“The Lego Batman Movie” follows Batman/Bruce Wayne (Will Arnett) as he takes pride in the fact that he’s the sole vigilante fighting crime and saving Gotham City. His lifelong mentor and butler, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), pleads with Wayne that he must face his fear of becoming a part of a family. Batman’s lone vigilante status is threatened when the new commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) demands that he works with her and an orphan he forgot he adopted, Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), wants to be his sidekick. Meanwhile, Joker (Zach Galifianakis), upset that Batman refuses to call him his archenemies, comes up with a plan that will prove to Batman that he is indeed, his ultimate enemy.
Coming off the surprise success of 2014’s “The Lego Movie,” the decision to make a feature length spin-off of one of the stand out characters made perfect sense, given the character’s rich history and long list of characters to toy around with. Thankfully, this decision paid off, as “The Lego Batman Movie” is one of the most enjoyable animated films in recent memory.
Will Arnett does a magnificent job at voicing an over-the-top man-child version of the Caped Crusader. Not only does he utilize his natural comedic talent to add to the jokes he’s given, he also helps develop the themes of isolation and fear of commitment in a way that’s both mature and kid friendly. The exploration of these themes makes the film more than just a “kid’s film.”
The supporting cast is also great. Michael Cera gives his best performance since “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” as Robin. He gives this incarnation an adorable eagerness to be a part of a family. Fiennes is essentially this film’s version of Morgan Freeman from “The Lego Movie,” who is the mentor figure with a very dry sense of humor. The film even features Billy Dee Williams reprising his role as Harvey Dent/Two-Face from the first Tim Burton “Batman” film from 1989.
The animation showcased here is fantastic. Even though it’s computer animated, the film chose to give it a stop motion feel to the movement of the characters and the world surrounding them. The quality of the animation has improved since “The Lego Movie” in that there’s more texture on the lego minifigures and bricks and more vibrant use of bright colors.
Part of the fun to be had with this film is the tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. The film pokes fun at a lot of the cliches of the Batman lore, like the overly complicated villainous plan that Batman has to stop as well as how he doesn’t actually keep criminals in jail. One of the funniest running gags of the film is how they portray the relationship between Joker and Batman. The film treats their interactions with dialogue that is similar to cheesy romantic film. The film also contains some hilarious jabs at “Suicide Squad.”
“The Lego Batman Movie” is a highly entertaining film that will satisfy audiences of all ages. If anything, “The Lego Batman Movie” just might be the best Batman movie ever made yet. The solo Batman movie starring Ben Affleck now has competition.