How many Batmans do we really need? If superhero fatigue is real then surely the Dark Knight is a prime candidate, with Christopher Nolan’s trilogy rapidly followed by the heavy metal angst of Zach Snyder’s reboot and now The LEGO Batman Movie.
It’s a legacy that the film is well aware of, throwing in numerous knowing jokes about the entire history of Batman on film to great effect. LEGO Batman knows its place in that pantheon, and it’s to entertain. Where Nolan’s trilogy focused on realism and Snyder on darkness, director Chris McKay is keen to send up the very idea of Batman. His loner status, his taste for brooding and his dramatic personality are all easy targets and the script hits them again and again with a steady stream of gags.
Leads Will Arnett as Batman and Michael Cera as Robin are vital to the success of the film’s humour, bringing this brilliant odd couple to the screen with gleeful abandon. They are joined by a whole host of heroes and villains across the pop culture universe, in a kitchen-sink style similar to predecessor The LEGO Movie. Likewise the plot isn’t too dissimilar to countless other superhero films, but here it works thanks to the comedic, family tone – implausible excess works a lot better when you acknowledge how silly it is.
The visual style is as iridescent as The LEGO Movie but adapted brilliantly to the noir trappings of Batman, creating one of the most memorable on-screen Gothams in years.
LEGO Batman is a little formulaic, but delivers enough laughs that it’s hard to care too much. This caped crusader might not be the hero Gotham expects, but after the suffocating gloom of Batman v Superman it’s the one we need right now.
CAST: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Ralph Fiennes, Rosario Dawson, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate
DIRECTOR: Chris McKay
WRITERS: Seth Grahame-Smith and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers (written by); Jared Stern & John Whittington (additional screenplay material by); Bob Kane and Bill Finger (Batman created by); Seth Grahame-Smith (story by)
SYNOPSIS: Bruce Wayne must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted.