Lego Batman is a riotous time, as insane and fun its 2014 originator but not quite as endearing.
Batman is the hero of Gotham, he is loved and praised by all, despite him being a selfish, arrogant loner living in a huge mansion, at constant odds with his emotions. When super villain Joker sees this weakness and takes advantage of it, The Batman may need to learn “there’s no i in team”.
With the colossal success of 2014’s The Lego Movie, the popularity of the movie franchise Lego video games and the insane abundance of superhero movies these days, a Lego Batman movie is a no-brainer move from Warner Brothers. Not to mention Batman himself in The Lego Movie being a standout voice performance from Will Arnett.
From the insane, flamboyant introduction: Batman literally taking on all of his principle super villains (no really, all of them) while our hero rocks out a tune about how awesome he is, to the dead-stop that is Batman living alone in his massive, echoing mansion (eating Lobster Thermidor) you can really appreciate the energy and fun that we enjoyed so much from the 2014 film. The animation style is a near-stop-motion CGI lunacy which brings the very nature of Lego to life, it is still a fantastically fun thing to see.
The film also captures the nature of Batman far more than a lot of recent movie interpretations (in its own way). This is most evident from his “relationship” with The Joker, which is masterfully and hilariously executed, as well as his friendship with Alfred and the introduction of Robin.
There’s heaps of references and homages: the Bat Cave has not one Batmobile but all of them (1960s, 1980s, The Animated Series, etc) Bane has his voice from Christopher Nolan’s 2012 The Dark Knight Rises but the design of the Arkham Asylum video games, and The Penguin is straight out of Tim Burton’s 1992 Batman Returns (complete with rocket-pack penguins!)
So if you like Batman, you’ll love this. Probably the best light-hearted turn of Batman ever made.
Mild plot-related references ahead
(audible groan from Cinema Cocoa readers)
It isn’t as good as The Lego Movie.
While comparison maybe shouldn’t be made, I was really surprised by the 2014 movie. Not just by its frenetic animation and catchy tunes but also because of its heart. It was, to its very core, a movie about Lego.
It is true that this is a Batman film about Batman but… alright, so the Phantom Zone from DC comics exists and Joker frees its prisoners to fight Batman in an epic finale. But this being Lego… the Phantom Zone includes Sauron… Voldemort… Daleks… Gremlins (from the movie Gremlins) and King Kong.
Maybe I am just a stick-in-the-mud and it is entirely subjective but this kinda took me out of the film a little. I couldn’t help but imagine somehow Superman fought Sauron at some point. With Sauron as the tower of Barad-dur, or whether King Kong really was a “bad guy” or not. That seemed a little harsh.
Maybe I am just being pedantic, but The Lego Movie for me was unique and a literal take on Lego. This feels more like what I expected from that first movie before I saw it; a loud randomness with lots of references and fun animation, and I guess this is what future Lego movies will be like.
Overall I really enjoyed The Lego Batman Movie, I loved spotting and hearing all the references, I loved getting more of Will Arnett’s take on the character and even seeing Robin again on the big screen. While it isn’t going to stick with you as much as the 2014 film, it is still a really fun time!
Additional Marshmallows: Billy Dee Williams reprises his role as Harvey Dent / Two-Face from Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman!
Additional, additional Marshmallows: Apple’s iOS voice-activated assistant Siri is a credited voice actor for the Bat Computer.