Category Archives: Movies

Where the Data Ranks 2016’s Comic Book Films

The summer movie season is over and we’ve seen an interesting year when it comes to comic book films. For months debates have raged as to who is more successful, Marvel or DC, which movies were successes, and which were flops. The answers aren’t so simple and black and white, which is why I like to turn to data to give actual rankings as to who were winners and losers.

So far this year, seven films have been released based on comic books (counting Batman: The Killing Joke). This feature will be weekly until the end of the year, as some films are still in the box-office and there’s till more to come.

Of note:

  • Doctor Strange currently sits at $673,593,522. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is $35 million ahead so it’s not likely to pass that film, but with some impressive international numbers still coming in, you never know. It also will remain far behind Suicide Squad‘s $745.6 million worldwide total putting it in fifth for this year’s comic films.
  • Captain America: Civil War looks to be the top grossing film worldwide for 2016 though Rogue One is challenging that. The film earned $1.153 billion worldwide, over $100 million more than the next film. There’s still a chance that Rogue One catches up, but it’s unlikely to happen with $106 million to go. Rogue One did pass the film when it comes to domestic earnings and is the top domestic film of the year. Civil War is third for the year, the best performing comic film.
  • Officer Downe continues to look like it hasn’t earned any more money. When it comes to the below stats, the film is being treated like Batman: The Killing Joke. The film is mostly a video on demand release, so it likely won’t see a wide release.
  • The Chair is currently not included in these stats. While the film is based on a comic, its release was done so through a service where receipts aren’t tracked in traditional ways.
  • DC’s films average $315.5 million a film domestically compared to Marvel’s $302.4 million. Internationally, Marvel earns $476 million and DC earns $446.8 million.

Here’s where this year’s movie crop stands as far as the actual numbers. Numbers are presented with and without The Killing Joke and Officer Downe which did not have an international run or wide release, so was not included in that average to start:

Total Domestic Gross: $1.900 billion ($1.896 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total International Gross: $3.122 billion
Worldwide Gross: $5.022 billion ($5.018 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total Reported Budgets: $1.215 billion ($1.211 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total “Profit”: $3.808 billion ($3.807 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Average Domestic Gross: $270.9 million ($211.1 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average International Gross: $446 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $716.9 million ($558 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Budget: $173 million ($151.8 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Profit: $543.9 million ($476 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Now that we have those numbers down we can get a better idea as to how films have actually done this year. Below are various rankings of where films stand so far and if the films are above average (green), below average (red), or above the overall average but below the adjusted average (yellow):

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LEGO Batman Repeats While Fifty Shades Darker Holds on for Second

the-lego-batman-movieThe LEGO Batman Movie was first place this weekend earning an estimated $34.2 million domestically in its second weekend. The reportedly $80 million film has now earned $98.8 million domestically and $170.8 million worldwide after two weeks. With this Monday being a holiday the film should have a solid four day weekend.

Dropping 55%, Fifty Shades Darker came in second place earning just under $21 million domestically. With a $55 million budget, the film has done well overseas earning $187.2 million in foreign markets for a total of $276.9 million.

In third place was the weekend’s first new film, The Great Wall. That film brought in an estimated $18.1 million. With a $150 million budget the film is doing well overseas where it has already earned $244.6 million. The Chinese-backed film will likely not do well domestically, and will see most of its earnings overseas where it has yet to open in a few markets.

John Wick: Chapter Two slipped one spot dropping to fourth place and adding an additional $16.5 million domestically to bring its earning to $58.7 million after two weeks.

Rounding out the top five was another new film Fist Fight. It earned an estimated $12 million.

Doctor Strange continued to bring in dollars adding $129,000 to its domestic total to bring it to $232.4 million. Worldwide the film has earned $673.6 million worldwide.

We’ll have more analysis of 2016’s comic adaptations in an hour.

