Starring: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson
Genre: Comedy/ Animation
Vigilante crime fighter Batman (Arnett) is very proud of his reputation as the man who defeats the bad guys, and is even more proud of the fact that he does it alone. However, when Gotham City faces its biggest threat yet, he may well reluctantly have to accept some help, and also face what is possibly his biggest fear; having a family again.
It was a commonly accepted fact that The Lego Movie really did have no right to work just as well as it did, but yet it did actually work very well indeed, and was a slightly bonkers, hilarious and immensely enjoyable film for all generations. Well, when a film has the level of commercial and critical success (the former of course being the most important thing) that The Lego Movie had, then sequels are inevitable. One of the best aspects of The Lego Movie was the character of Batman, and just how Will Arnett’s gravelly voiced character mocked all the clichés associated with the character.
Well, the character getting his own film may seem like not only a bit of a surprise, but is certainly a risk, as it means maintaining that same joke for 90 odd minutes (as well as maybe the inevitable character arcs). Well, the result is most definitely a frenetically entertaining and often hilarious film, but it does feel like a more appropriate title would be An Animated Batman Movie where the Animation Happens to Coincidentally Involve Lego.
Apart from an occasional few moments (usually when the writers cannot think of any other way for characters to get out of a sticky situation) the fact that everything is Lego feels quite irrelevant. There is no doubt that visually the animation of the Lego landscapes is amazingly detailed and colourful – but then so it should be, considering the film’s budget! However, when watching it is often actually quite easy to forget that this is The LEGO Batman Movie.
However, the film is told at such a frenetic pace that is hard to really even consider its flaws as the gag rate is certainly constant, with most definitely more hits than misses. The clichés associated with Batman are quite easy to mock and exaggerate, but yet the screenplay by five various cooks somehow manages to not actually spoil the broth and it only takes advantage of the fact that things do not necessarily have to make too much sense.
Without going into too much detail, the plot involves all sorts of random characters, and not just those from the DC Universe, and again there are just about more hits than misses, but it just means that the pace, gag rate and visuals can be as bonkers as possible.
Of course, a lot of the humour focusses around Will Arnett’s Bale-esque Batman and the clichés associated with his character, and though this brings a predictably cheesy character arc, it is done well enough and with enough humour to be easily forgiven. The best kid’s films have jokes and references that only adults or fanboys will get, and there are also plenty of these to keep those groups happy, with references to all the actual Batman films and indeed the overall DC universe. However, there is inevitably a limit to the range of gags that can be made, which does unavoidably lead to the occasional feeling of repetition. This may well be one of the reasons that the writers introduce all kinds of non-DC characters, but they can only do so much to prevent the repetition, as this is of course all about Batman and his abundance of character clichés.
It definitely lacks the unique creativity and repeat viewing factor of The Lego Movie, but then perhaps any sequel (no matter how good) may do that, and the lack of real danger and total randomness of the events of the plot (including a particularly lame finale) do mean that it never truly grips or engages. However, there is no denying that The Lego Batman Movie is an immensely enjoyable and often hilarious film that will entertain watchers of any generation, but it does just lack that certain something that The Lego Movie had.
Though there are the inevitable feelings of repetition and the total randomness of the plot is a bit too random at times, The Lego Batman Movie is a suitably bonkers, visually stunning and often hilarious film.