LEGO may have just single-handedly saved the DC Universe. Yep, you heard me right; the construction toy has come to the aid of one of the comic-book heavyweights in spectacular fashion.
Of course, this is not the first time the world’s biggest toy company has released a film. 2014’s LEGO Movie catapulted the popular bricks into the minds of more people than ever before, it was an astounding success and deserved every inch.
Now, they’re back with The LEGO Batman Movie, a film with so many side jokes and movie references, it’s impossible to spot them all the first time around.
There are some big changes brewing in the city of Gotham, but if Batman (Will Arnett) wants to save the city from the Joker’s (Zach Galifianakis) hostile takeover, he may have to drop the lone vigilante shtick, try to work with others and perhaps, learn to lighten up; if that’s humanly possible. Maybe his superhero sidekick Robin (voiced by Michael Cera) and loyal butler Alfred (played by Ralph Fiennes) can show him a thing or two?
After depressing cinema-goers with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the studio interference that caused Suicide Squad to be a hideous mess (which is referenced in the flick marvellously), DC was in serious trouble – its universe was unravelling before it had even got going. Marvel certainly had nothing to worry about from its biggest rival, but that may have changed after this.
Everything from the voice acting to the ridiculously dry script and exceptional animation makes The LEGO Batman Movie a treat for children and adults. There are references to, get ready… Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Gremlins, The Lord of the Rings and every single Batman film to name but a few, all expertly placed within a story that betters any DC film before it.
The cast gels together perfectly. Will Arnett clearly had a ball playing the caped crusader, channelling Ben Affleck and Christian Bale flawlessly. Michael Cera gives his best performance in years and Ralph Fiennes is great as Alfred. Would you believe me if I said Mariah Carey even got in on the action? Well, she does. There are small roles for Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Eddie Izzard too.
Elsewhere, the animation is of course, blocky. Beautifully so in fact. It’s always exciting seeing individual locations transformed into LEGO and Gotham is no exception. It’s rendered to an exquisite standard with each and every frame stuffed to the brim with colour and detail. The music is also a highlight throughout with Lorne Balfe’s faithful score juxtaposed with some original songs and classic pop hits.
Overall, The LEGO Batman Movie was always going to be a gamble, but perhaps less of a risk considering the low quality of DC’s current crop of films. With some great animation, a genuinely funny and at times heart-warming story and a cast that works together incredibly well, it’s a cracking addition to the ever-expanding superhero genre.
LEGO are going to make an absolute fortune out of this one.