Will Arnett’s impetuous Batman makes the leap from supporting character in the awesome Lego Movie to be lead of his own spin-off – The Lego Batman Movie. He is joined by Zach Galifianakis who voices a touchy feely Joker and Michael Cera in all his geeked out Michael Cera-ness as Batman’s prodigy Robin.
Alongside them is a formidable lineup of A-listers (Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Mariah Carey, Conan O’Brien, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill) taking on infantilized comic book roles. And the result is a welcome antidote to Warner Bros.’s devastatingly subpar superhero offerings of the past year.
In many respects, this is a love story (however absurd) – hence the Valentine’s season release. And just like last year’s Deadpool the timing couldn’t be more perfect for the anti-rom-com audiences.
For the kids, Lego Batman will be a blast because it is visually colourful, contains plenty of child’s play humour, and brings together a lot of their beloved cartoon characters. Older audiences will appreciate all those things. But they will be taken more by the fun story and the way it’s told. They’ll get a few more laughs in from the veiled adult references; like when Batman puts down a forthcoming Joker with some serious break-up talk: “I’m fighting a few different people. I like to fight around. There is no ‘us’. Never will be.” Ouchy!
The music like the movie itself is infectiously boisterous. “Who’s the (Bat) Man” comically performed by Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump leads a perfectly curated soundtrack that features numbers from Cutting Crew, DNCE, Alesso, Tove Lo, and two awesome takes on Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”. The LEGO Dark Knight does his best narcissistic Donald Trump impression over Stump’s gravelly invocations of “Who does the sickest back flips?”, “Who doesn’t skip leg day?”, “Who’s the manliest man?”, with the answer to all these questions being a resounding, “Batman!”.
Every frame of The Lego Batman Movie is filled with snappy visuals and pithy quotables that will appeal differently to all ages. It might even take a second and third watching to catch some of the more clever jokes. It’s an absolutely merited spin-off that takes the self-deprecation and charming levity of The Lego Movie and makes it work even better.
During the end credits, the guy to my right turned over to me with amusement written all over his face and asked: “Why can’t they bring this lightness into their live action movies?” Well, there’s a question for the folks at DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. to ponder then.
Until then, go see The Lego Batman Movie. And remember: Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman.