2014’s “The Lego Movie” surprised fans two fold, not just by being an excellent movie, but by turning Batman in to one of the funniest supporting characters in an animated movie since—well ever. “The Lego Batman Movie” initially had me very skeptical as to how far they could stretch the hilarious side character in to his own feature film, and shocking enough Lego Batman’s spin off is fantastic. It’s laugh out loud funny, very clever, and has a bonafide appeal to both hardcore fans and new audiences looking for a giggle or two. Like the original movie that spawned it, “The Lego Batman Movie” garners a myriad absurdity and off the wall hilarity that will keep many viewers laughing almost non-stop, but the writing team also injects a lot of heart. While Batman is a self confident, obnoxious, egomaniac in love with his own vigilante persona, he’s also a man who doesn’t realize much of it is hollow without a family or someone to lean on.
Will Arnett thankfully returns to play one of the best animated Batman iterations of all time, giving the character the necessary mystique while also adding a strong sense of superiority that makes him both lovable and irritating. Arnett is Batman the defender of Gotham city who is packed with gadgets, robots, and the like that he uses to help Commissioner Gordon fight the scourge of the city. He’s surprised when Gordon steps down and hands the job over to his daughter Barbara, who has plans to not only decrease Batman’s importance, but also work with him to fight crime. But Bruce is dead set on working alone, since he’s a loner, and it’s his motto. Though he’s threatened by Barbara, he’s also in love with her and during a publicized party celebrating her, he accidentally agrees to adopt young orphan Dick Grayson.
Anxious to open up Batman’s world and show him that it’s okay to let people be a part of your life, Batman’s butler Alfred lets Dick in to the operation of Batman, and help him fight crime. But Batman loses his purpose when Joker willingly turns himself over to Barbara allowing himself to be jailed. Confused and bored, Batman looks for a way to permanently be rid of the Joker and show Barbara he’s crucial to Gotham. Star Arnett works well off of a wonderful cast, all of whom provide very enthusiastic performances. Rosario Dawson is a highlight as tough as nails Barbara Gordon, while Michael Cera is provides a dose of fan boy awe and amazement as Dick. There’s also Ralph Fiennes as Alfred, and Zack Galafianakis who is nearly unrecognizable as the Joker. Director Chris McKay packs this movie to the brim with Easter eggs that new and hardcore Batman fans will enjoy.
They thankfully don’t intrude on the film’s narrative and momentum of comedy and action, allowing for a very unique comedic experience that derives laughs from the movie and the character’s unusual history. From the invoking of classic and very obscure Batman villains, to Batman’s place in cinema right down to the Bat nipples, there’s no shortage of material here that pokes fun at the character and pays tribute to him as well. The writers inject a lot of love for Batman’s long sordid mythology, as well as paying homage to pop culture itself with some great cameos by a ton of iconic characters both canon and non-canon, alike. “The Lego Batman Movie” covers all bases as a movie and an experience for hardcore fans both old and young, and for general audiences. It’s easily the best theatrical Batman movie since the Christopher Nolan “The Dark Knight” series.