The Lego Batman Movie

Batman (Will Arnett) and the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) have had a bit of a falling out. Again, but this time around things are really serious. Batman is unwilling to commit to Joker as his one and only arch villain, so the Joker comes up with the most dastardly of all plans to make The Dark Knight take notice once and for all. Along with the help of Robin (Michael Cera), Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) and Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) Batman takes on some of the most deadly villains of all time, while at the same time learning some lessons about himself and his feelings.

When you think of Batmans gone by the evidence certainly seems to suggest that when it comes to the Dark Knight, it’s the darker the better. Christopher Nolan’s Batman is (pretty much) universally regarded as the finest version of Batman to date with the campy silliness of Joel Schumacer being universally derided. Step forward The Lego Batman Movie. Can the people who brought us the, absolutely superb, Lego Movie make a Batman that’s funny and a good film? Why of course they can.

I must admit that ever since The Lego Batman Movie was announced I was fairly confident that it was going to be a winner. Will Arnett’s stab at the Dark Knight was one of the highlights of the original Lego Movie. The only real question was, could he carry his own film especially when the last 12 months have been Batman fatigue inducing?

Thankfully, the answer is a resounding yes. The film does exactly what you would want from a Lego movie. It picks up where the Lego Movie left off with some brilliant quick fire humour and some superb pop-culture gags. The collection of characters on display perhaps doesn’t rival The Lego Movie but the character that are included are really well realised with some great cameos from completely unexpected sources.

The central premise is actually fairly familiar ground for a Batman story (or indeed an animated movie), even if the way it gets there is a little out of the ordinary. The main story of our hero the loner finally learning to let others in and adapting to life as a family is well trodden ground but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Arnett is just as good as he was last time around but this time he has got great support from Michael Cera as Robin who injects a lot of humour into proceedings and it’s actually one of Michael Cera’s better recent roles. I really like Rosario Dawson as Barabara Gordon but I think my favourite character might have actually been Ralph Fiennes’ Alfred.

The last twelve months have been a bit of a Batman overload and this is his third appearance thanks to Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad. Both of those films talk a dark, gritty (and grey/brown) approach to things and it was all just a bit too relentlessly bleak. The Lego Movie really bucks the trend for a properly dark Dark Knight and injects a healthy dose of humour and silliness. Perhaps this is the shape of things to come, and Batman begins to head back towards the ridiculous, but given the DC movie release slate I can’t see it happening.

I loved the Lego Batman Movie, I don’t think it’s quite as good as The Lego Movie but it’s certainly not too far off. That’s no bad thing though, The Lego Movie was a particularly high bar and even getting close to that is a fine achievement. It’s a movie that rewards long time Batman fans with lots of nice in-jokes and references (I loved Gentleman Ghost) but it is accessible enough even if this is your first Batman movie (although I’m not sure how that’s possible). This is a brilliantly fun and refreshing and perhaps the perfect antidote to the stresses in the world at the moment.

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