The LEGO Batman Movie

 

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The Dark Knight battles The Joker and his own humanity in this turbulent ragbag of pop culture.

 
LEGO Batman Movie, The
  

In the make-believe universe of Legoland, liberties are taken. And Batman is given an almighty makeover. As the crime fighter himself comments on the logos of Warner Bros, DC Entertainment and RatPac (“that logo is macho”), we know we’re in for a meta ride. And as the plastic Lego version of Batman battles his old nemesis The Joker, we learn a lot of new things about the Dark Knight. Without giving too much away, when The Joker takes over Wayne Manor, he uncovers some of the occupant’s guilty secrets. Raiding Batman’s private stash of DVDs, he reveals that the Caped Crusader is a sucker for the romcoms Marley & Me, Must Love Dogs and Serendipity. We also discover that our hero is afraid of clowns and snakes, and in particular “snakeclowns.” But more than anything, Batman is scared of his own humanity and is unable to mouth those three special words to The Joker: “I – hate – you.”

 

Some films defy critical analysis. Lego as a narrative art form? Well, in animation, you can get away with anything and The LEGO Batman Movie gets away with a lot. It must’ve been a copyright nightmare as heroes and villains from a toy cupboard of sources are thrown together in a pop-cultural maelstrom. Only in one’s maddest dreams might one have imagined Voldemort, the Daleks, the Wicked Witch of the West and King Kong teaming up to take on the Caped Crusader. Of course, it’s one big in-joke.

 

But self-awareness can only take you so far. Deadpool pulled it off because it was the ridiculous pitted against a rough approximation of what is human. Besides, Wade W. Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) had cancer to beat as well as the bad guys. But there’s nothing human in The LEGO Batman Movie: it’s an unfettered orgy of brand names played out against a backdrop of one-liners. No doubt the film’s five credited scriptwriters enjoyed themselves enormously conjuring up these gags and they’re likely to elicit a number of smiles from an adult audience. There’s enough energy, too, to keep the kids distracted, although they’d probably have more fun at a bring-your-own-Lego sleepover.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Voices of  Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Jenny Slate, Siri, Héctor Elizondo, Mariah Carey, Eddie Izzard, Seth Green, Jemaine Clement, Billy Dee Williams, Conan O'Brien, Jason Mantzoukas, Zoë Kravitz, Chris McKay, Channing Tatum, Ellie Kemper, Jonah Hill, Adam DeVine.

 

Dir Chris McKay, Pro Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, Screenplay Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern and John Whittington, Pro Des Grant Freckelton, Ed David Burrows, Matt Villa and John Venzon, Music Lorne Balfe.

 

Warner Animation Group/DC Entertainment/RatPac-Dune Entertainment/Lego System A/S/Vertigo Entertainment/Animal Logic/Lord Miller Productions-Warner Brothers.

104 mins. USA/Denmark/Australia. 2017. Rel: 10 February 2017. Cert. U.