by Matt Sernaker, Managing Editor,
When evil-doers threaten Gotham City, there’s only one man who can save the day: LEGO BATMAN! Will Arnett (The LEGO Movie) reprises his role as the LEGO Caped Crusader in the spin-off release of The LEGO Batman Movie. Arnett’s miniature incarnation of Batman was definitely one of the breakout stars from The LEGO Movie, but can his over the top version of The Dark Knight carry an entire film? Yes. Yes, it can.
Believe it or not, The LEGO Batman Movie is a film about relationships. The Joker has assembled an army of Batman’s biggest and baddest villains in an attempt to stop our hero “once and for all.” In one epic opening sequence, Batman proves why he is one of the best superheroes ever created, as he single-handedly saves the day. When The Joker’s darkest secret is revealed, Batman is forced to face some disturbing facts about the Clown Prince of Crime and his thoughts on their “dynamic” (it’s like a classic “Ross and Rachel” moment). Bruce also gets a shock as a new Commissioner is introduced to Gotham, and he finds that he can no longer operate as a “lone wolf.” With help from his newly adopted son, Dick Grayson, Batman will learn the value of teamwork and remember what it means to be a part of a family.
The LEGO Batman Movie is crammed with talented actors, including Will Arnett (Arrested Development) as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Michael Cera (Scott Pilgrim vs the World) as Dick Grayson/Robin, Rosario Dawson (Daredevil) as Barbara Gordon, Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover Trilogy) as The Joker, Billy Dee Williams (Batman – 1989) as Two-Face, Conan O’Brien (Conan) as The Riddler, Doug Benson (You’re The Worst) as Bane, Jenny Slate (Zootopia) as Harley Quinn, Seth Green (Family Guy) as King Kong, Eddie Izzard (Powers) as Voldemort, Channing Tatum (Magic Mike) as Superman, and Jonah Hill (Superbad) as Green Lantern. While Arnett and Cera did co-star together in Arrested Development, I was still pleasantly surprised by the chemistry that the two shared as the Dynamic Duo. Their comedic take on the material and situational humor played very well on screen. As great as Galifianakis is on the big screen, I wasn’t quite sure how he was going to fare as The Joker. While he doesn’t reach the same caliber as Mark Hamill, Heath Ledger, or Jack Nicholson, his vocal talents did work well within the context of a more “emotional” Joker. My biggest disappointment was with Jenny Slate as Harley Quinn. Her voice, unfortunately, detracted from the character, and the vocals in general were jarring. In terms of stunt casting, I was thrilled that Billy Dee Williams finally got the chance to play Two-Face, as he originally placed Harvey Dent in Tim Burton’s Batman. While it was a minor role, it was still fun to hear him as the villain.
One of my favorite elements from The LEGO Batman Movie was the music. The soundtrack selection was solid, and the original songs for Batman worked perfectly to compliment the abundance of situational humor. The opening song during the incredible “Batman Versus The World” sequence was extremely memorable (but not quite to the same level of catchiness as “Everything Is Awesome”).
Minor spoiler comment below (if you’ve seen the trailers, then this isn’t really a spoiler):
I love how the creative team managed to use Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice as a catalyst for this story…Wait, it really was a good thing. Batman’s thoughts on Superman spark some of the controversy, and it really was great to see DC and Warner Brothers allow for a satirical take on some of the criticisms of the live action film. Well played.
For those of you who are Batman fans, you are in for an epic adventure filled with an abundance of comic book history. There are numerous nods to every incarnation of The Dark Knight, from Adam West to Kevin Conroy, and fans are sure to find a reference to their personal favorite version of the title character. For those of you who have less DC knowledge but just loved The Lego Movie, you will surely enjoy this follow-up. I doubt this will be the last that we see of LEGO Batman, and I look forward to more of this version of the character.
ComicsOnline gives The LEGO Batman Movie – 5 out of 5 LEGO bricks that I’ve stepped on in the middle of the night.
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