There are big changes brewing in Gotham City and if he wants to save the city from the nefarious clutches of The Joker, Batman is going to have to drop his lone vigilante persona. Will Arnett reprises his starring role from The LEGO Movie as the voice of LEGO Batman, aka Bruce Wayne.
Zach Galifianakis (the Hangover films) stars as The Joker and Michael Cera (TV’s Arrested Development) as the orphan Dick Grayson, on his way to becoming Robin. Rosario Dawson (TV’s Daredevil) is new police commissioner Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, while Ralph Fiennes (the Harry Potter films) is Batman’s loyal servant, Alfred. The LEGO Batman Movie is directed by Chris McKay, who served as animation director and editor on The LEGO Movie.
The Joker desperately wants the recognition he feels he richly deserves, although the story primarily focuses upon Batman’s personality. He feels he needs to work alone, to brood on his dark past and generally distance himself from everyone to an extent that is starting to make him seem more than a little bit dysfunctional.
A delicious dry sense of humour greets the opening of Batman’s own personal fiefdom. Within moments I was smitten and looking forward, with great anticipation, to just how the film would play out. I wish I could say I was totally sold thereafter, but truth be told I was far from satisfied because the filmmakers took a more is less approach that failed to ignite. They introduced dozens of peripheral characters, baddies and good guys that played virtually no part in proceedings. I thought the storyline itself was bloated and self-indulgent.
Established early on that for Batman it was a selfish “me, me, me” world, the yarn centred around when “me” became “we”. He would not let Alfred or sidekick Robin or the Commissioner into his crime fighting world.
The Joker is put out because Batman won’t acknowledge that he hates him and that drives the jokester potty, so much so that he plots the destruction of Gotham City. A nice twist is how this comes together in the end. Batman can only be seen to be doing his thing (eventually with Alfred, Robin and the Commissioner in tow) as long as villains like The Joker are out and about. So, good can only be seen to be good when bad is around, if you get my drift.
I am not sure whether that is the right message to send to the kids who will watch this film, but, be that as it may, it provides food for thought. There is action and colour aplenty, but the confrontations all started to look the same to me.
So, some parts of The Lego Batman Movie are fun and inventive and others I found lazy. Overall then, it is a mixed bag that scores a 6½ out of 10.
Director: Chris McKay
Cast: (Voices of) Rosario Dawson, Michael Cera, Will Arnett
Release Date: 30 March 2017
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part – movie review
- The Lego Ninjago Movie – movie review
- Missing Link – film review
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television