After the shock success of 2014’s The LEGO Movie, it comes as no surprise to see one of its best supporting characters spin-off into his own film. The LEGO Batman Movie could have quite easily gone wrong but remarkably, it’s the best Batman film we’ve had for years. Perfectly coupling the comic history of the dark knight with film references to all of the live action iterations of the character (Adam West, Michael Keaton, Christian Bale and even Ben Affleck), this LEGO Batman is simply a joy to watch.
We join LEGO Batman (voiced by Arrested Development star Will Arnett) as he stubbornly refuses to allow anyone or anything to get too close to him personally. Working Gotham City alone, it becomes clear to his trusted butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) that Batman aka Bruce Wayne needs something more in his life.
The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) is mad that Batman doesn’t see him as his greatest nemesis so launches a dastardly plan to bring Gotham to its knees. Bruce, in the meantime, has forgotten that he had mistakenly agreed to mentor an orphan named Dick Grayson (Michael Cera). This wide-eyed idealistic addition to Wayne Manor causes Batman to rethink his policy of working alone. Soon he has a new sidekick named Robin and the two must team up with Batgirl (Rosario Dawson) to save the world from a massive threat that unites some of the best villains the world has ever seen.
The LEGO Batman Movie has a fantastic tone that plays perfectly to all audiences. There’s plenty of bang for your buck and younger audiences will be enthralled by all of the colourful action on display. But the writing is exceptional and gives older fans and adults a genuine story to follow that’s laced with plenty of self-referential comedy. Similar to the best Disney offerings, The LEGO Batman Movie is a film that delivers to an audience of all ages, and that’s an exceptionally hard nut to crack.
The vocal cast are excellent with the likes of Jenny Slate (Harley Quinn), Jason Mantzoukas (Scarecrow), Conan O’Brien (The Riddler), Zoë Kravitz (Catwoman), Kate Micucci (Clayface) and Riki Lindhome (Poison Ivy) all delivering great supporting turns. A particular favourite is Doug Benson voicing Bane and Eddie Izzard is always hilarious as Voldemort (yes THAT Voldemort from Harry Potter). It’s a nice throwback to also have Billy Dee Williams voicing Two-Face (he played Harvey Dent in Tim Burton’s first Batman movie in 1989).
So with a story that’s frequently surprising and always entertaining, The LEGO Batman Movie is a complete success from start to finish. The story is remarkably affecting (take note Zack Snyder) and the comedy all stems from a narrative with genuine heart and affection for its source material. Will Arnett is the crowning glory though, delivering a performance that hits every mark and gives us our favourite Batman since Bale. The LEGO Batman Movie is a big success and hopefully this will usher in a sequel or two in the not-too-distant future.
Cast: Will Arnett, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, Rosario Dawson, Jenny Slate, Jason Mantzoukas, Doug Benson, Eddie Izzard, Conan O’Brien, Zoë Kravitz, Kate Micucci, Riki Lindhome, Billy Dee Williams Director: Chris McKay Writer: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, John Whittington Released By: Warner Bros Certificate: U Duration: 104 mins Release Date: 10th February 2017