Friday, February 24, 2017

Jimbo Goes To The Movies: 'The Lego Batman Movie' Review (2017)

Next to Batman and Robin, it's the funniest Caped Crusader flick to date. Except, you know, all of the humor is intentional this time around.

By: Jimbo X

Did you people hear about the jury in Missouri that found a a former Dairy Queen manager guilty of involuntary manslaughter because one of her teenage employees committed suicide

Without hyperbole, this is the single most terrifying court ruling of my lifetime. It means we have a precedent now to legally punish people for the actions other people voluntarily decide to take. If the ruling stands, the floodgates of an absolute Orwellian nightmare will swing wide open, and there's virtually no limit to the amount of damage that can follow suit. 

Here's the thing about this particular case. We're not talking a wrongful death that came about because of gross negligence, an actual jury decided that some lard-assed 17-year old loser's suicide was DIRECTLY caused by one woman's actions - in this case, allegedly throwing a cheeseburger at him and supposedly forcing him to clean restaurant equipment on his stomach.

But that woman DIDN'T cause this sad sack land whale by the name of Kenny Suttner to off himself. What CAUSED Suttner to kill himself was Suttner consciously deciding to kill himself. Not only is the bulk of the blame for the suicide on his part, LITERALLY the only person you can blame for his death is his goddamn self.

The way this sorry assed jury saw it, though, is that this Dairy Queen bitch is RESPONSIBLE for tons of fun's death in the same way a drunk driver is responsible for the death of someone he rear ends in an accidental collision, or the same way a theme park with faulty wiring in its swimming pool is responsible for a guest getting executed. The actual physical harm that resulted in Suttner's death wasn't the consequence of his manager's actions, nor was his manager's gross incompetence and/or negligence physically responsible for Suttner's death. That's not opinion. That's a concrete, indisputable fact. 

So what the court decided was that even though Suttner and Suttner alone decided to kill himself via a self-inflicted injury, a person who had absolutely ZERO responsibility for the conscious, voluntary actions of somebody else WAS FOUND RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH.

Am I the only person who sees just how dangerous this kind of thinking is? This is a court of law in the United freaking States of America declaring that even though a person consciously, voluntarily decided to pick up a gun (again, of their own accord and sans ANY sort of coercion whatsoever) and then consciously, voluntarily decided to blow their own brains out, it was actually somebody else responsible for the actions that resulted in death.

What sort of doublespeak New Age hippie-dippie commie New World Order horse shit is this? It's LITERALLY as if a court of law decided that somebody possessed the body of another human being and "forced" him to kill himself. No jokes, no exaggerations - it's the SAME goddamned legal ruling. 

Just how the FUCK did the court decide that this manager bitch and this manager bitch alone was single-handedly responsible for that fatass twerp shooting himself, anyway? It was well documented that chubby tits was picked on at school, so how do you know some kid in geometry class calling him Jabba the Hutt wasn't the moment he decided to commit suicide? Or what if the "trigger" for his suicide didn't have anything at all to do with anybody picking on him? What if he just had an existential epiphany one afternoon that his life wasn't going the way he wanted it to go, he didn't really have a future to look forward to and recognized he had the freedom to end his pointless existence right then and there? 

The court can't possibly know what the kid was thinking before he committed suicide, and even if they did, the indisputable fact of the matter is that HE - not the DQ bitch, not any of the kids at school, not the man in the goddamn moon - was SOLELY responsible for shooting himself. He got the gun. He pointed it to his head. And he pulled the trigger. He's 100 percent responsible for his own demise, and to argue to the contrary isn't just illogical, its abandoning law and science in favor of some sort of metaphysical mysticism. "It's like the ghost of her bullying became a corporeal entity at that moment and TOOK CONTROL OF HIS MIND and MADE HIM self-harm," this jury LITERALLY fucking decided.

Shit, if that holds up in court, then does that mean that every time an employee gets laid off and kills himself, the CEO of said company should be found guilty of manslaughter? I mean, it's a pretty direct cause and effect there: guy A decides guy B should be fired, guy B is sad because guy A shit-canned him, so guy B kills himself because guy A hurt his feelings so much. 

Or what about college students that go crazy and shoot up the campus because they failed a mid-term? I mean, technically, what made the guy pick up an AR-15 and go Rambo III in the library was him getting a bad grade from one of his professors, so why shouldn't we make the professor who failed him legally responsible for the mass shooting altogether?

Hell, why not blame the NFL for domestic abuse incidents? Had the Falcons not blown that lead in the Super Bowl, old Jimmy John Del Ray down at Shady Oaks Mobile Home Community would've won $100, but because they hunched the pooch in overtime, it cost him $300. And, of course, that anger is what compelled him to slap his live-in girlfriend upside the head with a size 10 bowling ball - therefore, the Atlanta Falcons and the NFL should be held legally responsible for Brittani's broken orbital socket.

