After appearing in 2014's The LEGO Movie as a supporting character, Will Arnett's Batman takes centre stage in The LEGO Batman Movie. With Batman continually refusing help from everyone, insisting he only works alone and needs no-one, those around him begin to feel unappreciated...including the Joker! As a result, the new commissioner considers a Gotham without Batman, and Joker (Zach Galifianakis) goes to new levels to prove himself Batman's greatest enemy.
Much like its predecessor, The LEGO Batman Movie is incredible to watch. The animation is stunning from start to finish. Everything in this Lego world looks buildable, Chris McKay and his team have definitely earned the title of 'Master Builders'. And this world is full of hilarious references to Batman and the extended DC universe. Many of them are hidden within the vast and impressive caverns of the Batcave, including every Batmobile the Dark Knight has ever driven. There's a brilliant tribute to previous movies in which Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) points out that he's seen Batman "go through similar phases in 2016 and 2012 and 2008 and 2005 and 1997 and 1995 and 1992 and 1989 and that weird one in 1966".
The LEGO Batman Movie boasts an impressive voice cast, including Michael Cera as Dick Grayson/Robin, Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon, Channing Tatum as Superman and Jonah Hill as Green Lantern. After playing Harvey Dent in Tim Burton's Batman, Billy Dee Williams finally gets to play Two-Face, a role promised to him in his contract back in 1989. But Two-Face is afforded maybe one or two lines at most. The same can be said for most of the cast, Conan O'Brien voices the Riddler, yet I can barely recall him speaking. It seems a shame to recruit all of these great voice actors and have them go unnoticed.
As a whole, the movie goes on too long. Especially when you consider it's first and foremost, a movie for children. A lot of the funniest material appeared in the trailers and a lot of that seemed to be in the first thirty minutes of the movie. After that first half hour things start to go down hill. The major plot line revolves around Batman learning he doesn't have to do everything alone and that his life is better with his friends (and his enemies) in it. It's an arc that drags on way too long. In fact towards the end of the movie it becomes frustrating that Batman isn't learning from his mistakes. After all he is meant to be the world's greatest detective!
Despite not being as good as The LEGO Movie, The LEGO Batman Movie is still a fun watch. The Lego world and the characters that inhabit it are beautifully brought to life with incredible animation, brilliant voice acting and a lot of fun references to the Caped Crusader and his legacy. But with Batman taking so long to realise his mistakes the movie begins to drag. So much so that by the time the final battle draws to a close you are simply waiting for it to end. Will Arnett delivers a brilliant performance and I would definitely like to see him return in future Lego movies. But I think this Batman works better as a supporting character.
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