*Dedicated to Adam West. I miss you*
In an age that has given us Marvel’s Avengers:Infinity War, DC’s Justice League and Fox’s Logan, only one studio could provide the most ambitious superhero film of the year- Warner Brothers Animation. It feels utterly bizarre to write that sentence, but there it is for all to read. The Lego Batman Movie follows our titular hero as he once again attempts to foil The Joker’s plan to takeover Gotham City. This time he is joined by trusty butler Alfred, adopted son Richard (Dick) Grayson and new chief of police Barbara Gordon.
The design of the Lego movies, and this one in particular, are absolutely astounding. You’d be forgiven for thinking that its stop motion animation with real Lego, but it is in fact CGI. Every single aspect, be it fire or laser blast has a real life Lego counterpart. Of course, the beauty of this are the inevitable Lego sets that are based on scenes from the movie including The Jokermobile and The Bat Space Shuttle. This may be a fantastic movie, but its still an hour and a half long advertisement too. The style of animation allows for wonderful exaggeration and astounding colours which are present throughout. Nowhere is it more apparent than with The Joker, whose zany energy can only be perfectly captured through animation. It matches wonderfully with the gleeful voice of Zach Galifianakis giving us a character you’re sure to fall in love with.
Also falling in love with him is Batman himself. Their relationship in The Lego Batman Movie is unabashedly based on romantic relationships right down to Batman “fighting around”. Seeing two male characters in a children’s film have this kind of connection so unapologetically made me a little teary eyed. Of course, two men being like this is okay and, of course, its normal, and seeing that message in a film about one of the most popular characters there is got to me. It’s also really nice to see toned down versions of these well known characters. The Joker and Harley Quinn are BFFs, Alfred and Batman are a father and his angst filled son, and Richard Grayson is just flat out adorable. There are conflicts but they aren’t super dark and gritty, so its a great way to introduce children to the Bat Franchise. Between this and the Adam West show of the 60s there is plenty to keep them entertained.
There’s also plenty to enjoy for longtime Batfans. Even if you have seen every single iteration of this character, you probably won’t be able to spot every single reference. They are absolutely everywhere, to the point where you could take a still frame from this movie and find at least 10 references. That isn’t even including the Easter eggs that they’ve hidden in lines of dialogue and musical accompaniment. Here are just a few of my favourites:
- Billy Dee Williams returns to voice Two-Face after portraying him in Batman ’89. It provides a level of satisfaction that I rarely ever feel.
- The Bat Shark Repellent from Batman: The Movie makes its return and is genuinely useful. Seeing something that has been treated as a joke for the longest time finally being important a few months before Adam West’s passing is just beautiful.
- The horn for The Batmobile is the theme from the 60s show and I love it.
- Every single Batman and so many of the minor villains are represented here in a move that has only been pulled off in a TV show before
I could genuinely devote a whole essay to references alone. I could gush for hours about how this movie looks and sounds. I haven’t even mentioned the finer plot details or twists because you should experience them first-hand as I did. It’s a decision that I truly believe will enhance your viewing. I adore The Lego Batman Movie and there is every possibility that its the best Batman flick ever made. Only time will tell… while films come and go, Batman is forever.
Until Next Time…