With a sprinkle of nostalgia, Chris McKay affords The Dark Knight a fresh approach…
Batman (Will Arnett) goes on a personal journey to find himself and learn the importance of teamwork and friendship in the hopes of saving Gotham City from a hostile takeover set by his arch nemesis The Joker (Zach Galifianakis).
With the unprecedented critical and commercial success of The Lego Movie back in the summer of 2014, it was only a matter of time before we were afforded a spin-off focussing on the adventures of the movies most enjoyable character. The movies fresh and fun take on the traditional dark and broody DC Comics character was a joy to behold and accentuating his stand out quality was the use of the soundtrack that elevated the character above and beyond even Chris Pratt’s lead protagonist Emmet.
Fast forward almost three years and producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have returned to bring us The Lego Batman Movie, a fun 3D adventure set amongst the backdrop of a crime ridden Gotham City. Lord and Miller have passed the Director’s chair to Chris McKay with writers Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern and John Whittington brought in to produce a fun filled script.
The template for The Lego Movie called for a fresh approach with a prerequisite of not taking itself too seriously, a format that proved to be a recipe for success with fans of all ages and The Lego Batman Movie has replicated this with fantastic results. The movie is entertaining, fun and visually spectacular, utilising the same animation style of its predecessor that will surely prove to be a hit with the fans. With Will Arnett reprising his role from the original movie, Batman is back and better than ever. The traditional dark and brooding character has these qualities in abundance but walking hand in hand with them is his hilarious wit and sarcasm that will have both adults and kids laughing in the aisles.
Much of the story focusses upon a Gotham City over reliant on The Dark Knight and his ability to protect its citizens from the greatest super villains of all time. With Batman at the height of his success he has become as overconfident as he is disconnected from his true feelings, a scenario The Joker is unprepared for. Batman’s arch nemesis treasures their “special” relationship but when The Dark Knight dismisses it as a token bond his world is shattered and therefore hatches a plan to win Batman’s affections.
Batman, on the other hand is blindsided by the beauty of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl (Rosario Dawson), daughter of the police commissioner whose arrival distracts him long enough for him to inadvertently adopt a son in the form of Dick Grayson/Robin (Michael Cera). With The Joker hatching his plan to earn Batman’s affections, The Dark Knight discovers that his emotional disconnection has driven everyone he holds dear away, even long-time rival Superman. And so, Batman set’s off on an emotional journey to rediscover the meaning of family and learn to work with others to save the world as we know it.
The adventure is a fun take on the Batman mythology and pits The Dark Knight against his most dangerous opponent to date…himself. The screenplay boasts an abundance of jokes which are lined with a degree of nostalgia designed to enthral fans of all generations with every incarnation of the title character celebrated with glee. The story follows a tried and tested formula which at times becomes a little tiresome but the ensuing hilarity keeps the movie moving along at pace preventing a time for the viewer to dwell upon it. We are blessed with an abundance of cameos intertwined within the story which are a masterstroke by studio heads at Warner Bros. Many of the greatest villains in the Warner Bros. back catalogue are given the Lego treatment and offer Batman far more than the traditional opponents to vanquish.
I think the biggest and most crucial detraction for me personally is the voice casting of Zach Galifianakis as The Joker. His over excited and often irritating portrayal left me yearning for the voice talents of yesteryear. I’m sure many of you will welcome his depiction of DC’s greatest super villain but Mark Hamill is not in any danger of being replaced in my eyes. Unfortunately, the film does suffer from an over reliance on a tired formula that has been used countless times on many films preceding it and thus, The Lego Batman Movie won’t win any prizes for its originality. But that is a small price to pay for the fun and comedy unfolding on the screen.
The vividness of the original Lego Movie is recreated to great effect but the 3D conversion once again lets the film down. Instead of being visually immersive, I found it offering very little in the way of enhancing the finished film or the experience, a trait that is becoming all too familiar on the Hollywood blockbuster assembly line.
All things aside, the movie is an enthralling experience that is filled with stunning set pieces, jokes aplenty and a tale of family and friendship that is sure to resonate with us all. Who knows, maybe we can all learn something from the moral of the tale. The Lego Batman Movie will almost certainly be a box office smash and ought to earn a well-deserved sequel to build upon the foundations laid down by the masterwork of McKay.
But only time will tell…
Until then…to the Batmobile!!
Overall Score 7/10
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