The LEGO Batman Movie assured its success when it combined two of the great cultural landmarks we as humans have: LEGO and Batman. If you loved 2014’s The LEGO Movie you’ll definitely want to check this one out. Part sequel, part spin-off and certainly the most successful DC movie to grace the big screen in a while.
What these LEGO movies get so very right is that they tap into our childlike wonder, revisiting and expanding on that place we found as kids rooting through tubs of plastic bricks.
They dream up scenarios and masterfully build them on the big screen so we in the audience find ourselves grinning from ear to ear because we instantly recognise the zany nostalgia of it all.
If you had a box of LEGO with Batman in it what adventure would you dream up? What crazy things would you build? What mythos would you lend from to build your ultimate Batstory?
This is what the peeps at Warner Bros dreamed up:
LEGO Batman (Will Arnett) finds himself rendered useless, jobless and alone after Gotham’s entire gallery of rogues, led by arguable arch-nemesis The Joker (Zach Galifianakis), inexplicably surrender to Police Commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) – of course LEGO Batman won’t accept that his crime fighting career is over and co-opts wide-eyed orphan Richard ‘Dick’ Grayson (Michael Cera) into helping him permanently solve the city’s super villain problem.
The movie is crammed with bright, campy designs, plentiful explosions, Batvehicles every kid (and adult) will want, and in-jokes lampooning virtually every aspect of Batman’s 78 year long history.
The LEGO Batman Movie offers twice the frenetic spectacle of The LEGO Movie but not quite as much emotional resonance; but then ultimately this is a Batman movie and there are only so many times we can cry with him over the loss of his parents.
While perhaps lacking the gut-punch impact of its predecessor, this film has enough heart to leave you feeling satisfied you stuck around for the ridiculous ride, and enough action and laughs to make you want to revisit it again and again with friends.
I have 2 minor criticisms.
Firstly: We don’t spend as much time as you’d expect with the Batvillains (Catwoman barely manages a meow!) which is a slight bummer… but maybe in the inevitable sequel?
Secondly: Barbra Gordon looks not at all like her pre-existing LEGO figure and quite a lot like pre-existing DC superheroine and Batfamily-adjacency Starfire* which was distracting for my nerd brain every time she popped up.
See that signal in the sky, go to it.
*Golden skin, purple wardrobe, tower of flaming red hair and who, if you know your comic history, is on-again off-again girlfriend of Robin.
The LEGO Batman Movie is in cinemas from 10 February.