In Lego Gotham City, Batman (still voiced by Will Arnett) seems to have it all: he’s loved by the citizens, he’s got tons of cool Bat-vehicles, and he’s just saved the city yet again from The Joker (Zach Galifianakis). Although the Joker gets away, he soon surprises everyone when he turns himself (and all the other villains in Gotham) in. Suspicious at his seeming change of heart, Batman is determined to discover with his nemesis is up to. However, he also has to deal with the new Police Commissioner, Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), who is trying to get him work within the law rather than outside it, as well as a young orphan named Richard “Dick” Grayson (Michael Cera) whom he accidentally adopted. Soon, he realizes that he may have to face something far worse than a supervillain: his own fears about getting close to other people.
In many ways, The Lego Batman Movie is quite comparable to the last film in the series. It possesses the same whacky tone, rapid-fire jokes, and ridiculous amount of references as the first. Actually, if anything, all of this is amped up even further, but tweaked to fit a superhero movie. For example, the movie starts with an almost Deadpool-esque, fourth wall-breaking montage narrated by Batman, there’s a long sequence of scenes from every previous Batman movie recreated in Lego form, and the password to the Batcave is “Iron Man sucks”. Just as the last film took delight in hanging a lampshade on dozens of tropes we take for granted in adventure movies, this film revels in doing the same thing for superhero tropes in general and Batman conventions in particular- the homoeroticism between Batman and Robin gets a lot of mileage in particular, but they also poke fun at Tom Hardy’s now-iconic Bane voice from Rises, some of the more obscure members of Batman’s rogues gallery (Condiment King?) and a few of the especially absurd parts of the campy Adam West series (and yes, I’m talking about the Bat-Shark-Repellent). The director, Chris McKay, worked on Robot Chicken for several seasons, and the influence on the movie's tone and humor is obvious (though this movie is of course kid-friendly).
The technical aspects of the film are wonderful as well. The voice acting, in particular, is phenomenal. I honestly vastly prefer Arnett and Galifianakis’ interpretations of their characters than Affleck’s and Leto’s from the live-action DC movies. Batman as an arrogant, selfish, beat-boxing edge lord and Joker as basically Batman’s insecure boyfriend are so much better than whatever Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. are trying to do with the live-action movies. In addition, the action scenes from the movie are great (a step above the last movie), and I’m still amazed that the special effect artists can construct such amazing-looking visual effects from digital versions of plastic bricks.
The only negative thing I can say about this movie is that it’s not quite as original as the previous. But that’s really only because the last film was such a surprising smash hit. There might come a day when the distinctive style of the Lego Movies stops being so funny, but today is absolutely not that day. Also, I’m not sure what it says about Hollywood when the Lego version of a DC movie is this much better than the actual “real” DC movies. Regardless, The Lego Batman Movie is another surprising hit- a fun, action-packed and incredibly funny film that will please audiences of all ages. If you like Lego, Batman, Lego Batman, or good movies, you can’t go wrong by seeing this.