Director: Chris McKay
Run Time: 104 minutes
Cast: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis, Conan O’Brien, et al…
Plot (taken from IMDb): A cooler-than-ever Bruce Wayne must deal with the usual suspects as they plan to rule Gotham City, while discovering that he has accidentally adopted a teenage orphan who wishes to become his sidekick.
Following on from the smashing success of The LEGO Movie, director Chris McKay returns with The LEGO Batman Movie. Will Arnett’s Batman and Bruce Wayne were hilarious in The LEGO Movie, but people were concerned that they wouldn’t make the transition from cast members to the lead very well. Sure, Batman has had plenty of great films over the years, but the Batman of The LEGO Movie was far sillier, people were worried that the joke would be spread too thin if only focussed on him. I’m happy to report that The LEGO Batman Movie is awesome.
While not quite as good as The LEGO Movie that precedes it, The LEGO Batman Movie is consistently hilarious for everyone – especially Batman nerds. Throughout the film plenty of references are made to the world and complicated history of the Dark Knight. This is a Batman where everything he has ever done is considered canon. We see images of his early, sillier days right through to the half shambles that was Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Nothing from Batman’s history (not even Condiment King) is safe from mocking in a script that highlights Batman’s ability to be so many things for so many different people.
The LEGO Batman is overly concerned with being cool, to the extent that it’s silly. He has his own theme songs, walks around his mansion with his iconic cowl still placed upon his head and doesn’t have any time for family, preferring darkness instead – Wayne Manor is made cavernous here to emphasise his preferred loneliness. Everything is played for laughs and most of it sticks. Batman’s storied history with The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) is the centre-piece for the Caped Crusader’s struggles here. The opening of the movie shows Joker and a bunch of his other villainous cronies and evil-doers (all taken from the vast world of Batman) trying to take over Gotham by hijacking an aeroplane full of dangerous explosives piloted by two very cheery best friends.
Beneath Gotham’s central core, Joker employs Killer Croc to plant a bomb that should level Gotham – plunging it into an abyss. Batman, of course, single-handedly foils The Joker’s nefarious plot (all accompanied with his own kick-ass soundtrack). He is the hero Gotham deserves, after all. Then we are given what turns out to be the most important discussion Batman has ever had with The Joker – saying that he means nothing too him. Joker’s plot and life goals in utter disarray, Batman goes on his merry way, taking in all of the acclaim and praise of his adoring citizens. Little does he know that a sad Joker is a dangerous one. In the midst of all of this is something that will change the course of Gotham, and Batman’s life forever – the retirement of Commissioner Jim Gordon.
During the retirement gala, Bruce Wayne is besotted by the beauty of Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), whom is given the position of Commissioner, much to Batman’s dismay, by her father Jim, and mistakenly tells orphan (and huge fan) Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) that he will adopt him. To make things worse, The Joker and his band of villains turn up to disrupt the gala, but to everyone’s confusion they all turn themselves in. Convinced that The Joker is up to his normal no-good tricks, Batman decides to investigate, but has to work alone (much to the annoyance of pretty much everybody). In one evening, Bruce Wayne’s way of life is turned on its head. The LEGO Batman Movie follows him trying to learn to work with others and appreciate that they can help.
Seeing Batman slowly learn that others can help is always funny and occasionally touching. We travel across Gotham and beyond (Superman’s party is a treat) in Batman’s quest to stop The Joker’s biggest boner yet. Just as in The LEGO Movie, the jokes come thick and fast, with plenty of pop-culture references as well as the ones for comic-book fans. Indeed, The LEGO Batman Movie, despite its small differences, will feel thematically very familiar to those who have seen The LEGO Movie. It covers a lot of the same ground, in a slightly different way. This is a film about accepting help from others, sharing responsibility and making friends. These are important lessons for everyone to take away, but lessons that should maybe have already been learned.
There’s plenty of action in the film too. We get to see Bats use all sorts of gadgets and tricks he has on his utility belt. A lot of it is overly silly, but it never feels out of place in the pantheon of Batman. Indeed, The LEGO Batman Movie is a fine entry in the Batman series. It’s plot, setting and themes feel perfect for a Batman piece on its own merit. It may be poking fun at the series, but it comes from a heart that knows and loves the series as much as any mega fan ever has. The LEGO Batman Movie is an excellently animated, hilarious Batman film that anyone can enjoy.
The LEGO Batman Movie is a hilarious treat for Batman fans the world over.