Director: Chris McKay
Starring: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate
After the huge success of ‘The LEGO Movie’ in 2014 , we could all pretty much guess that it would only be a matter of time before Warner Bros. got dollar signs in their eyeballs and were jotting down what else they could make a LEGO film about, aside from the obvious sequel. I don’t think they could have chosen a more iconic character than Batman to start the wave of LEGO movies that are sure to follow, and by god did they do him justice.
Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) replaces her father, Jim Gordon as Commissioner of Gotham City and as part of her plan to clean up the streets, she proposes that Batman (Will Arnett) joins the law enforcement and quits being a vigilante who makes up his own laws. Not being one to work as a team, Batman is left to wallow in his loneliness at Wayne Manor whilst his butler and only confidant, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), drops some home truths about Bruce being afraid of starting his own family. After accidentally adopting Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), Batman takes the energetic and bumbling orphan under his wing and trains him to be his trusty sidekick, Robin. Meanwhile, Joker (Zach Galifianakis) sets up a monstrous master plan to finally make Batman admit that he’s his number one villain, and he enlists the help of some big-name villains to help him out.
The talented voice cast of the film deliver the jokes and gags so brilliantly that I genuinely can’t remember the last time I laughed so much at the cinema. Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson and Ralph Fiennes all had plenty of lines and jokes which they delivered perfectly, and even though we don’t hear much from him, it was great to have Billy Dee Williams reprising his role as Two-Face. Other members of the criminally underused voice cast include Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Seth Green, Mariah Carey, Eddie Izzard, Kate Micucci, and Jenny Slate who all play various characters that either only get one or two sentences of dialogue or are just voices in the background of scenes.
The film takes every single opportunity it can to poke fun at or reference the many different Batman portrayals over the years, various other DC Comics characters, and even the recent DC live action films, including those in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Whilst these jokes and gags will fly straight over the heads of the film’s much younger audience, they’ll get a great laugh out of everyone else. The beauty of it is is that visually the gags are funny too, so the younger audience still get a laugh out of them. The Bat-Computer password even takes a dig at a Marvel character, but the joke doesn’t feel shoehorned in because if we lived in a world of superheros, I could definitely imagine that being Batman’s password. The jokes start from the the second the Warner Bros. logo appears at the beginning and it’s a laugh a minute all the way up to the song at the end.
Sometimes the film focuses on scenes a little longer than needed, time I think could have been better used to give some members of the Justice League more screen time, as we only meet them briefly and it would have been great, in the name of teamwork, to see Batman work alongside them for a bit. The presence of the message behind the film is pretty strong throughout, and at times things get a little bit deeper than I’d expect from a LEGO film. The cleverly timed jokes used to lighten the mood of these scenes don’t diminish the effort gone into subtly relaying the importance of family, trust and teamwork, which could easily have happened given the type of childish humour it uses.
‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ opens in cinemas alongside both ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ and ‘Fifty Shades Darker, and whilst all three are undoubtedly going to be looking at incredible box office numbers, I think there’s a chance Batman can fight his way to the top spot. It’s got something that audiences of all ages are going to love, laugh and maybe even shed a little tear about. Whilst I doubt its accompanying soundtrack will be as memorable as the one from ‘The LEGO Movie’, the main song is pretty catchy, and it’s about Batman, ergo it’s got success written all over it. So basically, everything IS awesome about this film.
Tom’s rating: 8.7 out of 10