Review: The Lego Batman Movie
Jack Bottomley, Media Correspondent
Back in 2014 The Lego Movie arrived in cinemas amidst a wave of cynical under-expectation and in an age where Tetris is being considered for a movie franchise and The Emoji Movie is coming soon to cinemas, you cannot blame cinemagoers for being not particularly excited about a movie backed by a toy company.
However when rave reviews came in and consequently more audiences went to see the film, we all soon realised this was not just a film made to sell toys, it was a film made with imagination, joy and emotive twists. And now, after he was a scene stealer in the aforementioned film, Lego Batman is getting his own film with expectations being ironically sky high this time around.
The story sees Batman/Bruce Wayne (voiced by Will Arnett) lead a perfect life as a much loved crimefighter in Gotham.
However it is lonelier being a crimefighter than you would think. New commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) takes over and intends to work closer with Batman, just as an eager young orphan (Michael Cera) wants to be taken under Batman's wing.
It seems the dark knight may have to confront the idea of working or living with others, but he better get used to it quickly as The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) is planning something dastardly.
Fans of The Lego Movie's anarchic brand of comedy will be pleased to hear that The Lego Batman Movie follows suit with a colourful, entertaining and funny adventure, which is made with affection for DC Comics and everything Batman.
From gags at the expense of Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice's downbeat mood or Suicide Squad's unrealistic concept to a plethora of parodies of the many different cinematic Batman outings over the years, this is a film that has lots of references for adults.
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The film opens in an astounding manner, with an opening stretch that wouldn't feel out of place in a serious Batman caper. In fact the first 20 or so minutes of the movie is literally perfect (with an early song number - Patrick Stump's "Who's The (Bat)Man" - being pure genius) and sets the film off to a great start.
Sadly, while never less than good fun, the film does lose its way a bit at times, with some repetitive jokes (the Batman beep bop gag wears heavily) and a final third that feels a bit too unnecessarily hectic.
The Lego Movie was an amalgamation of different brands, franchises and cultural icons and thus worked but with this film the movie was focused on DC Comics and Batman and did not necessarily need to recruit other brands.
Also, while boasting a great message, the niceties of the end (particularly a cringey and (annoyingly) catchy closing song) jarred a tad with the better parts of the movie and the character of Batman.
This said, these flaws hardly capsize a great family viewing, and if we are honest it is a little nitpicky to call a kids movie too nice. The Lego Batman Movie features some truly imaginative, painstaking and excellent animation and a brilliant voice cast, lead by Will Arnett's superb send up of Christian Bale's Batman (complete with sore throat Bat voice), in a very human portrayal of The Dark Knight.
While Zach Galifianakis is actually a very effective Joker in his own right, spouting lines you can imagine Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill, Heath Ledger or Jared Leto's previous incarnations of the character taunting Batman with.
There is also some great support from Ralph Fiennes as Alfred, Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon and Michael Cera as Robin. Not to mention a top cast of cameo voices, some of which are ingeniously meta.
Overall, The Lego Batman Movie is big, Batman loving, fun and a treat for fans of any age, which ought to hold up well (or could even be improved by) repeat viewings. Lego's movie universe is off to a great start so far.
Director: Chris McKay
Starring: Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes
Release Date: 10th February
Review: The Lego Batman Movie, 7th February 2017, 16:32 PM