I enjoyed this more than Suicide Squad and Batman Vs Superman combined. A minute into it I was laughing, by the end my face hurt from the length of time I was smiling at this fantastic entry in the Lego franchise.
Will Arnett’s uber macho caped crusader really enjoys his own company, for a while at least. He’s hard on crime but easy on the eye. He’s adamant that he works best solo, he cares about his legacy, he’s very much stuck in his ways. The movie makes batman face the ultimate question, ‘what happens when there’s no more crime?’, it’s the kind of question fan’s of the DC legend would talk amongst themselves in the ‘what if?’ conversation. Batman is forced to look at his own relevance to his troubled city of Gotham, as much as he’s beloved as both Bruce Wayne and as the dark knight, he’s made surprisingly complex here. There’s an arc of him I didn’t expect which made it all the more refreshing towards the end. He also likes Jerry Maguire…..yeah that’s right, Batman likes romantic movies, not quite the way you’d expect however.
The animation is consistently superb with such a wild, fast paced energy that you’re bound to miss the many references and jokes which in turn could add to it’s replay quality.
The voice cast is pretty stacked, Michael Cera’s Dick Grayson or Robin has the kind of excitement and enthusiasm that can barely be contained, he may just split in two of his own glee and affinity for Batman. Ralph Fiennes’ Alfred is the companion as we’ve always known him to be but done with such dry humour. Barbara Gordon is pretty much what Rosario Dawson does with many of her characters; strong willed, bad ass and the voice of reason. We also get Mariah Carey, Conan O’Brien, Zoe Kravitz, Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum and plenty others.
The relationship between Batman and The Joker (voiced with menacing delight by Zach Galifianakis) is lampooned in a way that’s so melodramatic that veers dangerously close to homoeroticism, something in which I’m hoping people don’t pick up on too much. For a while I was rooting for The Joker as he was made to be tenderised and underestimated more often than not. Batman makes him less significant at the fact that it’s inevitable that his plans will be foiled no matter what, even if he always gets away.
The movie has no shortage of references of the Batman universe, spoofing that of the 1966 version with Adam West, The Tim Burton flicks and The Dark Knight trilogy. Comic book aficionados can appreciate this as well as the whole family, even with the rude humour and very mild bad language afoot. It’s not confined to comic book culture either, we get those from Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and even King Kong. By the way, whoever voiced Bane in this movie, great job!
The movie is quite cute too, even when there’s guns or lasers being fired they all make ‘pew, pew’ sounds. It’s also heartfelt that unexpectedly almost brought me to tears, tears I somehow fought off. Even the horn in Batman’s batmobile is the theme tune, you know that na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na song. The closing song called ‘Friends are Family’ that has a very ‘Everything is awesome’ vibe going on that’s in it’s own right quite infectious.
After seeing this I’m officially a fan of Phil Lord and Chris Miller who directed 2014’s The Lego Movie (Chris Mckay was the animation co-director on The Lego Movie directs this feature) Even though they serve as executive producers this time round, their irresistible, light-hearted charm is certainly felt.