The Lego Batman Movie Isn’t What The Trailer Advertised — & That’s A Good Thing

Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.
Warning: This post contains spoilers about The Lego Batman Movie. If you've seen the previews for The Lego Batman Movie, you might remember a scene when Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) says she's had a "great first day" on the job as Gotham's new police commissioner, but Batman (Will Arnett) mishears her as saying "great first date." Other clips show Batman hearing "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" the first time he sees her. The teasers clearly want audiences to think that at least part of the film's plot will be a budding romance between Bruce and Barbara (who becomes Batgirl by the end of the film). The song did end up in the film's final version, although in the very beginning, Batman/Bruce is definitely attracted to Barbara. But thankfully, after those initial scenes — the "first date" line ended up being cut from the movie — there wasn't actually any romantic tension between the two. Barbara's character was a strong, independent woman, and one of the best parts of the movie; it's just too bad that she was advertised primarily as Batman's love interest. Barbara comes into Gotham's police scene with a sweeping plan: Work with Batman, instead of just projecting the bat signal. Batman, like most vigilante superheroes, has no intention of working with law enforcement. But Barbara is, frankly, smarter than him; if it weren't for her, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) would have literally died. The overarching premise of The Lego Batman Movie is simple and endearing, if not overly sweet: Batman is lonely. He has no one to come home to at the end of the day (other than Alfred). He won't even admit that the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) is his biggest rival. And then, Bruce unwittingly adopts an orphan, Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), who, yes, becomes Robin. It's only natural to presume that Bruce and Barbara will be together — but, to the movie's credit, they aren't. At the end of the film (spoiler!), Bruce, Barbara, Dick, and Alfred define themselves as a family, but it's more of a "framily" situation. Batman refers to her as a "platonic" coworker, and his attraction to her doesn't get mentioned again. (Although, if there's ever a sequel to this movie, it's not out of the question.)

The Lego Batman Movie
is charming for viewers of all ages, although probably more so for adults; the children in my theater didn't seem to laugh while watching it. And its lack of romance was a welcome surprise. Batgirl really was her own character, not just a sidekick. If Warner Bros. makes another animated Lego movie that goes to theaters, I'd love to see Batgirl as the star. If we have to sit through Batman's beatboxing attempts, we deserve to see what Barbara's hidden talents are, too.

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