Hunter X Hunter Set 2 Out February 28th

hunterxhunter-set02-bluray-beautyshotVIZ Media expands the home media library for the Hunter X Hunter anime series with the release of Hunter X Hunter Set 2 on February 28th.

The latest edition of the action-driven series will be released as DVD and Blu-ray sets that each contain 13 episodes (Episodes 14 to 26). The Hunter X Hunter Set 2 Blu-ray will carry an MSRP of $29.98 U.S. / $34.99 CAN; the Hunter X Hunter Set 2 DVD edition will carry an MSRP of $24.98 U.S. / $29.99 CAN.

The two-disc Blu-ray set includes uncut English dubbed as well as Japanese subtitled dialogue options along with series trailers and clean opening and ending segments. Special bonus content and premiums exclusive to the Blu-ray edition includes a digital art gallery and three full-color Hunter X Hunter postcards.

In the Fourth Phase of the Hunter Exam the participants must steal ID badges from each other—and anyone without enough badges at the end of one week fails! It will take trickery, unexpected alliances, and careful negotiations for Gon and his friends to succeed. In the Final Phase, the remaining Hunter candidates are matched up for one-on-one battles—but the only way to win this fight is to lose! After the exam, Gon discovers that Killua has gone back home, so he and his friends head to the Republic of Padokea to find him.

The Hunter X Hunter anime series reboots the popular Hunter X Hunter manga originally created by Yoshihiro Togashi. The anime adventure is broadcast in North America on Adult Swim’s Toonami and was produced by the famed animation studio, MADHOUSE. The fresh English voice cast includes the talented Erica Mendez as Gon Freecss, Cristina Vee as Killua Zoldyck, Keith Silverstein as Hisoka, and Erika Harlacher as Kurapika.

In the original Hunter X Hunter manga series, which is also published by VIZ Media, Hunters are a special breed, dedicated to tracking down treasures, magical beasts, and even other people. But such pursuits require a license, and less than one in a hundred thousand can pass the grueling qualification exam. Those who do pass gain access to restricted areas, amazing stores of information, and the right to call themselves Hunters.

Movie Review: Logan is a Brutal and Emotional Send Off

logan-posterLogan is everything fans of the popular X-Man have been waiting for in an unflinching, brutally violent, send off that’s easily the best Wolverine film and one of the best in the “X” franchise. Taking place in the year 2029, the layered, and at times meta, film features a riff on the “Old Man Logan” comic character made popular by writer Mark Millar and artist Steve McNiven and currently starring in numerous comic series from Marvel.

Set in the near future, the film presents a hero no longer wanting that role, instead, he’s trying to retire and run away while not fully coming to grips with his past and deeds. The opening of the film lays out everything you need to know about this Wolverine, played for a possible final time by Hugh Jackman. He has a slight limp, he’s covered in scars, he’s drinking, he just wants to make enough money to run away with his “family,” and he’s going by the name James Howlett. This is a not quite dystopian world where the X-Men are no more and an event has decimated the mutant population.

Directed by James Mangold with a screenplay by Mangold, Scott Frank, and Michael Green, this is the western that The Wolverine thought it was, a genre that fits this lone character like a spandex costume. It’s clear Mangold and the team were going for exactly that with numerous references to Shane the classic novel turned Oscar-winning film then tv series.

Like the weary gunfighter Shane, Howlett wants to settle down, caring for an ailing Professor X (played brilliantly by Patrick Stewart) with the help of fellow mutant Caliban (played by Stephen Merchant). All three have sins in their past and the film is an exploration of that. There’s a focus on character and accepting, or at least coping, with those sins while trying to forge an unknown future. And just like in that classic western, these warriors are forced to act and get involved in a conflict after a mysterious girl Laura (played by newcomer Dafne Keen) comes into their lives. From there the film becomes part road trip, part western, part horror, but what it’s not is a superhero film.

logan-posterFrom the first moments of the film it’s clear that this isn’t your typical X-Men or Wolverine film with swear words thrown around, limbs flying (at times literally), and blood splattering. The bodies, and body parts, pile up in a finale that doesn’t hold back and is let loose with an “R” rating.