In all three of the scenarios above, anybody with half a fuckin' brain in their head realizes the free will element. A wholly unrelated thing may have made them angry or upset or suicidal, but the only thing responsible for the dire actions was the person consciously making them. But apparently, that's something the jury in Missouri just couldn't pick up on

Hell, why stop here? Let's say some radical racist motherfucker decides to shoot a mosque or something. How about instead of putting him in prison, we put the people who wrote the blog posts that "red pilled" him on trial for felony murder, since without their hateful rhetoric, he never would've become a rancorous racist killer to begin with

Or shit, how about putting online commenters who call a Tumblrina "fat" or "unattractive" in a federal super max because those hurtful, hurtful words caused her to develop "anxiety" or "depression" or any number of temporary emotions we've recently decided are actually terminal mental illnesses

In fact, simply not agreeing with some sort of LGBT activist on the proper definition of "biological" might be enough to make them feel "unsafe," which in turn could make them less cognizant of their surroundings. So when they trip over a sewer lid they weren't paying any attention to, YOU HOMOPHOBIC TWITTER TERRORISTS ought to be the ones paying for his medical bill. Hey, it's cause and effect, just like the Suttner case, ain't it?

For all the kvetching First Amendment lovers do over "hate speech" proposals, really, it's "anti-bullying laws" that pose the greatest threat to free expression these days. These utterly absurd laws literally reconstitute symbolic actions - i.e., formerly 1A-guaranteed right to speech, print and physical expression - as having the same legal weight as PHYSICALLY attacking someone. That means criticizing someone verbally can literally be reinterpreted in a court of law as the same thing as punching somebody, or shoving their head in a commode; under such horribly, horribly drawn up legislation, calling someone a "homo" or "baboon" can put someone in jail for just as long as someone who sets a car on fire, or even tries to stab somebody. 

And in today's victimization-obsessed society, we're TEACHING kids to soak up perceived persecution like a sponge. Instead of telling kids to overcome their adversities - or even telling them to suck it up and stop taking everything so personally - we're telling them that every teeny, tiny comment or action that makes them feel bad about themselves is a physical crime no different than being raped or whopped upside the head with a cinder block. Even in elementary school, we're telling kids to collect personal aggrievements like Pokemon cards, with the ultimate goal of legally weaponizing criticisms against them to silence anybody who dares disagree with their views.

Instead of telling kids to stand up for themselves, we're telling them to mire in their own pity. The whole point of existence, we're telling our gilded youth, is to purposely get people to feel sorry for you instead of making them respect you with your actions. And above all else, we are utterly hell bent on convincing every boy and girl in America that they are NEVER, EVER responsible for their own actions, and no matter how badly they fuck up, they can always find somebody else to blame for their own failures.

We live in a culture were people wear perceived oppression like merit badges, and you're actually SHOCKED when weak-willed, jelly-spined teenagers who never learnt the virtues of self-respect kill themselves just because some person in a paper hat told them they were making the French fries wrong?

In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis warned us of the wrongheadedness of building men "without chests." Well, this lamentable little affair in Missouri shows us the dire consequences of raising an entire generation without testicles; our culture engineered a bunch of impulsive, wishy-washy little pussies deathly allergic to bruised egos, and if this ruling holds water, Uncle Sam's going to make all of us pay ... perhaps with the eradication of Constitutionally protected expression altogether.

Trust me - this isn't even the obscurest batch of bad guys the movie throws at us.

Speaking of things nobody really wants but we're getting anyway, the Caped Crusader returns to our cineplexes yet again in our flick of the week, The Lego Batman Movie. And to be fair, this is prolly the third best Bat-movie ever, after Burton's 1989 flick and The Dark Knight - unless you want to count the FIRST Lego Movie as a Batman film, at which point this 'un would get bumped down to No. 4 in my books. Then again, if we're also including straight-to-video Bat-movies, it prolly slides down another spot to make room for the criminally underappreciated Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero from 1998 - but hey, enough autism for now, 'cause we're about get hammered by an hour and a half of full-force Asperger's in celluloid form. 

In a lot of ways, this is the dream Bat-movie we've always wanted. It totally does away with all of the sad sack pity partying and clumsy sociopolitical allusions and forced romantic subplots and meandering existential soliloquies that dragged down all the other Bat-movies to give us pure, unadulterated, unfettered superhero carnage, complete with Batman laying waste to literally his entire rogues gallery in the movie's first 10 minutes (and yes, that DOES include a split-second cameo appearance by the Mutant Leader from TDKR.) Of course, this being a kid-targeted parody of the Batman mythos, it's all done firmly tongue-in-cheek, with a million billion Airplane and Naked Gun style in-jokes and sight gags stapling the wall-to-wall explosions and citywide kung-fu fights together.

