Such was the success of The Lego Movie – both box office terms and reactions – that a sequel of sorts was always on the cards, but rather than jump straight in with a follow-up the creative team decided to tackle one of the original’s true highlights – Batman, or more specifically Will Arnett’s Batman. But do audiences want another funny, colourful, indulgent “Dark” Knight after the mess that was created the last time it was attempted? If it’s The Lego Batman Movie then yes, yes we will.
It was about time that someone, in this case, director Chris McKay and writer Dan Lin, took the “dark” out of the Dark Knight just a little and re-energise the character again that despite Ben Affleck’s recent success it has always been “more of the same”. But with Lego Batman, a freshness is certainly the order of the day – the film “begins” in typical fashion, however, with an absolute cracker of an action set-piece: keen to rid Gotham of Batman (when doesn’t he?) The Joker (Galifianakis) teamed with some/all of the city’s other big baddies to terrorise the city one more time and defeat our hero. “Will this be better than the thing with the boats?” cracks the pilot in one of the many brilliantly timed zingers that reverberate throughout the film that gives the film its edge. A slew of colour and action later and the city is saved, but its impact is lasting on our hero who up to this point has been thriving but faced with a “you can’t live without me” speech from Joker, Bats mind soon begins to wonder and think that maybe his life isn’t quite what he thought after all.
This could a bit of a cop out in terms of a review, but Lego Batman hits pretty much every beat you could want – is the action thrilling? Very much. Is it funny? Darn tootin’. Is it something for all the family? And then some. So perfectly have McKay and Lin captured the same energy and energy of its predecessor while making a thrilling, thrilling Batman film that it’s impossible not to be absorbed by it and jump on board for the ride that expertly combines the best of Burton and Nolan while giving us the sort of comedic zingers that anyone from Adam McKay, the Farrelly Brothers or even Mel Brooks would be proud, such is the precision that every frame is captured.
And of course there’s the loving poking of the Batman mythos itself – we’ve been here before somewhat with the ill-fated “1995-1997 phase” which saw director Joel Schumacher revamp the character laced with double-entendres, nipples and one-liners that signalled a complete non-understanding of the character and all its elements (this comes up a few times here). But Lego Batman is from a place of affection, of sheer love and passion for the history that makes it a playful but affectionate pastiche and why it works so well. And when you add in the brilliant talents of Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Ralph Fiennes, Rosario Dawson and co (all of whom are pitch perfect) it only amplifies all the good work that they do – everything from the cars, the gadgets and those previous incarnations (film and otherwise) get a grilling but such mockery coupled with such tenderness is a match made in heaven.
As rollicking a ride as you could hope for, The Lego Batman Movie is easily on a par with its predecessor and delivers entertainment in spades. Jettisoned into orbit by a witty script that is both knowing and mocking but always affectionate, some stellar voice performances and more Bat-nods than a Bat-branded nodding machine, this could be the most joyous cinema trip of the year.
The Lego Batman Movie is out in cinemas on 10th February.