While The LEGO: Batman Movie can be repetitive in its beating of a one-note joke, it's humour and gusto establishes the film as a vibrant and snappy tribute to all things the Dark Knight.
Remember when the idea of a “LEGO Movie” was viewed as a ridiculous concept? Well, time and a talented duo of filmmakers proved the naysayers (including yours truly) wrong, with an awesome time had watching a multitude of pop culture figures in LEGO brick form paraodied in the best way possible for both kids & adults to understand.
A highlight was the portrayal of Batman. Voiced with on pitch gravely gym bro douchiness by Will Arnett (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), his take on an old favourite immediately won over many. Only natural that Arnett get another opportunity to permanently instil his Batman into the lexicon with a solo outing.
While neither The LEGO Movie directors Phil Lord or Chris Miller return to call the shots (the pair do have executive producer credit), a talented filmmaker is tapped in Chris McKay to take the reins. With his experience in the pop culture riffing Robot Chicken TV series, it is a perfect match to the material written by Seth Grahame-Green (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). That McKay & Grahame-Green could go PG wild with all things DC Universe (and beyond) leads to much fun being had. Yet that they couldn’t quite get out of first gear when it came to the films narrative feels like an opportunity wasted.
The movie begins with Batman saving Gotham City from its collective of super villains. When he informs arch nemesis Joker (Zach Galifianakis) that he doesn’t care about anyone or anything but himself, the ego powered superhero realises that his is an existence of self-made loneliness, a condition which perhaps the arrival of orphan boy turn sidekick Dick Grayson/Robin (Michael Cera) and new police commissioner Barbara Godron/Batgirl (Rosario Dawnson) might rectify.
The great thing about The LEGO Batman Movie is its pinpoint precision in the mocking of an iconic character and it's many interpretations. The voice, the moodiness, the workout regime and the ability to alienate even the closest of ally, LEGO interpretations should always be seen as positive spoofs, and The LEGO Batman Movie is as potent and funny a roast as you can find, led by Arnett’s always funny take on the gravelly voiced Batman that the likes of Christian Bale and Ben Affleck have made pop culture lore.
Still, there are many problems abound. At 114 minutes, the film most definitely feels 20 minutes to long. This is due to McKay & Graham-Greene continued recycling of its one-note joke that, while funny, can prove tiresome at times. With so many avenues in the Batman’s 70 odd year lifespan to tap into and playfully mock, one can’t help but feel some opportunity was wasted. But with what McKay has delivered, a fun time is indeed had.