One of the biggest surprises of the past few years came in the form of 2014's The Lego Movie - a film no one expected anything of, that was genuinely very funny and great. Following on from its success, one of its best characters, none other than Lego Batman, is getting the solo treatment, with his own film: The Lego Batman Movie.

The premise for the film is fairly simple. A big fan of the spotlight and being the centre of attention, Batman (voiced by Will Arnett), loves saving Gotham time and time again. In an equal measure, The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) loves fighting Batman - constantly plotting against him, as any good villain does. However, all he really yearns for is the Caped Crusader's respect, wanting nothing more than for Bats to admit that the Clown Prince of Crime is his greatest enemy. Unfortunately, Batman is too self-centered to do this, upsetting The Joker and leading to him a dastardly plot to destroy Gotham, in order to get the appreciation he feels he deserves. A plot that forces Batman to have to team up with new commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), his butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), and his newly-adopted son Robin (Michael Cera) in order to stop The Joker, and Harley Quinn (Jenny Slate), and save Gotham.
I was a big fan of the original Lego Movie; I expected very little - if anything, really - from it but it turned out to be a genuinely hilarious, and endearing film. It's not news that one of the best parts of that film was Lego Batman, voiced winningly by Will Arnett. Now the star of his own solo outing, The Lego Batman Movie had a lot more on its shoulders, with more expectations to meet, following what its predecessor managed to achieve, and also because of the name Batman in its title and that mantle to fill too - that second point is all the more key since a lot of Batman fans are still left a little perturbed by last year's Batman v Superman. No easy achievement either. Thankfully, The Lego Batman Movie is great. This is not only the best Batman film since Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy, it's also just the best DC film since 2012 too. Take notes, Zack Snyder, fun and lightheartedness can work.

The Lego Batman Movie is utterly hilarious. From the opening scene right through to the very end, this film is a non-stop barrage of constant humour and great jokes - plenty gut-busters that will have you laughing out loud throughout too. Similarly to The Lego Movie, the writing is again ingenious, with so much clever humour that doesn't just pander to kids, but rather offers plenty for everyone - children and adults alike. Of course, DC - and the character of Batman especially - has a very rich legacy, just as much on the big-screen as in the comics, and it provides a lot of great material for some golden comedy; this is largely what makes The Lego Batman Movie so great, this ability to poke fun at DC's very large and expansive history - in a way that's never quite serious bashing, but rather more so just playfully mocking and witty. It's a film littered with references too, whether it's in the jokes, or in the dialogue or even the visuals, this film has callbacks and nods to the aforementioned DC lore and previous Batman films, for all the real fanboys out there. Again, there's lots of enjoyment to be had by everyone here, but fans really familiar with the history of Batman will get lots out of all the little nerdy easter eggs throughout.
Right from the opening scene, the laughs are rolling, and they very rarely let up. However, as much as this is the film's biggest strength, it's also its biggest detriment. This is a very frenetic film - with so much happening and so quickly too. And the comedy and action and story is all being dished out so rapidly that the film never really stops to let audiences process it all, meaning that some jokes and details are very succeptible to being missed, and it's quiteeasy to lose track of just what's going on with all the comedy quickly blending together. I guess this can be seen as a positive too because it means The Lego Batman Movie is ripe for multiple viewings and little nuances being discovered each time, but it can get a little exhausting. There's a surprising amount of emotion to this film, and it's really quite heartfelt and sincere, but the film struggles to seamlessly balance this and the tonal shifts can be rather jarring - going from a great joke straight into a moment of emotion; it just feels very rapid and unexpected almost. Again, the emotion is a very welcomed moment of levity and heart, but the tonal and pacing shifts aren't the smoothest.

Aside from that, though, The Lego Batman Movie is hard to fault. It's outragouesly hilarious, and suoer endearing too. The animation is gorgeous, and the voice work from the stellar cast is all impeccable - but we don't expect anything else from such a high-profile animation from such a big studio anyway. Despite being an animated film, this really feels like a blockbuster. Which is high praise to the quality of the picture. This is a film that feels very much on the same scale as any other tentpole comic-book release. The action is insane too; again, it's immersive and epic, and so beautifully directed. Despite a February release, this is the kind of film you'd expect to see releasing during the Summer movie season - alongside the likes of other big franchise entries. The point is, The Lego Batman Movie is thoroughly entertaining. Similarly to its predecessor (and very much so like its titular, Lego-fied protagonist), there's way more to the surface of this flick than initially meets the eye - it's nuanced and surprising, in all the best ways. It's hilarious, yes. It's visually remarkable, of course. It's tons of fun too, obviously. But it's also sweet and touching. It's action-packed and epic in scope. It's self-aware and littered with loads of great DC and Batman references. It's one of the best Batman films in years.

VERDICT:
From outrageous, laugh-out-loud humour to blockbuster spectacle and action, and a big, endearing heart topping it all off, The Lego Batman Movie is entertaining in spades and, much like its titular character, brings its A-game.




About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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