We’ve had more than our fair share of Batman movies over the last couple of decades, and with Ben Affleck set to return soon for the highly anticipated Justice League movie, not to mention his own standalone outing, there’s no sign of them stopping any time soon. The majority of Batman movies don’t usually tend to fall into the category of light-hearted humour though, focusing more on the dark, troubled, brooding aspects of our favourite vigilante loner. So now we have LEGO Batman, here to redress the balance. Still focusing on those dark elements we know and love, but poking fun at them too. And it’s a real blast!
Originally introduced in The LEGO Movie, Will Arnett’s grunting take on Batman was a huge hit in what was already a great movie. So, only natural that he gets a chance to shine in his own movie, especially with such a huge universe of Batman history and villains to explore and have fun with! And we’re not even a few minutes into the movie before we’re hit with pretty much every Batman villain you can think of, including some more obscure and lesser known ones such as Condiment King (the movie even tells you that some of them are worth a Google, to prove they actually exist!) Leading the team of bad guys of course is The Joker, voiced by Zach Galifianakis, with a plot to blow up a huge bomb under Gotham City. Batman saves the day in glorious style, diffusing the bomb with only a second to spare in a hugely enjoyable opener to the movie. But, as we soon discover, the life of the Batman isn’t always high energy action and parties with girls. As he returns to Wayne Manor, impressively resting upon Wayne Island, he’s faced with the daily prospect of being alone in such a huge home – standing around waiting for a microwave meal to cook, watching romantic comedies alone in his big private cinema. The lonely side of being Batman, all handled with great humour.
Our story truly kicks off at a retirement party for Commissioner Gordon, attended by Bruce Wayne. His daughter Barbara is set to take over and we see a show-reel of her recent achievements, highlighting just how much of a super-cop badass she is. Barbara lets Gotham know that the days of relying on Batman are coming to an end as despite nearly eight decades of protecting Gotham, all of his villains are still running amok in the city. Change is coming for our villains too as the Joker struggles to come to terms with the fact Batman doesn’t really see him as his nemesis, or have any real feelings towards him in the same way that somebody like Superman has towards General Zod. The Joker comes up with a plan to release all of the villains from the Phantom Zone that Zod was banished to, so it’s up to Batman to prove to Barbara Gordon that she was wrong about him. And… maybe… just maybe… work with her as part of a team!
The whole movie is just a huge visual feast for the eyes in the same way as LEGO movie was. So much to see and take in, so many villains and other characters vying for screen time and even a few surprise character appearances along the way. And on the whole, it works. Bane had me in stitches for the few occasions he had something to say, a perfect impression of Tom Hardys Bane and just hilarious to see and hear him in such a ridiculous setting. The movie also manages to reference and make fun of pretty much every other version of Batman in the movies, not to mention other recent DC failures. It’s jam packed full of gags and Easter eggs for Batman fans and for me this was as good as, if not better than The LEGO Movie. Great fun.