With the exception of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, I think we can all agree that dark Batman doesn’t work. Just like DC Comics stalwart Superman, I much prefer a lighter take on the character. Who doesn’t love the sixties charm of Adam West for example? When it comes to cartoons I think you’ll concur that Brave and the Bold is more fun than the grittier The Batman, which ran from 2004 to 2008. If you want a good laugh comedian Joel Schumacher has you covered with Batman & Robin – a hilarious parody featuring ice puns, costumes that have nipples and George Clooney flashing a Bat Credit Card. Now that Christian Bale has retired the cowl the time is rife for the Caped Crusader’s return to comedy, cue The Lego Batman Movie.
Set in a Gotham City, constructed out of plastic bricks rather than concrete, The Lego Batman Movie follows the exploits of a Dark Knight voiced by Will Arnett. After losing his family at a young age, Batman has become an anti-social vigilante who prefers to fight crime on his lonesome. Not that he needs help from anyone though. The film’s opening scene has him effortlessly defeating an entire rogue’s gallery of villains all by himself. Whilst singing along to a musical ditty, Batman is able to vanquish a group whose ranks include Catwoman, Bane, Riddler and obscure lackeys such as the Condiment King. Life is good for Bats. At night he basks in the glory of being a hero whilst during the day he relaxes by dining on microwave Lobster Thermidor and watching cheesy rom-coms.
The daily routine of Bruce Wayne is however shattered when he accidently adopts an orphan named Dick Grayson. Reluctantly, Batman is forced into mentoring the enthusiastic dork who eventually assumes the mantle of Robin. Even worse for Batman is that he finds himself with nothing to do after Gotham’s entire criminal population surrender to the custody of new police commissioner Barbara Gordon. Suspicious that the Joker may be plotting something from behind bars, Batman breaks into Arkham Prison with the intentions of exiling his rival to the Phantom Zone. Sending the clown prince of crime to another dimension, where he can do no harm, sounds like a grand plan… but the scheme spectacularly backfires, unleashing a terror that Batman alone cannot handle.
My rating for The Lego Batman Movie is three and a half stars. I dreaded reviewing this film because, despite finding it enjoyable, I didn’t love the flick to the extent that everyone else does. Instead of being a movie that everyone can enjoy, Lego Batman felt like a children’s film filled with gags that also pander to older comic book geeks. In that regard I have to say that I have seen funnier Lego animations on YouTube. Perhaps I would have liked the movie more had it been less heavy handed with its moral about the importance of friends and family. That sort of thing doesn’t resonate with a reclusive introvert like me, especially when I am the sort of person who prefers watching blockbusters alone in the comfort of my home rather than in a cinema packed with noisy kids.
One good thing Lego Batman does is handle its large cast of villains well. Unlike X-Men 3, which was ruined by an oversaturation of baddies, I have to say that the extensive list of evildoer cameos worked. Not content with featuring virtually every Batman criminal in existence, the movie even includes antagonists from Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Dr Who. The comedy is gold, resulting in 105 minutes of fun. Social justice warriors may disagree though. Theoretically they should detest Barbara Gordon being cast as an ebony girl. If not they are hypocrites because they previously loathed race changes in Dr Strange. In a similar vein critics of The Killing Joke may disapprove of Batman’s attraction to Barbara, because they have voiced displeasure about that ship in the past.
There isn’t any real romance between the two though. If anything the only sexual chemistry I spotted was between Batman and the Joker. During their exchanges if you substitute the word “hate” with “love” you have all the trimmings of a gay relationship. Holy fabulous couples Batman! Don’t be surprised if conservative Catholics begin to boycott Danish toys for covertly promoting same sex propaganda.