As a 24-year-old man-child, I love Lego. I also love Batman and am a massive fan of almost all interpretations, yes, I can even tolerate ‘Batfleck’. Thus, I was excited to see what the team behind the surprisingly deep and hilarious ‘Lego Movie’ could do with the caped crusader. I was not disappointed. I haven’t laughed so hard at a film in a long time and whether you’re a long time Batman fan like me, or a casual viewer, there is plenty of enjoyment to be found for kids and adults alike in this clever, fast paced adventure-comedy.
This movie loves to bask in self-referential humour at the expense of both properties, pulling off almost all of its jokes seamlessly. Jokes about being made of Lego, satire of wider pop culture and most amazingly of all; in jokes relating to Batman’s history on the big screen. In no world should a Batman movie with both the serious, gritty Tom Hardy interpretation of Bane and the shark repellent bat spray from the 60’s be allowed to exist. And yet ‘The Lego Batman movie’ makes it happen by creating an atmosphere that is driven purely by fun and sheer escapism. In a genius move, it also reinvigorates a tired, traditional Batman plot involving the inability to accept support and translate it in a way that is far more emotionally affective than most prior interpretations on the big screen (I’m looking at you, Joel Schumacher).
The voice cast is extensive, eclectic and random but totally works for this kind of film. There are far too many to name, but clear frontrunners are Will Arnett, who hilariously and overtly parodies the Christian Bale style voice, a common criticism of the newer versions of the Dark Knight. I also never knew how much I needed Michael Cera as Robin. The dude is just side splittingly hilarious in every scene he’s in. Zach Galifianakis is passable as the Joker, but doesn’t give quite the large enough presence to play the crown prince of crime, coming off a little too subdued. ‘Subdued’ is not a word I ever thought I’d use to describe Zach Galifianakis. The wider supporting cast is also tremendous, though I’m hasty to comment on anything due to it drifting into spoiler territory. Just remember how many franchises Lego have available to them and imagine the most insane plot. It’s probably not as mental, yet hilarious, as this movie’s.
Though it worked within the context of the picture, the soundtrack isn’t to my taste and mainly consists of cheesy current pop songs, or cheesy covers of older pop songs. However, they are consistent with the equally cheesy and ridiculous tone of the movie, so the soundtrack gets a pass. As a Bat-fan, I would’ve liked some orchestral allusions to the work of Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer or Shirley Walker as well as the iconic 1966 tv show theme, though I’m probably just being greedy at this point.
In review, ‘The Lego Batman movie’ achieves what it sets out to do in spades. It’s a celebration of the entire history of the caped crusader acknowledging even the most obscure elements of the Dark Knight’s past. It perfectly satirises the darker renaissance of the post-Burton world, while also paying tribute to it. Perhaps the funniest film of last year, it relies on a sharp wit, a bright, colourful visual style that is a feast to the eyes and a brilliant use of the various intellectual properties available to Lego. It’s highly recommended to viewers of any age, but in particular to long time Batman fans who aren’t above poking fun at the sillier elements of their favourite hero.