Continuing from the Lego Movie, Lego Batman (voiced by Arrested Developments Will Arnett) is an egocentric narcissist with intimacy issues, who must overcome his flaws to learn a lesson in teamwork and trust to defeat his greatest enemy, the Joker.
The film uses the same colourful and vibrant aesthetic that was used in the Lego Movie; a faux stop-motion feel using computer generated Lego pieces to construct the world, right down to clouds, fire and Godzilla’s atomic breath. I am a great fan of stop motion animation, and though I was disappointed to find out that this and the Lego movie were digital animations, there is a great energy to the animation, which immediately endears the world to the audience. It is visually interesting and entertaining with hidden gags that demand a rewatch to pick them all up. Though the screen gets too busy at times, with the large action sequences and explosions, it is well paced enough to let audiences rest between all-out bouts of madness. The visuals are paired with a stellar soundtrack, the stand outs of which are Patrick Stump’s ode to Batman “Who’s the (Bat)Man” complete with tax evasion joke, and the end credits song “Friends Are Family” by Oh, Hush!
The story itself is a little simplistic and overdone; man must learn to accept others. But the characters are what makes this film entertaining. The fact that Batman throws a tantrum, and that The Joker makes a comparison between him antagonising Batman and a couple dating, makes it entirely deconsconstructive.
The voice cast does a fantastic job with the excellent written material, written in part by Seth Grahame-Smith, the man behind the mash-up novels Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Packed with big name stars like Ralph Fiennes, Eddie Izzard, Zach Galifianakis, and Rosario Dawson, they fire out gags at 100 miles an hour. Though the stand out is Will Arnett as Batman, an insecure, stroppy child of a man. Michael Cera also pulls in the perfect counterpart as a dweeby innocent Dick Grayson, which is a perfect representation of the Batman and Robin’s relationship in the comics.
The Lego Batman Movie clearly has a deep understanding and passion for the cultural icons that they are using, with references to every era of Batman’s long and bizarre history. But it also knows that they’re not perfect, taking apart cliches and slightly outdated conventions in clever and comedic ways.
While it is certainly not as original, surprising or as clever as The Lego Movie, it is probably only because The Lego Batman Movie came out after The Lego Movie. The Lego Batman movie is fun; it is plain old fashion family fun. While children will enjoy The Lego Batman Movie for the great writing, amazing action sequences and stunning animation, adults will enjoy the great writing, amazing action sequences and stunning animation.