It’s a departure from what we’ve previously seen and that departure becomes meta at times where the film debates X-Men comics, their fantasy aspects, their disconnect from the reality of violence, but also recognizing the comics represent hope to many of those who read them. As seen in trailers and ads, X-Men comics are brandished around becoming a discussion within the larger film. Logan having “lived it” sees them as fantasy that glosses over the real violence and death that happened, while some (in this case Laura) latch on to them representing freedom from oppression. That debate rages in the real world today. Some embrace the comic series’ “political” core that’s been present since the characters debuted in 1963 and its not so veiled parallels to the Civil Rights to today’s allegories on LGBTQ+ rights. Others want an escapist fantasy without the message and even others who celebrate the violence. It’s a debate that plays out within the film by its lead characters. That debate is about as “X-Men” as the film gets though there’s plenty of winks and nods for longtime fans. There are numerous references to previous films and comics.

At its core, the movie is a Western, where our hero takes a stand against the evil corporation looking to roll over the average person. This is manifested in a few instances such as a defense of a family farm (with no more mutants, the X-Man takes a stand for an average human family) from corporate farming (with some commentary about corn syrup) to the main plot concerning Laura.

The film is a chase/road trip as Logan attempts to get Laura to safety as she’s pursued by a government-backed genetics corporation called Transigen who is attempting to make Mutants of their own and wield them as weapons. Laura, who comic fans will know as X-23, is one of those experiments broken free with a goal of escaping to freedom. That aspect of the film is interesting in itself as the chase takes place from Mexico to Canada, a cross-country trip that you can’t help but think of today’s debates on immigration and border security (and also something about Wolverine heading back to Canada, the land where he was birthed for what is Jackman’s final film as the character). Other real world issues are touched upon such as copyright and intellectual property over genetics, a topic that ties into corporate farming as well. This helps flesh out the film to be more than fantastical characters.

loganWhile the story has action and flash in the various action sequences, mostly involving Transigen’s bounty hunters the Reavers (classic X-villains and includes Pierce, Bone Breaker, Pretty Boy, and more), there’s so much to it under the surface and the film challenges viewers to piece some of it together. We learn what’s wrong with Professor X over time and his sins, in particular the “Westchester Incident.” But, even that isn’t fully laid out leaving the imaginations of the audience to fill in the gaps and by doing so creating horrors that the director and writers couldn’t begin to come up with.

Even with that layered meta and meaning some things are a bit looser. Transigen’s motivations evolve from capturing Laura to capturing Professor X and/or Wolverine giving viewers a bad guy with loose goals. This could be explained by the overreaching evil corporation who wants nothing but profit and how to obtain that changes over time. But, this isn’t as clear cut as bad guys we’ve seen in the past. And it’s not as black and white either when it comes to good and evil. No Mutants have been born for 25 years at this point and Professor X ailing has been labeled a weapon of mass destruction by the United States government and is a wanted man. Even in Transigen’s evil, there’s still some good intentions masked by their clearly evil goals.

As a chapter ends a new one begins with the introduction of Laura/X-23 played by Dafne Keen a newcomer whose only other work was The Refugees. Her introduction is a punch in the gut and gives viewers no doubt about the character. Mostly mute for the film much of her acting is through body language and grunts. And that’s not easy to do. Due to that Keen is a bit mixed in her role. At times she’s excellent and other moments just so-so. That’s also due to who she’s acting against.

professorxPatrick Stewart delivers a performance we have not seen in an X film. As an ailing Professor X his mind is failing him and through the power of make-up he’s aged to a level I haven’t seen. You believe this is a man seeing his last few years with his mind wandering and not working as it once was. Having witnessed people in this condition first hand, the performance is damn near perfect and full of emotion not just for him, but the audience too. The simplest needs such as his needing help to use a restroom are noted and beautifully shot for the audience to absorb. This is also no longer the loving teacher, but age has given him an edge that comes out over the years. Take note, this is supporting actor level territory.