Naturally, the movie hits some snags whenever its story is forced to resemble an actual plot, but thankfully, those unnecessary slivers of character development and exposition are kept to a minimum. Basically, the film revolves around a pastiche of the iconic Bruce Wayne/Batman dichotomy - specifically highlighting his blase egotism and borderline sadistic misanthropy all the other Bat-movies don't have the Bat-balls to acknowledge - as he slowly learns to work with others to defeat the nefarious Joker (whose latest scheme involves traveling to the Phantom Zone to free a whole bunch of inter-D.C. Comics villains to wreak havoc on Gotham City.)

In between the all-out crossover multiverse mayhem, though, we've (begrudgingly) gotta' do a little bit of story building, and it's glaringly apparent the makers of the movie had no idea what the hell to do when shit wasn't exploding left and right. Indeed, when he isn't punching the Riddler and King Tut in the face, the most interesting things the scriptwriters have Batman do is microwave lobster and watch Jerry Maguire on cable TV.

Things pick up a little when Barbara Gordon is brought in as the town's new police chief (right off the bat she voices concerns about "some guy in a Halloween mask beating up poor people" and how, despite the Dark Knight's vigilante efforts, Gotham City still posts the world's highest crime rate) and our protagonist unwittingly adopts an orphan solely for the purpose of using him as a decoy during a home invasion of Superman's place. But once that stuff's out of the way, the film kicks into hyper-drive, with the last 30 minutes of the movie literally abandoning any pretenses of plot for half an hour of non-stop, slam-bang, all-out "Apocalypse Porn" action in plastic block form. We're talking spaceship dog fights with Gremlins taking chomps out of the aircraft, a Godzilla pastiche tag teaming with Sauron from The Lord of the Rings to literally dismantle the whole city and - the clencher - a climactic Gangs of New York-like barnburner between virtually every Batman villain ever created and practically every bad guy who's ever made an appearance in the Warner Bros. film library. Sure, sure, there's not a whole lot of stuff here for you to think about in this one, but come on - you honestly think I'm going to give a "thumbs down" review to a movie that ends with Robin getting into a fist fight with Bruce the Shark from Jaws and Batman dropkicking King Kong so hard, his head literally explodes?

We've got no dead bodies (can Lego people even die, technically?) No breasts (and for God's sake, if you're looking for 'em in a movie like this, you need more help than I can give you.) One skyjacking. One nuclear power plant siege. Multiple automobile demolition derbies. More explosions than dialogue. Multiple frozen Lego. One karate fight set to a heavy metal version of the old Adam West TV show theme. Gratuitous guitar shredding. Gratuitous beat-boxing. Gratuitous "I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight." Gratuitous "Man in the Mirror." Gratuitous butler kicking. One cat immolated by a lava flow. "One time bomb activated doomsday earthquake. Kung fu. Over-sized wooden mallet Fu. Shark Repellent Fu. And of course, plenty of self-reflexive, self-deprecating, fourth wall shattering slapstick Fu.

Featuring Will Arnett as the voice of Bruce Wayne and Batman, whose dialogue includes such screenwriting gems as "Batman doesn't do 'ships" and uses the phrase "Iron Man sucks" as his computer password; Zach Galifianakis as the voice of The Joker, who's pretty much canonically in love with Batman in this one and refers to the rest of the Bat-bad guy staples as "human farts;" Michael Cera as the voice of Robin, who at one point asks "what's the vigilante policy on cookies?"; Ralph Fiennes as the voice of trusty butler Alfred (who actually breaks out the old 1960s TV show costume for the movie's grand finale); and Rosario Dawson as the voice of Commissioner Babs Gordon, who strikes a pivotal blow for women's rights when she asks Batman if it's OK to call him "Batboy" if he calls her "Batgirl."

Directed by Chris McKay, who helmed the first (and objectively better Lego Movie) and somehow managed to wedge in both a crypto-homosexual subplot and a "Rick-Rolling" joke in a kids' movie in the year 2017. And if you're wondering just how many people it takes to make a movie so gloriously disjointed? The correct answer is five credited screenwriters.

I give it three stars out of four. It's a considerable step down from the 2014 flick, but it's still WAYYYYY better than that three-hour long turd that was Batman v. Superman. Jimbo says give it a gander, as long as you don't mind dragging your date to a movie that's half and half elementary schoolers and stoned college kids.


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