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The Lego Batman Movie (2017) – Review

“All great movies start with black…”

When The Lego Movie came out a couple of years ago, it defied pretty much everyone’s expectations. Like the general feeling surrounding things like The Emoji Movie, Angry Birds and the as-yet-untitled Tetris Movie (really), there was a collective scrutiny over the idea that there could be any kind of coherent narrative in a film based on such a relatively trivial thing (sure, most of us loved Lego when we were younger, but there was still far more potential for it to crumble than hold together). And yet there it was, this sweet, fun, hilarious movie about little plastic people living in a plastic world where everything was awesome. It actually took me a few watches to fully ‘get’ it, but once I did, I couldn’t believe it had taken so long.

Thankfully, I had no such problems getting on board with the sequel – or rather, quasi-sequel/spin-off (Will Arnett’s Batman was a scene-stealer in The Lego Movie, so it’s no real surprise he got a movie all to himself). The Lego Batman Movie is a joyful, exuberant caper, every bit as fun, funny and rambunctious as its predecessor and packed from start to finish with wit and some terrifically funny lines. One of the most enjoyable things about the script is the balance between esoteric nods intended only for die-hard Batman fans, and those jokes which are just wonderfully transparent. There’s one at the expense of Suicide Squad which I found particularly amusing, as well as another innuendo about Dick ‘Nightwing’ Grayson which might just be my favourite line of the year (I won’t spoil it here, but it’s gold).

A lot of the joy, of course, comes down to Arnett’s voice, which has always been particularly funny even when it’s not the focal point of the work. The combination of his irreverence and deep, gravelly tones lends itself so perfectly to a Lego Bats, and – without being flippant – it’s one of the best incarnations of the Caped Crusader we’ve ever had. Obviously it’s absurd to compare it in any genuine manner to the live-action versions we’ve seen throughout the decades, but there’s nothing wrong with admitting that Batman has rarely been more fun. Yet perhaps even more enjoyable than Arnett’s voice is the Tom Hardy-inspired Bane. I couldn’t help it – every time he spoke I was in fits of laughter.

On that note, while The Lego Movie perhaps boasted a stronger cast of supporting characters, there are still some great ones here (including some excellent voice talent, I should add). Literally every Batman villain shows up, from The Joker to Condiment Man, as well as a few parallel universe bad guys who have been chilling out in the Phantom Zone. Frankly, if seeing Lego Jaws, Lego Sauron and a group of Lego Daleks terrorizing Gotham doesn’t tickle your fancy, this movie isn’t for you.

Having said all this, the film does just about overstay its welcome. In much the same way as the last one, as enjoyable as it is being in this crazy, relentless Lego world, there comes a point where it verges on a bit exhausting. At 100 minutes, this is just as long as it needs to be without really bumping into that problem, but there’s a definite sense that, had it gone on for much longer, it would have begun to grate ever so slightly on the senses (personally I felt it could have still trimmed 10 minutes to reach an even 90 and not been any worse for it).


Verdict:

Bright, silly and non-stop fun from start to finish, The Lego Batman Movie is another home-run in what’s turning out to be a surprisingly successful franchise for Warner Bros. I’m sure they’d like to say the same about the other one…

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