To be a Kid: The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

It’s great to be a kid. I don’t mean that in the usual way—lack of adult worries about day-to-day survival—I mean the openness, the sense of wonder, the readiness to play. This nostalgia comes from my recent viewing The Lego Batman Movie; it was surprisingly fun.

Yes, my adult brain could pick apart the easy plot, or my inner Comic Book Nerd could rant about how poorly the film followed “The Canon,” but honestly the movie grabbed me right from the opening black screen and held tight until the end white screen. And even if that transition metaphor is “right on the nose,” The Lego Batman Movie accomplished the universal movie goal: entertain the audience.

There are lots of fine grained details which make this movie so enjoyable, but I’m going to skip mentioning most to not spoil them, though there is one which I have to bring up because, for me, it sums up the lovable nature of The Lego Batman Movie: the sound effects for the guns. The filmmaker had various voice actors saying, “Pew, pew, pew!” While that sounds a bit idiotic, it was actually quite brilliant.

I didn’t notice it at first because there is so much else going on in the action scenes, of which there are plenty. They were lost in the cacophony. Yet when I did finally hear it I couldn’t quit smiling. I even laughed out loud a couple of times.

Pew. Pew. Pew.

It is so utterly child-like: absurd and silly but absolutely earnest. I mean, all of those shots were deadly, in the context of the movie, but at the same time the reality of The Batman Lego Movie is a world of living legos, i.e. toys. Of course the sounds they make would be created by someone: the person playing with them. Sound design wise is literally child’s play. Delightful.

A lot of movies like this make me want to be a kid again—or Batman, or Han Solo, or whatever—which is great, but The Lego Batman Movie connected directly with the child spirit within me, the spirit that can just let things go and roll with whatever fanciful idea comes along, the spirit that can walk up to a complete stranger and say, “Can I play with you?”, the spirit that still loves the frosted side of life (Life as in “existence,” not the cereal, ‘cos that stuff is gross).

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