The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) -Chris McKay

Bat-tastic!

Is that a word?

It should be. Because if Batman (Will Arnett) had his way, I’m sure that is exactly how the Caped Crusader would describe it.

With the LEGO Movie in 2014, Warner Brothers and LEGO proved that they can make a family film that is not only family friendly, it will entertain all ages in the family. And not only that, there are enough nods to geekdom, whether DC, or films, that laughter is guaranteed.

The film walks a fine line between flat-out comedy and Batman adventure. And it works.

Batman is constantly saving the city of Gotham. Alone. By himself. He doesn’t need anyone.

Commissioner Gordon (Hector Elizondo) is retiring, his daughter, Barbara (Roasario Dawson) is taking over, and the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) feeling rebuffed from Batman’s denial of his being the Dark Knight’s Greatest Villain, and the entire Rogue’s Gallery turn themselves in.

Batman is left unsure what to do, and his butler, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), recognising how lonely Bruce Wayne is under the cowl tries to help him make a family, and open up to the world.

Enter young orphan, Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), and an adventure begins as Batman struggles to realise his darkness keeps others away (when was the last time he got invited to a Justice League party? – Watch out for the Wonder Twins!) and sometimes, it’s better to work as a team.

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The film tells a completely new kind of Batman story, and yet, it is still undeniably Batman. This is a character who can be thrown into any genre and make it work, and this film is no different.

In fact, it works because of it, and while the film makes countless nods to the movies and television shows that came before featuring the World’s Greatest Detective, it is still it’s very own thing, and a real Batman story.

The injokes are brilliant, from winks and nods to all the previous films (including Billy Dee Williams back as Harvey Dent) to the countless vehicles (watch for some classics) to pictures, advertisements, music cues and perfectly on point dialogue I laughed my way through the entire film, and found myself caught up in its sheer magic.

Without sounding harsh, I think Galifianakis was the only miscast in the entire film. His Joker takes some getting used to, and it could be argued he’s stepping into bigger shoes than Arnett is by donning the cowl.

The Joker has a plan to prove himself the Greatest Villain, and after escaping from the Phantom Zone he brings with him a number of baddies that make for the kind of mash-ups that happened so often when one was playing with their toys as a child. There are countless pop culture bad guys that elicit delight as soon as they appear on the screen.

Despite that, the film never panders, and it never comes across as an advertisement for buying more LEGO. Instead it, like its predecessor, The LEGO Movie, it simply wants to entertain the family, and it does that Bat-Tastically.

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