Hugh Jackman gives us a Wolverine we haven’t seen and his aging is more than some gray hair and scars. A limp, some drinking, squinting, Jackman’s performance is grizzled, worn, and weary. It’s been 17 years since he stepped into the role and this is easily his best performance. He’s able to let loose emotionally and physically. Through his interactions with Laura, even just simple looks, Jackman makes us believe this is a man who is struggling with the concept of family no matter how strange this one is. It’s a trope we’ve seen before in many films, but this is the first time we’ve seen it on the screen for Wolverine to this extent and in a way that makes it believable.

Logan is a finale to Jackman’s take on the character that has spanned 17 years, 9 films, and two video games. To the last moments of the film, this is a movie that reflects on the character’s actions, history, violence, and what that all means. But, the film itself is a departure from the preceding films, until those final moments where we’re reminded of it all. I went into the film with some expectations as to what to what I’d be watching, but from the beginning moments, those expectations were shattered. Logan defies it all and delivered a layered modern western that’s a worthy finale.

Overall Rating: 9.15

Graphic Policy was provided a FREE screening

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract coming April 18 to Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD

teentitans-3dWarner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment bring one of the most momentous Teen Titans plotlines in comics history to animated life with the all-new, feature-length film Teen Titans: The Judas Contract. Inspired by the 1984 DC story arc from Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract will be distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on April 18, 2017.

The landmark Teen Titans story will be available on Blu-ray™ Deluxe Giftset ($39.99 SRP), Blu-ray™ Combo Pack ($24.98 SRP) and DVD ($19.98 SRP) starting April 18, 2017.  The Blu-rayTM Combo Pack includes the movie in high definition on Blu-ray Disc, a DVD, and a digital version of the movie on Digital HD with UltraViolet*. The Blu-ray™ Deluxe Edition will include all components of the Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, along with an exclusive figurine of Blue Beetle in a numbered, limited edition gift set. Teen Titans: The Judas Contract will be released via Digital HD on April 4, 2017.

Led by Starfire, the Teen Titans – Beast Boy, Raven, Blue Beetle, Robin and the just-returned Nightwing – have built a cohesive team in their never-ending battle against evil; but their newest teammate, the mysterious and powerful Terra, may be altering that dynamic. Meanwhile, an ancient evil, Brother Blood, has awakened, and familiar foe Deathstroke is lurking in the shadows – both waiting to pounce. Ultimately, the Teen Titans will need to battle their enemies and their own doubts to unite and overcome the malicious forces around them in this twisting tale of intrigue, adventure and deception.

Christina Ricci (Zelda, Sleepy Hollow, The Addams Family) and the late Miguel Ferrer (NCIS: Los Angeles, RoboCop, Crossing Jordan) join the already established Teen Titans voice cast as Terra and Deathstroke, respectively. Returning Titans actors include Sean Maher (Firefly/Serenity, Batman: Bad Blood) as Nightwing, Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story) as Raven, Jake T. Austin (Wizards of Waverly Place, The Fosters) as Blue Beetle, Brandon Soo Hoo (Tropic Thunder, From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series) as Beast Boy, Kari Wahlgren (Phineas and Ferb, Legion of Superheroes) as Starfire, and Stuart Allan (Batman vs. Robin, Batman: Bad Blood) as Robin/Damian. Gregg Henry (Scandal, The Killing, Payback) voices the villainous Brother Blood.

