“The Batman” Fell Flat, Man

Photo+Courtesy+Warner+Bros

Photo Courtesy Warner Bros

Kyle Gerstel, Staff Writer

Warning: Spoilers for the film are in this article. If you haven’t seen the film, please watch it first.

“The Batman” (2022) strives to portray a grittier version of the titular character, but ends up as an unmemorable if enjoyable superhero thriller.

Meanwhile, “The LEGO Batman Movie” (2017) is a much more engaging and faithful representation of Batman as a character and franchise. The wacky tone and densely packed humor contrast with the film’s thoughtful, honest representation of loneliness, staying true to the character’s origins while capturing the cheeky tone of the 1960s television series.

“The LEGO Batman Movie” also serves as a deliciously playful addition to the LEGO canon. The use of villains from a variety of Warner Bros. franchises resembles the stories children create while playing.

Honestly, I don’t understand why everyone is talking about “The Batman” when they can be talking about “The LEGO Batman Movie.” As far as villains go, Paul Dano’s reckless Riddler in “The Batman” is delightful, but when the film attempts to give his character depth, it feels trite.

Do you know what villain doesn’t feel trite? Zach Galifinakis’ Joker in “The LEGO Batman Movie.” Some prefer the interpretations of Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger or Joaquin Phoenix, but that’s only because they don’t have the mental capacity to take a LEGO Joker seriously.

Sure, Nicholson is hilarious, Ledger is nightmare-inducing, Phoenix is disturbing and all three are highly entertaining. However, only the LEGO Joker’s rivalry with Batman manages to be emotionally compelling, thought-provoking and uproariously funny.

The Riddler’s social commentary in “The Batman” is intriguing at first, but it lacks a strong arc, muddling the intended meaning and making the climax somewhat tiring. Unsurprisingly, “The LEGO Batman Movie” is much more consistent.

Another issue with “The Batman” is that it simply isn’t disturbing enough. To be fair, “The LEGO Batman Movie” isn’t particularly disturbing either, but it’s only a problem with “The Batman” because the film tries so hard to be dark. “The Batman” is like a teenager trying to be rebellious, but all he really wants is to play with LEGOs.

“The Batman” was fine, but “The LEGO Batman Movie” is a modern cinematic marvel that can be enjoyed by children and mature viewers alike.