movies: the lego batman movie

the lego batman movie - always be yourself. unless you can be batman.
Who has the coolest gadgets? BATMAN!
Who has the tricked out ride? BATMAN!
Who does the sickest backflips? BATMAN!
Yes... but not just any old Batman... no, this is The Lego Batman Movie.

While I wouldn't call this exactly a sequel to The Lego Movie, this certainly takes place within The Lego Movie Universe (because everything has to have a Movie Universe these days).

And even though Lego Batman wasn't one of my favourite characters from the earlier movie (Benny and UniKitty in case you were interested), and I really wasn't expecting all that much from this movie, it was genuinely quite enjoyable.

Sure, it wasn't up to the level of The Lego Movie, but there was enough to keep me entertained.

One of the things I enjoyed most was the fact that they really did dig into the history of Batman... not the character's history, but rather the history of the character, if that makes sense. There were references to not only all the previous Batman movies (including all three Christopher Nolan movies), but reaching all the way back to the 1966 television series and the origin from the comics. It's stuff that will go sailing over kid's heads, but for older Batman fans there are some funny references.

The other thing that is spot on are the music references... from Man in the Mirror to (I Just) Died in Your Arms to more of Will Arnett's Batman rapping. And even uses of both the Superman and Batman 66 theme songs in unexpected ways.

Story-wise, there is a nice nugget of story at the core, but at the same time, the story isn't as strong as the previous movie. Which isn't to say it's bad, just that there's not a lot of story there, but what is there is good.

Joining Arnett this time around are Michael Cera as Dick Grayson/Robin, Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred and Zach Galifianakis as The Joker.

Also, in an incredibly blatant product placement, the voice of the Bat-Computer (or 'Puter) is Siri... yes, Siri, as in the Apple iPhone assistant. I didn't actually realise until the end to be honest, although I had noticed that Batman was exclusively using a little tiny Lego iPhone... and it just added to my amusement to realise it was Siri saying things like "Alfred left your lobster thermidor in the fridge" and "the bomb is located at the base of the energy core".

But getting back to the cast, Cera does make a great Robin, although he's definitely played as the comedy flipside to Batman's character... and he's just so relentlessly cute and perky. It was also interesting to see that they didn't just use Dawson as the voice for Barbara Gordon, they actually made both her and Jim Gordon into Latin American characters, which is a first for both characters, and a nice bit of diversity in Lego Batman's world.

They also didn't skimp on the Batman Rogue's Gallery. In fact there are characters here that I think may have only shown up once in all of Batman's history... and a number of them are definitely "blink and you'll miss it". But I really, really loved Galifianakis's Joker. A lot of that is the visual look, I really love his design, especially with the sharp teeth and that big quiff of green hair. But Galifianakis does an excellent job on the voice too.

Like The Lego Movie, the folks at Animal Logic once again spent a lot of time making sure that the Lego in the movie looked as good and as real as humanly possible, down to all the little dints and scratches that Lego gets over time. The movie looks amazing in general though, and even more so than The Lego Movie, it'll be one to rewatch over and over if only to pick up all the little Batman history details they've crammed in.

yani's rating: 4 bat-abs out of 5

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