The voice cast also includes Maria Canals-Barrera (Wizards of Waverly Place) as Jaime’s mother, Meg Foster (They Live) as Mother Mayhem, Crispin Freeman (Justice League Action, Batman: Arkham games) as Speedy,  Masasa Moyo (Young Justice) as Bumblebee, David Zayas (Gotham, Dexter) as Jaime’s father, Jason Spisak (Young Justice) as Kid Flash, and Kevin Smith (Clerks, Geeking Out) as … himself.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is directed by Sam Liu (Batman: The Killing Joke) from a screenplay by Ernie Altbacker (Justice League Dark). Sam Register is Executive Producer; James Tucker (Batman Bad Blood, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders) is Supervising Producer; and Alan Burnett (Justice League vs. Teen Titans) is co-Producer.

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract Enhanced Content

Blu-ray™ Deluxe Giftset, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack & Digital HD

  • Sneak Peek – Batman and Harley Quinn: Sneak peek at the next DC Universe Original Movie, featuring the talented creators and voice cast.
  • Featurette – Titanic Minds: Wolfman and Perez: This revealing documentary explores a creative partnership that has lasted decades as Marv Wolfman and George Pérez come together to discuss their careers and one of the most famous runs in Teen Titan history, The Judas Contract.
  • Featurette – Villains United—Deathstroke: When the super-soldier Deathstroke appears, the forces of good will be in the fight of their lives. This short featurette reveals the origin and unique abilities of this villain.
  • Additional Sneak Peeks
  • From the DC Comics Vault – Two Bonus Cartoons (Blu-ray™ Deluxe Giftset and Blu-ray™ Combo Pack only)

DVD

  • Sneak Peek – Batman and Harley Quinn: Sneak peek at the next DC Universe Original Movie, featuring the talented creators and voice cast.

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Where the Data Ranks 2016’s Comic Book Films

The summer movie season is over and we’ve seen an interesting year when it comes to comic book films. For months debates have raged as to who is more successful, Marvel or DC, which movies were successes, and which were flops. The answers aren’t so simple and black and white, which is why I like to turn to data to give actual rankings as to who were winners and losers.

So far this year, seven films have been released based on comic books (counting Batman: The Killing Joke). This feature will be weekly until the end of the year, as some films are still in the box-office and there’s till more to come.

Of note:

  • Doctor Strange currently sits at $673,585,806. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is $35 million ahead so it’s not likely to pass that film, but with some impressive international numbers still coming in, it’s possible. It also will remain far behind Suicide Squad‘s $745.6 million worldwide total putting it in fifth for this year’s comic films.
  • Captain America: Civil War looks to be the top grossing film worldwide for 2016 though Rogue One is challenging that. The film earned $1.153 billion worldwide, over $100 million more than the next film. There’s still a chance that Rogue One catches up, but it’s unlikely to happen with $106 million to go. Rogue One did pass the film when it comes to domestic earnings and is the top domestic film of the year. Civil War is third for the year, the best performing comic film.
  • Officer Downe continues to look like it hasn’t earned any more money. When it comes to the below stats, the film is being treated like Batman: The Killing Joke. The film is mostly a video on demand release, so it likely won’t see a wide release.
  • The Chair is currently not included in these stats. While the film is based on a comic, its release was done so through a service where receipts aren’t tracked in traditional ways.
  • DC’s films average $315.5 million a film domestically compared to Marvel’s $302.4 million. Internationally, Marvel earns $476 million and DC earns $446.8 million.

Here’s where this year’s movie crop stands as far as the actual numbers. Numbers are presented with and without The Killing Joke and Officer Downe which did not have an international run or wide release, so was not included in that average to start:

Total Domestic Gross: $1.900 billion ($1.896 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total International Gross: $3.122 billion
Worldwide Gross: $5.022 billion ($5.018 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total Reported Budgets: $1.215 billion ($1.211 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total “Profit”: $3.808 billion ($3.807 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Average Domestic Gross: $270.9 million ($211.1 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average International Gross: $446 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $716.9 million ($558 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Budget: $173 million ($151.8 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Profit: $543.9 million ($476 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Now that we have those numbers down we can get a better idea as to how films have actually done this year. Below are various rankings of where films stand so far and if the films are above average (green), below average (red), or above the overall average but below the adjusted average (yellow):

