A few years ago, a small studio known as Warner Brothers announced that they were reviving their animation arm (which had been famously killed by Looney Tunes: Back in Action) and were beginning their new lease on cartoon life with a film based on LEGO, simply titled The LEGO Movie.
How we laughed at the time. What a silly idea from the once great studio. Mentally we threw The LEGO Movie into a basket full of “misguided nostalgia” like The Smurfs and Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties. But then the movie came out and it…. was AWESOME! So, when an equally ludicrous spin-off – The LEGO Batman Movie – was announced, we all looked on with a degree of anticipation.
The end result is another big win for Warner Brothers, as the movie is almost as good as its predecessor.
The LEGO Batman Movie sees Bruce Wayne/Batman at his lowest point – lonely, depressed and completely unable to form attachments to other people. When, during a confrontation with the Joker, Batman declares that the Joker isn’t in fact his greatest enemy (with that role going to either Bane or Superman, Batman can’t decide), the heartbroken supervillain cooks up a plan that would finally make the masked vigilante notice him. In order to defeat the Joker, Batman must team up with other people, and allow himself to trust allies such as Dick Grayson/Robin, Barbara Gordon/Batgirl and his butler, Alfred Pennyworth, once again.
Will Arnett returns to the role of Batman following his scene stealing performance in The LEGO Movie, and Warner Brothers surrounded him with a top-shelf cast of voice actors. Names like Zach Galifinakis (Joker), Ralph Fiennes (Alfred), Rosario Dawson (Barbara) and Michael Cera (Robin) all add depths to their roles, while the supporting cast contains a whose who list on names including Jenny Slate, Mariah Carey, Eddie Izzard, Seth Green, Billy Dee Williams, Jemaine Clement, Riki Lindhome, Kate Micucci, Conan O’Brien, Zoe Kravitz, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Siri (yes, that Siri). Everyone gets their moment to shine.
Also, your phone now has a more impressive filmography than you do. Congratulations.
The script itself is also incredibly strong. Featuring references galore, and with witty jokes to spare, this film is going to appeal to anyone who claims to enjoy pop culture – and not just from the superhero genre. There are cameos from throughout the franchises associated with LEGO, as was the case with the original film. Also, I’m aware that of all the genres, comedy is the most subjective, but I struggle to see how anyone could get through this movie without descending into a fit of laughter. I mean, it must be possible, a man in my screening managed it – that said, this man looked like he hadn’t experienced an emotion since the Berlin wall fell, so I’m gonna mark him down as an outlier.
It’s very hard to find a negative to discuss with this film, that’s how much I enjoyed it. It was well-paced, fun, with some meaningful moments. If I was nitpicking, I might say that this movie lacked the emotional punch that was experienced in the closing scenes of The LEGO Movie, but it did have an emotional punch that came damn close, and it would probably be unfair to expect something as powerful as that LEGO Movie ending at the end of every movie featuring moving bricks.
The only other negative is that Lord Voldemort cameos in a movie that already stars Ralph Fiennes, and they somehow couldn’t convince Fiennes to voice the dark wizard. Oh well, such is life I suppose.
Don’t worry Potterheads. It’s OK. There’s always a next time….
I’ve ummed and ahhed over the final score of this movie, but in the end, I’ve decided that The LEGO Batman Movie deserves to be the 2nd movie in the LEGO franchise to land itself a perfect 5/5 ranking in my mind, putting the franchise right up there in quality. I still can’t quite believe I’m writing this sentence, but….. I can’t wait to see what LEGO come up with next.
5/5 – A very worthy successor to The LEGO Movie, and a rare big win for DC Studios.