The Lego Batman Movie is the spin off from 2014’s smash hit The Lego Movie, starring their version of Batman. Phil Lord and Chris Miller who directed The Lego Movie sadly didn’t return to direct. Instead Chris McKay, who worked as an animator on The Lego Movie and several seasons of Robot Chicken, stepped into to make his directorial debut.
In the film Batman is an extension of who we saw in the original film, a loner who has closed himself off from everyone, even refusing to accept the Joker as his arch nemesis out of fear of forming a connection to anyone. As a result Batman finds himself an incredibly lonely character. The Joker wanting revenge for being shunned teams up with a lot of the greatest villains from pop culture to destroy Gotham. This forces Batman to team up with Robin, who he accidentally adopts, and Barbara Gordon, the new Police Commissioner. Whilst it’s a pretty thin plot, there is a really lovely story about the importance of friends and family, and not closing yourself off to those who care about you.
Where the film really succeeds is the humour. This is truly a film that will appeal to people of all ages, and that goes for the level of humour in it as well. Right from the very beginning I found it hysterical, as did pretty much everyone in the screen I was in, regardless of whether they were young or old. I think that people who are already great fans of Batman in both comics and films will get the most from The Lego Batman Movie. The film has so many references, whether it’s obscure comic villains like The Condiment King, or callbacks to older live action Batman movies. And it’s not just Comic Books that it calls back to, but some of the most famous fantasy and science fiction as well. It may be a little too referential at times, but as a fan of the material I found it hilarious.
The voice cast is excellent. Will Arnett’s performance as Batman is still brilliant following the Lego Movie. Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, and Ralph Fiennes are all added as classic Batman characters Joker, Robin, Barbara Gordon, and Alfred and all bring great and different dimensions to what could be characters that we’d already seen before. On top of this the animation is great. Lego figures don’t offer a huge amount of flexibility, but the animators make you forget about this with their brilliant work. It looks stunning, and is just as impressive as The Lego Movie.
This is certainly one of the most entertaining films this year. The humour is on point, and Batman’s journey is one of the best in any Batman film ever. The story may feel a little lightweight at times, but this is a great and fun film for a whole family.