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LEGO Batman Beats Fifty Shades Darker and John Wick to Win the Weekend Box Office

the-lego-batman-movieThe LEGO Batman Movie topped the box office earning an estimated $55.6 million for its first weekend. The film opened similarly to The LEGO Movie which earned $69 million its opening weekend. Overseas The LEGO Batman Movie earned an estimated $37 million to bring its worldwide total to $92.6 million. With little competition for a while and good word of mouth, the film should do quite well based on its “A-” CinemaScore and 91% approval on RottenTomatoes.

In second place was another new film, Fifty Shades Darker, the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey. The film earned an estimated $46.8 million. That’s an astounding $40 million less than the first film which earned $85.2 million and went on to earn $571 million worldwide. The film did earn $100.1 million from 57 markets for a total of $146.9 million. The original film dropped 74% in its second weekend, so it should be interesting to see how this does. With Valentine’s Day this week, who knows how that’ll factor into things, but it should help.

John Wick: Chapter Two was in third place and also another debut. The film earned an estimated $30 million domestically and $10.6 million from 41 foreign markets. The film received an “A-” CinemaScore and 90% on RottenTomatoes. The original film opened with $14 million domestically and went on to earn $43 million domestically and $43 million in foreign markets.

Split finally drops from first place moving to fourth. The film earned an additional $9.3 million domestically and earned $112.3 million from the domestic box office and $57.1 million from foreign markets for a total of $169.4 million. With a budget of just $9 million, that’s a fantastic return of 18.8 so far (and counting).

Rounding out the top five, Hidden Figures added an estimated $8 million to its total. It currently stands at $131.5 million domestically. It has passed La La Land for domestic earnings, but that film leads for worldwide total.

In more comic film related news, Doctor Strange added $187,000 to its total to bring its domestic total to $232.2 million. Worldwide, the film has earned $673.6 million. We’ll have more of a breakdown as far as 2016’s comic movies in an hour.

Sword Art Online Comes to 500 U.S. Theaters this March

The wildly popular anime series Sword Art Online is set to make its U.S. cinematic premiere with the English subtitled “Sword Art Online The Movie -Ordinal ScaleA Special Event.At this exclusive event, anime fans will experience an all-new adventure with Kirito, Asuna and their party members as they explore the world of “Ordinal Scale,” a new hit game utilizing augmented reality technology.

This one-night event comes to movie theaters on Thursday, March 9 at 8:00 p.m. local time, from Fathom Events, Aniplex of America Inc. and ELEVEN ARTS. In addition to the full-length, English sub-titled feature, the Fathom event will include exclusive content to be announced soon.

Immediately following the Fathom premiere event, “Sword Art Online The Movie-Ordinal Scale-” will kick-off its wide theatrical release.

Tickets for “Sword Art Online The Movie -Ordinal Scale- A Special Eventcan be purchased online or at participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in more than 500 select movie theaters.

The animated TV series Sword Art Online is based on author Reki Kawahara’s light novel of the same name. Since the first volume was published in April 2009, the series has sold more than 12.5 million copies in Japan and 19 million worldwide and spawned two TV anime adaptations, video games, comic books and merchandise.

In “Sword Art Online -Ordinal Scale-” the game’s players find the line between the virtual world and reality beginning to blur, and their worst nightmares coming true. As his fellow players find themselves in danger, Kirito, the hero, is called upon once again. Can he save his friends, or is this going to be game over for him?

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Robert Downey Jr., Tom Holland, and Chris Pratt Introduce us to Avengers: Infinity War

A new video has been released introducing us to Avengers: Infinity War giving us a better sense of the story and what we can expect when it hits theaters. The film brings together all of the Marvel Cinematic characters and then some to face their biggest threat in Thanos.

