‘The Lego Movie’ was a massive international animation sensation. Expected to be yet another run-of-the-mill kids’ film, it instead took quirkiness and hyperactivity to a new level, bringing something creative, passionate and utterly unique to cinema screens. With its financial and critical success, not only was a sequel green-lit, but so were a number of spinoffs. The first, the craftily-titled ’The Lego Batman Movie’, is set to fly into our cinemas - but this time around, will everything be just as awesome?
Gotham City is never peaceful, but it is safe, thanks to the tireless work of Batman. He may have thwarted The Joker’s evil plans time and time again, but this bad guy has come up with the ultimate scheme - one which even The Joker can’t control. Forced out of his slump of solidarity, Batman must rely on the help of his accidentally adopted son, the new mayor and Alfred to save Gotham from its greatest threat and stop the city from tearing apart.
This is definitely not as madcap as the original film, but it wasn’t designed to be. With Batman as our protagonist, the film is given a little more gravitas and grounding, and brings a darker (both visually and tonally) element to the film, taking away some of that bubblegum quality of ‘The Lego Movie’. It’s still quite hilarious, with more in-jokes than you can count - there are no holds barred when riffing on ‘Batman v Superman’ and the rest of Batman’s filmography, his outfits, his ludicrous Bat-weapons, or his backstory.
The endless references are just one part of a clever story. The scriptwriting team haven’t been afraid to keep the plot moving, its hefty momentum meaning you have to pay attention to keep up, and the cleverly crafted lines come thick and fast. There’s a degree of quirkiness intact, with trips to a parallel universe known as the Phantom Zone, or the inclusion of Voldemort and The Daleks amongst the bad guys. That’s what works so nicely in ‘The Lego Batman Movie’: you have the traditional Batman elements with the likes of Batgirl, Robin and The Joker, but with the freedom to invent and imagine new scenarios that allow the film to blaze its own trail. There’s also plenty of visual humour too, which the kids will love. There’s no chance parents or kids will get bored while watching.
There’s no chance parents or kids will get bored while watching.
It’s great to have Will Arnett back in the Batsuit following ‘The Lego Movie’; he was one of the highlights of the film, and it’s easy to see why Warner Bros have chosen Batman to become their first follow-up. Arnett's dry wit is perfect for the role, but he's also able to bring the necessary emotional gravitas when dealing with the familial themes of the film. He’s backed by so many other brilliant voices - Ralph Fiennes as Alfred is the angel to Batman’s devil, and Fiennes plays the long-suffering servant with precision. Michael Cera has perfected the adorkable kid role (despite now being 28 years old), making Batman’s adopted son Dick Grayson equal parts irritating and loveable. Bringing the girl power to the film, Rosario Dawson brings the kick-ass female mayor Barbara Gordon to life.
The animation here is the same phenomenal work used in ‘The Lego Movie’. The pseudo-stop motion look conveys a real affinity for those simple plastic blocks, and watching them assemble and disassemble in front of your eyes will definitely take you back to your childhood. The amount of detail is so immense in every shot, particularly inside the Batcave.
For those looking for ‘The Lego Movie 2’ - well, that’s on its way in 2019, so you'll have to hold on a little longer. ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ is another beast entirely - not better or worse than its predecessor, but different. It’s still jam-packed with humour and silliness, blended with everything we love about Batman lore. You're sure to love it as much as the kids.