The last time we saw the Caped Crusader on the big screen, he was in the hotly-debated Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Hey, I liked it, so sue me). In a dour mood and off on a killing spree, some cried that it wasn’t the Batman they grew up with while others said it fit more closely with his comic book iteration. Either way, Batman v. Superman found the Dark Knight in a tight spot and in the middle of countless debates/arguments between critics and fans of comic book characters that almost sent film Twitter into flames. Luckily, Batman is back to provide some fun in the form of Legos. The Lego Batman Movie is a spin-off from the hugely successful The Lego Movie, which featured an “all-too-serious-but-trying-to-look-cool” Batman voiced by the wonderful Will Arnett (Arrested Development). Embracing the masked vigilante’s nostalgia from his past iterations along with the Lego universe’s nonsensical humor, The Lego Batman Movie is a hysterical, absolute blast from start to finish.
There are big changes brewing in Gotham, but if Batman (Will Arnett) wants to save the city from the Joker’s hostile takeover, he may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up.
If you enjoyed The Lego Movie, then you’ll most certainly enjoy The Lego Batman Movie just as much. Absurd to the max and making a joke of itself, The Lego Batman Movie pulls out all the stops in an effort to show all that is awesome about Batman. Arnett’s Batman easily could have been stale and annoying, but the script helps shine light on why Batman is so popular and worth cracking jokes about. When the movie mentions the Dark Knight’s past iterations from television and film, ranging from Adam West’s Batman to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and puts those to use as fillers as the main plot progresses, they draw the movie’s biggest laughs. As far as the story goes, it’s straightforward. For the first time, we see Batman open up and cast aside his usual M.O. as a loner in an effort to save Gotham. Luckily, the quest to save Gotham itself was kept under wraps and not shown in any of the marketing. The new twist and the closely-held plot made for a movie that was much better than what I expected walking into the screening. Let’s just say you’re in for a few surprises that help tie The Lego Batman Movie into this Lego universe first established by The Lego Movie.
As far as visuals go, The Lego Batman Movie followed the lead of The Lego Movie with eye-popping, outstanding effects that were much more than mere building blocks with Lego people who move their mouths. Gotham has never before looked so colorful nor has Wayne Manor ever looked so impressive in scale in a movie. But the visuals for The Lego Batman Movie really stand out whenever Batman drives one of the many Batman vehicles he owns or uses one of his high-tech gadgets. Anyone who has ever watched Batman in any form, be it TV or movies, knows that Batman always has numerous gadgets to put to full use. But in The Lego Batman Movie, Batman uses practically his entire arsenal of weaponry/gadgets that make him stand out from other super heroes.
From top to bottom, the voice cast of The Lego Batman Movie is wonderful and hilarious as you would expect. Will Arnett is farcically fantastic as Batman; the movie’s memorable opening sequence includes a catchy tune that establishes Arnett as a pitch-perfect Batman. Michael Cera (Juno) is almost as funny as the voice of Batman’s sidekick, Robin, delivering pun after pun that keep Batman’s head spinning. Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter) as Alfred and Rosario Dawson (Marvel’s Daredevil) as Barbara Gordon are more than adequate as the voices of Batman’s colleagues. Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) as Joker is a nice addition as well. Even though I wish we had heard more of Joker’s maniacal touch throughout the movie, it’s made up though by the surprising amount of humility the Clown Prince of Crime shows when he squares off against Batman.
Thanks to a sharp script and impressive visuals that build upon The Lego Movie, The Lego Batman Movie stands on its own as a worthy spin-off that both adults and kids can equally enjoy. An early contender for Best Animated Movie of the Year, The Lego Batman Movie gives meaning to why it’s so cool to be the Caped Crusader and say, “I’m Batman,” no matter how many times we hear him say it. And as Robin might say, “Holy Harleen Quinzel, Batman. The Batman Lego Movie has more laughs than a barrel of Lego monkeys!”
**Side note, the Fox Force Five is mentioned by Batman in The Lego Batman Movie. Nice touch, Warner Brothers!