Hilarious, intelligent and occasionally moving, what's not to love?!
The true definition of a breakout character, it was only a matter of time until Will Arnett’s comically brooding and egotistical Batman from The Lego Movie got his own spin-off movie. Because if you know anything about Hollywood it’s that they can’t get enough of those men in capes. Fortunately, The Lego Batman Movie succeeds at not only being a great animated superhero movie, but also as a riotously entertaining and meta spoof movie; Chris McKay’s spin-off is a home run.
As Gotham’s go to-day saver Batman is a public hero, but amidst all the fame and glory, he’s really just very lonely, secluded in a big house with his butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) and surrounded by bat-related merchandise, vehicles and gadgets. Whilst his arch-nemesis The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) plots to destroy Gotham and… gain Batman’s recognition (!?), Batman must contend with his enemies, his loneliness and the prospect of raising his newly adopted son, Dick Grayson (Michael Cera).
The gruff and husky voiced Arnett again perfectly plays the role of Batman, delivering the arrogance and loneliness of the titular hero that we’ve come to expect from this iteration of the caped crusader. Michael Cera is at his most Michael Cera-iest in a very Michael Cera-type role, his Dick Grayson, perhaps better known as Robin, is the perfect foil to Batman, as is Fiennes’ Alfred – a strict father figure and proud Brit who wants nothing more than for Batman to be a bit more loving and responsible. The genius of the film is how it takes all of Batman’s famous traits and ramps them up to 11, in this sense the father-son trio take on their relationships work wonders. And Batman’s loneliness and insistence to work alone translates into a fun relationship with Rosario Dawson’s Barbra Gordon, the film has such a strong grasp on its heroes and who they are in relation to one another. The emotional core is all about family, trust and realising when you need to say “I need help”; it may get a little lost in the shuffle of the humour at times, but it’s still very resonant and feels truly justified for a kid’s film.
As a visual experience, The Lego Batman Movie is just as stunning as Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s franchise starter from 2014. As vibrant as it all is, there are some great action set pieces to further the medium and dial-up the sheer inventiveness of it all, the visual comedy fitting in nicely. Filled with quips, puns, one liners and meta humour, the comedy works a treat, there may be a little too much thrown in for one to keep on top of but it’s side-splitting stuff. Listen out for the numerous jokes made at the expense of the likes of Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, it makes you wonder just how they managed to sneak these one liners in under Warner Bros’ noses. At times, The Lego Batman Movie is like Deadpool for kids; they’re not afraid to parody the superhero genre, the cliched drama of it all, and the big end of the world stakes (they’re hilariously amplified to great effect here).
From top to bottom it’s just a euphoric experience, never before has Batman been this downbeat but so hilarious all in one go. It takes all of the “what ifs” of Batman films, characters and stories of the past and actualises them in glorious fashion. The wit and intelligence is so unique, this movie even rick rolled me and I’m not even mad! With its finger on the pulse of modern-day trends, Batman history and fine movie making, The Lego Batman Movie is a triumphant, if occasionally over stuffed, delight.
The Lego Batman Movie, directed by Chris McKay, is distributed in the UK by Warner Bros. Pictures. Certificate U.