Movie Review: The LEGO Batman Movie

the-lego-batman-movieSpinning out of The LEGO Movie is The LEGO Batman Movie putting the full focus on the Brick Crusader in his quest to keep Gotham safe. In The LEGO Batman Movie, Bruce Wayne must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted. Directed by Chris McKay, the film is a visual assault filling the screen with hyperkinetic scenes that challenge you to not be overwhelmed by the sheer craziness on the screen. There’s a lot to take in and you won’t catch it all inviting fans to enjoy multiple viewings to catch every joke.

And there’s a lot of them.

With The LEGO Batman Movie, nothing is sacred in the history of Batman and everything is on the table to mock going back to his debut in 1939 in Detective Comics. And that’s the big thing about the film, if you’re a Batman fan, you’ll love it as it’s an homage and spoof of everything that has come before. If you have enough knowledge about Batman’s history and previous experiences on the big and small screen, the movie lands with a barrage of jokes that keep on coming. If you don’t appreciate a “Kapow” your enjoyment may vary.

The film itself is interesting in that it throws it in your face, Batman is really a dick, at least this version is voiced by Will Arnett. A disconnected self-centered manchild who’s all work, Batman/Bruce is focused on making Gotham free from all crime and everything else comes second. Batman is the center of the joke, the film spends an ample amount of time making fun of him and the “character” be exagerating the staples we’ve seen in so many itterations of the 75+ years since his creation. But, it’s not just Batman that’s mocked, there’s ongoing jokes involing Bane and his voice from The Dark Knight Rises, D-list villains, Michael Jackson, and the very concept of it all. I found myself laughing more during the film’s 1 hour and 44 minutes than I have in many comedies and where I wasn’t laughing, I had a smile on my face.

The lessons you’d expect in a film aimed at kids are all there, learning to work as a team, not being mean, trusting others, believing in one’s self, it’s pretty much the same basic formula as The LEGO Movie and that’s not a bad thing. It generally works being there for the kids while the adults can focus on nostalgia.

Where that underlying theme of the film fails is the pacing. As I said, the film can only be described as kinetic and a visual assault at times (not negative things) which makes the quieter moments drag on a bit too much. When the film attempts to “get serious” it drags and that adds up to a movie that’s about 20 minutes too long (the kids were getting a little restless by the end in my screening). The end solution presented to save the day is a bit cheesy as well, as if the writers weren’t sure what to do to resolve the problem.

The thing I love about the film is clearly the injokes about Batman and his history, but there’s so many more nods and winks throughout the movie, it was hard to keep track of everything. Ferris Air, Lex Corp, the background is as packed with jokes and nods to comics fans as what’s right in front of you. At times it’s hard to know where exactly I should be paying attention and focusing, there’s so much thrown out there at once. And it’s that willing to have fun and throw things in that really makes the film work. While it has “Batman” in the title, everything Warner Bros. is on the table, and the less said the better about that. The twist leading to the final showdown is part of the fun so avoid spoilers!

The voice work is pretty solid with a who’s who of talent including Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Siri, Zach Galifanakis, Jenny Slate, Jason Mantzoukas, Conan O’Brien, Doug Benson, Billy Dee Williams, Zoë Kravitz, Kate Micucci, Eddie Izzard, Seth Green, Jermaine Clement, Ellie Kemper, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Adam Devine, Hector Elizonda, Maruah Carey, Ralp Garman, Chris Hardwick, and so many more. The film is packed with talent and you don’t even realize it until the credits role at the end. The voices don’t stand out in a negative way, they all blend and work for their characters seemlesly.

The LEGO Batman Movie had a high hurdle to get over after the success of The LEGO Movie and the film clearly knows this. It doesn’t attempt to recreate the magic of that first film instead focusing on its own thing and formula. And with that, The LEGO Batman Movie beats its greatest villain, high expectations. I saw it once already and can’t wait to go again to see what I missed and laugh all over again.

Overall Rating: 8.65

Warner Bros. provided Graphic Policy with a FREE screening of the film

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