Unlike its predecessor, “The LEGO Movie,” “The LEGO Batman Movie” is about half as funny as it should be.
I’d estimate the movie has about 30 minutes worth of smart and sassy one-liners stretched over a 104-minute running time. That makes for a movie that is sometimes hilarious and sometimes tedious, with tedium winning out in the end.
But there still is a lot to recommend about LEGO Batman, who was the sharpest and snarkiest character in the original animated film. He ramps up the snark here but the film also takes him down a peg or two by daring to psychoanalyze him. Or at least socialize him.
And that’s pretty funny.
LEGO Batman insists that Batman works alone. But he also plays alone and that makes for a lonely LEGO Batman. And his ever-loyal butler, Alfred, takes notice.
Despite his best denials, LEGO Batman misses his dead parents terribly and has to come home every day to face a gargantuan but empty house.
Lego Batman spends most of the movie pushing people way from him: Robin, who he accidentally adopts; Barbara, the new police commissioner who wants to work with, not against, him; and even the Joker doesn’t get his due.
Of course, Lego Batman eventually learns he does need people and that message is so relentlessly driven home that the last quarter of the movie practically turns into a Care Bears film.
But the enduring aspect of this movie is the constant chipping away at LEGO Batman’s oversized ego.
Butler Alfred deals with him throughout like one would a spoiled child, using parental controls to curtail his computer privileges, for instance, and sometimes trying to get him to reflect on matters of the heart.
Like I said, “The LEGO Batman Movie” has a lot of clever jokes, but I have to admit, watching 13 minutes of trailers and film clips online was every bit as satisfying as sitting through the entire movie. Probably more so.