REVIEW: The LEGO Batman Movie

At the time of writing, it’s been 714 days. That’s 17,136 long hours since the 87th Academy Awards; the same ceremony where The LEGO Movie not only didn’t receive a gong, but didn’t receive any recognition whatsoever.

No. That doesn’t anger me one bit. Not. A. Single. Bit.

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Well, in a weird turn of karmic retribution after having stood on all of those small LEGO pieces, the release of The LEGO Batman Movie was too late to be considered for this year’s Oscars. By my lord, if it had have been released a few months sooner, it would have been nominated like eff.

This feature film doesn’t have all the heart of the Chris Pratt predecessor, but it’s fourth-wall breaking, parodying humour makes it a (weirdly) family friendly Deadpool.

Following his popularity in The LEGO Movie, Will Arnett leads The LEGO Batman Movie as the caped crusader. In a totally fresh take on Bruce Wayne’s story, the hero fights to defeat The Joker, but soon realises that he might have to ditch the Lone Ranger schtick, and work with his friends. It is a family film, after all.

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For a film about a toy, the writing is actually pretty grown-up. Batman watches Jerry Maguire; the opening quotes Michael Jackson, and there’s countless references to the good Batman movies (The Dark Knight), the bad Batman movies (Batman vs Superman) and the extremely camp Batman movies, including spinning logo transitions, shark-repellent and visualised onomatopoeia. But it’s not just a film for DC fanboys – there’s plenty of gags throughout the movie, with incredible delivery from Will Arnett, especially.

The general arc of the story is nothing short of hilarious; The Joker treats his ongoing feud with Batman like a relationship, and the whole cause of Gotham’s downfall is over the fact that Batman was “seeing other villains”.

While the sentimentality gets a bit too much at times – we get it, friends are good – the constant jokes more than make up for it. Leave the sentimentality to Pixar, okay? You can have the opportunity to take the piss out of Tom Hardy’s Bane… Which they totally do to full effect.

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Don’t even get me started on the casting. Oh, you got me started. Will Arnett is dry-wit is perfect for Batman, and while he beatboxes and raps a bit too much for my liking, his gravelly tones not only give you a sense of Bruce’s loneliness, but also just rinse all of the previous Dark Knights. The scene stealer, however, is Michael Cera’s ever-enthusiastic Dick Grayson. The relationship between him and Batman is so awkward, but at times heartwarming. And any film that has Ralph Fiennes as part of the cast, but hires Eddie Izzard to voice Lord Voldemort is a masterpiece in my eyes.

It’s bright, its adventurous and – sure, it’s a bit sickening at times – but with a joke every three and a half milliseconds (go on; check. I dare you), The LEGO Batman Movie is most definitely worth a watch. And then definitely worth a second watch, because I promise you’ll have missed 90% of the callbacks and references to the Batman franchise.

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