Reviews: Brick by Brick brilliance – the Lego Batman Movie
The Lego Batman Movie,
Directed by Chris McKay,
Starring Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson,Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate, Billy Dee Williams, Zoë Kravitz
From the makers of The Lego Movie comes one of the greatest adventures for The Dark Knight that has ever come to our silver screens. When the Joker tries to get Batman to admit that they complete each other, but Batman won’t do that, there is only one way to get his attention. The Joker and all the villains in the Dark Knight’s Rogue Gallery give themselves up and find themselves in Arkham Asylum. Not happy to be left without a villain to face Batman and his new adopted son Dick steal a weapon from Superman that will launch The Joker into the Phantom Zone. But this is playing straight into the hands of the Crown Prince of Crime.
What hits you straight from the get go here is that the makers of The Lego Batman Movie know their stuff. They know the villains that he’s faced in the past and we go through nearly all of them, reminding us of some of the lesser criminals that he’s faced, and they push them into the story in a way that makes total sense. There is a love for the characters that we’ve come to know and love over the years and this makes The Lego Batman Movie one of the better films that the Dark Knight has found himself in. A knowledge of the DC Universe, both on film and the comics, will send you laughing harder than just your non-DC fan off the street; I was in stitches for most of the film from start to finish. Although there was a slight drag for me through the middle of the film and it lacked, only slightly, the same heart and punchy feel that The Lego Movie had. This is still going to be one of those films that will join my DVDs or BluRays depending on the cash flow that month.
Batman is facing down the Rogues that Joker has brought together after stealing a plane filled with explosives that is heading to Gotham. The film parodies itself from the start and throws in some movie terms that will just make film buffs smile. As Batman defeats the Rogues he heads home, via the orphanage, to watch Jerry Maguire. When Commissioner Gordon is about to retire and his daughter Barbara takes over, the Joker decides to hand himself, and the rest of the villains, in to be locked away in Arkham. This leave Batman at a loss, knowing that there is some evil plan forming in Joker’,s mind. When Batman or rather Bruce Wayne, mistakenly adopts Dick, the ever faithful Alfred sees a chance at Bruce/Batman having the thing that he is missing the most, a family.
Will Arnett is probably up there close to my favourite performer to play Batman. It’s like he’s inside the head of every fan out there when we wonder what would we do as the caped crusader. Completely insane and yet keeping the character grounded is a hard task to pull off, and yet Arnett does so with the naturally gravelled voice that he has. The rest of the vocal talent on show here, and it’s hugely impressive, is Ralph Fiennes as Alfred, Channing Tatum as Superman, Rosario Dawson as Babs Gordon, Zach Galifianakis as The Joker, and Michael Cera as Dick Grayson. Outside of these performers there are a host of famous names doing voices through the whole film.
The slight drag in the middle of the film is wiped away from your thoughts when The Joker breaks every villain in the Phantom Zone out, and I’m not going to spoil it for you but we don’t just have DC villains in there.
The chaos of the final third of the film, and the life lessons that Batman has to go through, offer that morality lesson for the audience that a children’s movie should have. I would like to point out that obviously this is targeted for children, but as with Lego itself it’s really for the child within us all to go and enjoy (also Lego is far too fab to be left only to kids). Brilliant and insane, with so many laughs, on so many levels this is probably the best Batman film of the decade and will take a lot to beat.