What follows is some of the most sharply written pastiche I've seen in years, not only because it tackles a subject dear to my heart, but because it manages to be incredibly funny the entire time. The film The Lego Batman Movie reminds me the most of is Mel Brooks' High Anxiety, in that it readily pokes fun at the weak corners of the Batman mythos like the lack of character growth in 70-odd years and villains like Crazy Quilt and Egghead, yet truly loves and admires the source material. The "I've seen this before" segment alone, which briefly (in Lego form) flashes back through every live-action version of Batman right back to Adam West, is a love letter to all of the mad fun that we've had with the Caped Crusader over the years. The overall "message" of the film, insofar as it has one beyond "we love Batman", is that the character of Batman, and thereby the audience, needs to grow up a little and accept that the "unstoppable badarse" version of the character is not merely only one version of the Masked Manhunter, but may not even be the best version.
The Lego Batman Movie is, at some level, a passionate argument for a more "fun" version of Batman to come back to cinema; not something so divisive as the Joel Schumacher films, but at least let's get Robin back, ok? Robin first appeared all of eleven issues of Detective Comics after Batman, but he's only been in two of the eight Batman-titled films since 1989, what the fuck? No, I'm not counting The Dark Knight Rises, and neither should you. What about Batgirl, Nightwing, Batwing or Batwoman? There is so much damn potential in Batwoman alone as a film franchise that I can't believe WB and DC aren't looking at it. I think many forget, or willfully ignore, that Batman is a franchise, not just a single hero, and that the other characters help tell the stories. Batman is the inciting tragedy and ethical centre of the team, Robin and Batgirl are the surrogate children, Nightwing the child who left the nest, Alfred the father-figure, Batwoman the tangential "other" everyone is learning to accept and Azreal is the mentally ill cousin who's really good at that one thing you need done on occasion. This film is great, go buy it so that they make more.