Movie Review: ‘The Lego Batman Movie’
Director: Chris McKay
Cast: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Zack Galifianakis, Ralph Fiennes, Jenny Slate, Siri (yes, really)
Plot: In spite of prodding by Alfred, Batman is unwilling to face up to his greatest fear: being part of a family. Instead he lives a desperately lonely life. Meanwhile, the Joker is saddened to learn that Batman doesn’t consider him his arch-enemy and concocts a plan to be sent to the Negative Zone.
Review: To clear things up for those not in the know…this is not an adaptation of Batman the comic character. Instead this is a spin-off from The Lego Movie which recast the character Batman as an obnoxious and arrogant parody of himself. In short, this is a version of Batman from the asshole dimension. If you want to see what happens when this Batman meets the ‘real’ Batman you just need to play Lego Dimensions.
So we join this parallel version of Batman in his own Gotham city, which is something of a mash-up of all previous versions. Making reference to previous Batman film and TV shows is a running gag in this movie with many classic images from pretty much everything being recreated in plastic brick format. There’s also plenty of fun being poked at some of the stranger moments in Batman’s 80 year comic history. Almost all the ridiculous C-List villains get a shout out from Crazy Quilt through to Condiment King.
Not that The Lego Batman Movie is trying to make the Batman franchise look bad or point out what’s wrong with it. This feels very much like a loving tribute, and every Batman fan celebrates the many ridiculous moments that have occurred over the decades. Given the massive scale of the franchise there are plenty and they do lend themselves to comedy.
In short, everyone involved with this film is out to have a good time. There’s a lot of love with the characters and nobody is holding back in their delivery of the dialogue. Will Arnett is always worth listening to, but also of note is the INSANE cameos. Siri – yes, that Siri – is credited as the Batcomputer. We also have Billy Dee Williams finally getting the chance to play Two-Face after Tommy Lee Jones stole the role from him just as it got fun. Conan O’Brien plays Riddler, Jason Mantzoukas is Scarecrow, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill return as Superman and Green Lantern, Eddie Izzard is Voldemort (although they had Ralph Fiennes right there), Jemaine Clement is Sauron, Ellie Kempler is a weird block thing in The Void…it’s endless.
When compared to the original Lego Movie the story and concept is a tad lacking. The Lego Movie cleverly played on expectation and took the narrative in an interesting direction in the end. It was full of creative, original characters like Metalbeard and Unikitty. The Lego Batman Movie can’t compete against that freedom to create (ironically given that it’s based on Lego).
As a Lego collector and a massive Batman fan this entire film was giddy fun to watch and no doubt watch again. The scope of success of the movie goes a long way to prove what a great character Batman is even when treated in a ridiculous manner and made out of Lego. The new character designs are all super cool (and make great toys). It’s the kind of movie you can’t help but love. A bit more of Harley Quinn – my favourite Batman villain – would’ve been fun, but we’ll take what we get.
Rating: EIGHT out of TEN