The LEGO Batman movie doesn’t have the advantage of being unexpectedly wonderful like its 2014 counterpart “The LEGO Movie,” but that doesn’t stop it from being completely, utterly spectacular.
When audiences walked into “The LEGO Movie,” most were expecting a children’s movie that reflected current LEGO television and direct-to-video offerings. What moviegoers ended up with was a piece of pop-culture brilliance wrapped in tiny plastic bricks and featuring an engaging all-star voice cast. When “The LEGO Batman Movie” was announced, expectations were rightfully high.
Luckily, LEGO Batman was ready to deliver.
In a fast-paced movie that falls in line with the original LEGO Movie’s “bigger is better” stylistic tendencies, “The LEGO Batman Movie” is filled to the brim with more Easter eggs, cameos, characters, and flawless casting choices than you can shake a Bat-stick at. Relentlessly referential but mindful to not stray too deep into fanservice territory, the LEGO Batman movie hits the same stride as its predecessor, à la the Marvel Cinematic Universe juggernaut. There’s a formula in play here, and it works. It’s appealing to kids, entertaining for adults and endless fun for those well-acquainted with Bruce Wayne’s Bat-family and all associated trappings.
The best thing about “The LEGO Batman Movie,” bar none, is that the filmmakers understand Batman in a way that Zack Snyder and everyone else at the helm of the DC Cinematic Grittyverse never will. This movie speaks the Bat-language just as fluently as Bruce Timm and Grant Morrison, but manages to do it with a song in its heart (spoilers, if you want to go into the movie completely blind, but that link takes place in the first scene. You’ll want to hear and see it again. Trust me.) and a genuine smile. When dealing with the inherent darkness of Batman stories, that bit of lighthearted fun is a welcome reprieve from things we’d like to forget and a callback to better days.
Will Arnett is consistent and hilarious, Ralph Fiennes is a flawlessly deadpan Alfred, Michael Cera’s wide-eyed Dick Grayson is right on the money for 50’s Robin, and Zach Galifianakis’ Joker hits all the right notes. There are more voice cast surprises in store, but why ruin the fun?
LEGO Batman is worth your time. I’d encourage Bat-fans of all ages to go see it and dip their toes into what just might be the best Batman movie since “The Dark Knight.”