
There has never been a movie that quite understands what makes these two tick in relation to one another. Most movies highlight their differences, but the reason that Batman and Joker work so well comes down to their similarities. They both need to feed off each other to function, and Lego Batman conveys that idea perfectly.
3 Michael Cera's Dick Grayson/Robin
While Lego Batman is the first time Barbara Gordon has appeared in a major movie, that is sadly not the same case for Robin or Dick Grayson. Thanks to Chris O’Donnell, viewers have seen Grayson on the big screen before, but almost everyone wishes that they hadn’t. In his two appearances as the character, first in Batman Forever and then Batman & Robin, O’Donnell was nowhere near as likable as Michael Cera's was in his first scene. Lego Batman delivered the Boy Wonder that fans needed and deserved.
Cera’s Dick Grayson is the perfect counterbalance to Batman. He is light, cheerful and has the exact sort of spirit that Robin needs. The boy is a ray of optimism in the movie, and a great example of why Batman needs a Robin. Most previous iterations of the Boy Wonder have made a joke of the character, and while Lego Batman keeps him in a comic relief role, it also shows how crucial he is to Batman's emotional journey. The real thrust of the film doesn’t happen without Dick Grayson, and it's about time a movie realized how necessary Robin is for Batman and his mission.
2 Knows the Importance of the Bat Family
It’s not just Robin who gets the respect he deserves in Lego Batman. With the increased roles for Alfred and Barbara, finally, fans have a movie that understands how important the Bat Family is for the Caped Crusader. Before Lego Batman, the last time Batman had a team of costumed heroes backing him up in theaters was Batman & Robin. Lego Batman washed away the bad taste left in everyone’s mouth from the nipples on the Batsuits and delivered a family dynamic that was as powerful as it was heartwarming.
Lego Batman made it clear that the Dark Knight might be able to do it alone, but he is his best self (and at his most heroic) when surrounded by a support system. Underneath the mask, Bruce Wayne really just is a person looking for love and acceptance. Lego Batman is the first movie to not only get that fact, but give Bruce what he wanted in a way that didn’t feel schlocky.
Batman is so much more than just one guy in the comics, and it's been that way for decades. The movies need to catch up, and Lego Batman is the first step in the right direction.
1 Batman Goes an Actual Emotional Journey
Other Batman movies do attempt to depict Bruce Wayne on an emotional journey. In The Dark Knight, Bruce is trying to decide if he can give up the whole superhero thing and live a normal life. Batman v Superman is all about Bruce realizing how far he's fallen and eventually (kind of) making amends. But it's not quite on par with what we see in Lego Batman. The hero that ends the movie is a completely different one than the one who starts it all. All other cinematic Batmen essentially leave off in the same broody place that they began. Bruce Wayne in Lego Batman starts off miserable and ends the movie fulfilled and happy.
None of these movies really changed the status quo all that drastically. Lego Batman tells a complete story that is open for more sequels, but doesn’t require a follow-up. Bruce has a total emotional journey throughout, and is changed for the better because of the events of the movie.
Do you agree that Lego Batman is the best Batman movie ever? What is your favorite motion picture starring the Dark Knight? Sound off in the comments!