screenplay by Seth Grahame-Smith and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers and Jared Stern & John Whittington
directed by Chris McKay
by Walter Chaw Ugly, loud, twenty minutes too long, and half as clever as it thinks it is, Cartoon Network stalwart Chris McKay's The Lego Batman Movie is saved from becoming something other than Shrek: Longform Commercial by a single scene that demonstrates a genuine emotional knowledge of the Batman character: Batman (a returning Will Arnett), after a long day of antic motion, stays up by himself in his immense, empty home, gazing at a picture of his dead parents and wishing they could have seen how he turned out. It happens early, though, and the rest of the picture's content to make fun of DC lore ("It's worth a Google!" says Joker (voiced by Zach Galifianakis), having listed a few of the stupider villains in Batman's rogue's gallery) while attempting occasional earnestness here and there along the long road to the standard kid-fare message of "family is where you find it." The Lego Batman Movie is both fan-pleasing and self-loathing, placing it in the company of the wave of faux-nostalgia garbage millennials wear now like that tenth-generation McGinty claiming Irish heritage on St. Patrick's Day. A low bar for inauthenticity, and by the third or fourth joke about how corny the old TV show is, you remember the old TV show had more meta intelligence in any ten minutes of a given episode than the whole of this exhausting exercise.