Release date: 10th February 2017/Watch the trailer here
If there was one standout character in The Lego Movie, it was Will Arnett’s hilariously angsty take on the Caped Crusader. At a time when a good Batman film seems impossible to come by, Lego and Arnett have teamed up once more to show everyone (take note, Zack Snyder) how it should be done.
Despite his alter-ego being the hero of Gotham City, the Bruce Wayne of The Lego Batman Movie leads a lonely existence, with no one but his faithful butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) to share it with. This all changes when, at Commissioner Gordon’s leaving party, Bruce inadvertently adopts a young orphan, Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), while captivated by the new Commissioner, Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson). With the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) determined to cause destruction in Gotham in a bid to prove that he’s Batman’s greatest enemy (‘I don’t currently have a bad guy. I’m fighting a few different people… I like to fight around’, Batman tells a teary-eyed Joker), Batman must team up with his new sidekick to save his city one more time.
As with The Lego Movie before it, the plot isn’t really the most vital element of The Lego Batman Movie. It rarely makes much sense, instead feeling like something that’s been ripped straight out of the imagination of an eight-year-old child (which is entirely the point), right down to the part where the Joker descends on Gotham with an army of super-villains that includes Voldemort, Sauron and the T-rex from Jurassic Park.
Instead, what really matters here are the jokes, and thankfully The Lego Batman Movie has a steady and relentless stream of them, the large majority of which land successfully. There’s lots of silly humour for the younger audience members, but older viewers will get a kick out of plenty of tongue-in-cheek references to past Batman movies, including (of course) Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, which don’t manage to escape The Lego Batman Movie joke-free (a highlight is when Batman comments that assembling a team of villains to fight other villains is a terrible idea).
But underneath all of the Lego and the laughs, The Lego Batman Movie has a surprising heart. One of the main focuses of the story is on Batman finally facing his greatest fear: to be part of a family again (although he would argue that his greatest fear is snake-clowns), and when the rapid-fire jokes take a brief emotional pause, the outcome is surprisingly touching.
Try not to expect too much substance from The Lego Batman Movie, though – more than anything else, it’s silly, harmless fun, and fortunately this works 99% of the time, helped largely by its stellar voice cast.
Who would have guessed, a few years ago, that the best Batman film we’d be getting any time soon would be The Lego Batman Movie?