The bricks are back for a new spin off in LEGO Batman! In 2014, the first LEGO film took the world by storm. Arguably the best animated movie of the year, it delighted fans young and old. What could have been another generic CGI frenetic mess, turned out to be a smart, hilarious and heart warming story about an average guy trying to find his place in the world. One of the many surprises from that film was the brilliant cameo of Batman (voice by Will Arnett) as a cocky caped crusader. Now it has birthed Batman in his own spin-off film- but could LEGO and Warner Bros continue to successfully world build again?
We were able to see the LEGO Batman Movie at a special screening at Warner Bros at their Studios last month. Expectations were high since it has such a high bar set by the LEGO Movie. This is not a sequel but a loose spin off. We don't know if these events are before, after or directly in the same universe- but it really doesn't matter. Our story starts out with Batman foiling the collective plan of his rogue's gallery with ease. Batman is beloved by adoring fans and he is on top of his game. However, everything isn't as 'awesome' as it appears. The main plot of this story is Batman facing his loneliness and coming to grips with his need for community. The secondary plot involves a dependent Joker in need of validation from his arch nemesis. In his adventure, Batman teams up with Batgirl, Robin and his loyal servant, Alfred. Similar to the LEGO film, there are things to do and places to go in order to achieve the final goal. As he always does, Batman prevails but the real question is what does he learn about life, loss and relationships? You'll have to see it to find out.
Overall, LEGO Batman Movie is Bat-tastic! Similar to the LEGO Movie, it's one hilarious moment after the other. The best part of this version is its freedom to be self depreciating and to poke fun at the long history of Batman. In a weird way, this is a sequel to every version of Batman that have come before. Will Arnett does an amazing job and is quickly establishing himself as the new voice of the Bats (scooch over Kevin Conroy). While probably not considered canonical, we get a delightful extensive behind the scenes view of the Mansion and Batcave. It's hard not to watch this movie without grinning ear-to-ear. Our only complaint is that the laughs come so fast and furious that there is almost no time to breath. It's a drinking out of a fire hydrant experience- but that is a mild criticism. You would also benefit from repeat viewings as there is so much happening from scene-to-scene that a lot of visual gags are missed. The best part of the LEGO Batman Movie is it's appeal to young and old, new and long time fans. The mark of any good animated children's film is it's ability to appeal to the new coming and long time fan base. Batman fans should be proud of this. New fans should be proud of this.
However, with all of this praise, LEGO Batman might not be quite as good as its predecessor the LEGO Movie- but only because it lacks the novelty. If you love LEGO or Batman, this is a must watch for you. Batman's encounter with the Justice League is too short but lets hope for a JLA spinoff! We give LEGO Batman Movie 4 out of 5 Batarangs!
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