Director: Chris McKay
Starring: Will Arnett, Ralph Fiennes & Rosario Dawson
Synopsis: Bruce Wayne must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted.
Rating: U Duration: 104 minutes Release date: 10 February (UK)

It was only three years ago when The Lego Movie plundered its way toward the screen and into hearts and wallets the world over, bringing with it a sense of fun and emotion that would resonate with both children and adults. Within that film was a wonderfully played Batman. Will Arnett did his best Christian Bale impression and both Phil Lord and Chris Miller gave the character humility and humour, while seamlessly mocking it too. Following the success of The Lego Movie, we now have a solo Lego Batman film full of wonderful moments, grand set pieces and a rich character development absent from Batman’s recent outings.

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For a film that packs so much in, The Lego Batman Movie feels very streamlined. Within the first five minutes we have been introduced to virtually every villain from Batman’s back catalogue, you can Google it if you wish, watched the Joker hijack a transport plane while threatening to blow up Gotham City and see Batman take down the bad guys then serenade the audience in a self-indulgent song and dance number. The pace and tone are set straight away and this is exactly what you can expect from the next 100 minutes.

Echoing his cameo in The Lego Movie, this version of Batman takes the gravelly tone set by Christian Bale in The Dark Knight trilogy and both honours and royally takes the piss out of every Batman from Adam West to Ben Affleck. There is a great sense of history played out throughout the film and showcases the various incarnations of the Bat, giving audiences members of every age something to look out for. Words pop up on the screen when Batman and Robin punch out the bad guys, a can of shark-repellent Bat spray comes in very handy and a muscle-bound villain has a very familiar tone.

With the action being so relentless, it’s a wonder that director Chris McKay manages to fit anything else in. The cast of characters includes not just a who’s who of Batman’s bad guys, but also manages to cram in a host of other famous villains from the Warner Bros. back catalogue. There is also time to include more nods to what makes Batman great as well as what makes him seem completely illogical and more to the point, illegal. His methods are questioned and deeply scrutinised and at one point a solution is found to his methods. It’s also suggested that Batman should be held more accountable for his actions and suggests that one possibility is that he should be locked away. But what it does best is look at what powers him to carry on and who, if anyone, should he allow into his inner circle?

While going deep into the Batman lore, The Lego Batman Movie never forgets that its main job is to be entertaining. It also has a flexible sense of humour, giving younger audiences plenty of laughs while also containing enough adult humour to keep older members keen. There is also an irritatingly catchy song that comes close to one upping The Lego Movie’s “Everything is Awesome.” Simply put The Lego Batman Movie gets it all, pretty much, spot on and offers up a fresh, fun alternative to the grim tone being currently set by DC’s live action heroes.

4/5

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