Holy hilarious shenanigans, Batman lovers! If you haven’t yet watched The LEGO Batman Movie, I urge you to put down that useless bottle of shark repellant and get to your local theater. This movie features an all-star comedic cast including Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate, Conan O’Brien, Doug Benson, Billy Dee Williams, Seth Green and even Eddie Izzard. There are so many stars packed into this thing that you can even expect the likes of Mariah Carey as Mayor McCaskill, Channing Tatum channeling his inner Superman, Jonah Hill as the Green Lantern, Adam Devine as The Flash and Chris Hardwick as a reporter.
Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. The LEGO Batman Movie proves just how sweet of a gig it is to be Batman with all of his fancy gadgets, his playboy millionaire lifestyle and the hero worship of his entire fair Gotham City. Will Arnett plays the perfect Batman. His voice lends itself well to the dark and brooding vigilante nature of Batman, but his personality shines through as the viewer realizes this movie is really lampooning that “too dark” aspect of the more recent Batman movies. It harkens back to the days of Batman ’66 when Batman was portrayed in a more comedic light by Adam West. Puns abound, and no one in the DC Universe is safe from satirical scrutiny.
What I loved most about the movie was seeing all of Batman’s most nefarious foes at once. There are, of course, the usual suspects: The Joker (Galifianakis), Harley Quinn (Slate), Scarecrow (Jason Mantzoukas), The Riddler (O’Brien), Bane (Benson), Two-Face (Williams), Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), Clayface (Kate Micucci) and Poison Ivy (Riki Lindhome). Familiar fan favorites Mr. Freeze, Penguin, King Tut, Egghead, The Clock King and Killer Croc all put in appearances. And then there’s the really, really obscure Batman villains such as The Condiment King, Crazy Quilt, Man-Bat, The Eraser, The Zodiac King, Killer Moth, March Hare, The Kabuki Twins, Magpie, Calculator, Doctor Phosphorus, Hugo Strange, Mime, Polka Dot Man, Orca, Tarantula, Calendar Man, Catman, Kite Man, Zebra Man and even The Gentleman Ghost.
After failing to give Joker the type of recognition he so desperately craves (he just wants Batman to admit that he’s his greatest nemesis and that his life would be incomplete without their constant cat-and-mouse chase), Joker hatches a deliciously evil plot for revenge. Superman recently exiled General Zod to the Phantom Zone – this magical looking zone high in the sky that’s reserved for only the baddest of the bad so they can’t wreak havoc upon the good anymore. Joker tricks Batman into sending him into the Phantom Zone so that he can amass an army of worthy villains necessary to defeat Batman once and for all (he’s finally realized the other Gotham baddies just don’t make the grade – they’re always screwing things up and getting reincarcerated in Arkham Asylum).
This is where the real genius of the movie comes into play. Not only is it a blast to watch all of the expected – and unexpected – Batman villains battle the Dark Knight, Robin, Batgirl and a surprisingly badass Alfred, but we also get to watch various fandoms cross over in what can only be described as the most colorful of fan fiction. Where else are you going to witness Batman battling Sauron from The Lord of the Rings, Gremlins, King Kong, Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter franchise, Daleks from Doctor Who, the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz and The Creature from the Black Lagoon? It’s the best assembly of supervillains I’ve ever witnessed, and I found myself rooting for them as their mischief mounted. Does good always have to triumph over evil?
The movie made me laugh from start to finish and is honestly the most enjoyable one I’ve sat through in a while. The takeaway message is a good one for anyone: no man is an island – not even Batman. After a hard day of crime-fighting in Gotham, he returns to an empty Wayne Manor, heats up his lobster thermidor for one in the microwave and stares broodingly at old family portraits that continue to haunt him no matter how many years have passed. It’s not until he mistakenly adopts a young orphan named Dick Grayson (wonderfully voiced by Cera) that he begins to realize what he’s been missing by not opening his heart to the prospect of having a family again. It takes a team – nay a family – to thwart the villains this time around. Batman has to learn to rely upon others around him and adopt a more collaborative work ethic if he’s to continue to succeed.
I didn’t see the first LEGO Movie, but I had heard that Batman was a breakout star worthy of his own movie. I’m so happy they finally did this because it was just as much fun for the adults in attendance as it was for the kids, especially if you’re a lifelong Batfan who can appreciate all the tongue-in-cheek jokes. And giving everyone free sets of Batman LEGOs to take home with them afterwards? Why, that’s just clever marketing. Kudos.
Want to see The LEGO Batman Movie and judge for yourself? Click on the images below to buy your tickets now, and be sure to come back and tell us what you thought!