When it was first announced that Warner Bros. Pictures were set to release based on The LEGO Group’s iconic products, many scoffed at the idea. Whilst various animated shorts and LEGO Games were entertaining enough, could a pile of bricks and plastic minifolk carry a Hollywood blockbuster? The answer was an astounding yes, which took many by surprise and set in motion the creation of an entire LEGO cinematic world. Almost all aspects of The LEGO Movie were well received by critics and fans alike but one standout performance was from a certain Dark Knight. So much so it soon announced that LEGO Batman would break free from his fellow Master Builders and head out on his own big screen LEGO adventure The LEGO Batman Movie. We’ve been lucky enough to catch the new movie during it’s advanced preview weekend and thought we share our somewhat spoiler-free thoughts on The LEGO Batman Movie.
DC Comics have had a tricky time when it comes to movies, despite owning a wealth of characters, their poster boy has always been Batman. Over his 78 year history, he’s appeared in many forms, but his extended cameo in 2014’s The LEGO Movie would oddly be one of the characters better movie appearances. So it’s not surprising that Warner Bros. decided to give Will Arnett’s Batman his own movie and from the opening few seconds of The LEGO Batman Movie, with nothing but a voiceover, you know it was the right decision to explore the LEGO version of the DC Universe.
The opening of The LEGO Batman Movie is immensely funny and pretty high octane considering it introduces so many characters in such a short time. Admittedly many only get fleeting screen time but that kind of adds to the gags. But the focal bad guy is the clown Prince of crime himself The Joker. Lovingly voiced by Zach Galifianakis, this version is certainly less menacing that others but you wouldn’t expect anything else from a family friendly movie. As we’ve seen from the many LEGO playsets and minifigures releases alongside the movie, alongside The Joker, most of the Batman’s greatest and totally not made up foes are present. Despite their limited screen time they offer up some pretty funny lines in particular Bane, who purposely sounds like Tom Hardy’s take on the character. Michael Cera’s Robin is delightful and plays off Will Arnett’s Batman nicely, although most of his best bits have already been seen in trailers.
As we’ve seen from the trailers and the recently revealed voice cast list, it’s not just the Rogue’s Gallery of bad guys Batman has to take on and without getting into spoilers, the way they are introduced is quite unexpected and they certainly don’t feel shoehorned in, which is what I was expecting. Although these cameos from non-DC characters are pretty cool, the movie does feel a little disconnected to The LEGO Movie. The first big screen LEGO outing played on the many worlds of LEGO to great effect, but apart from a brief mention of ‘magical portal’ Emmet travels through in The LEGO Movie and a jazzy version of Everything is Awesome, Batman’s outing stands alone.
Another thing which felt odd was the water. In The LEGO Movie, great lengths made, to ensure all aspects of the world were made from LEGO elements, that included water and effects. Even in the early trailers for The LEGO Batman Movie, water was portrayed as LEGO elements. Yet in the final cut water is – well water and other effects are also ‘real’ such as smoke. Whilst it works well, it’s just a shame the continuity from The LEGO Movie has already changed and with continue to do so in The LEGO Ninjago Movie, which will feature real sand and plants. There are also less LEGO in-jokes, when compared to The LEGO Movie, sure there are master build moments, where elements are mentioned but nothing really aimed squarely at us LEGO nuts.
But none of that detracts from what is an immensely funny film and one which will appeal to all members of the family as well as both LEGO fans and those who appreciate DC Comics. There’s plenty of visual nods to Batman past, along with throwaway lines and musical cues. In fact the soundtrack is pretty cool in it’s own right, although the opening song isn’t instantly as catchy as Everything is Awesome, you’ll certainly be humming Who’s the (Bat) Man as you’re leaving the cinema. But Lorne Balfe’s score is a marvel, expertly weaving in trickles of previous Batman scores from sprinkles of Elfman’s iconic theme, to the booming beats of Nolan’s gritty take on Gotham and things even manage to touch upon Batman’s more camp capers. Something which even spills into sounds effects, the Batmobile horn and a certain super dudes doorbell. But for me the greatest moments are when guns are fired, but I won’t spoil the surprise.
Warner Bros. have certainly been pushing The LEGO Batman Movie ahead of it’s release and if you think you’ve seen most of the best bits in the trailers and clips, you’re very much mistaken. In fact many scenes in the trailers aren’t even in the final film and those that are are played out quite differently. Despite writing so much about The LEGO Batman Movie over the last few weeks, I’ve really been looking forward to seeing it and enjoyed every moment. Sure there are a few niggles which will only really bug LEGO obsessives, but you can’t get away from the fact that this is another great LEGO adventure, which is made even more batastically fantastic thanks to delving into Batman’s rich and somewhat surreal history. It may lack the same emotional tugs as The LEGO Movie, but I did well up ever so slightly (in a manly way) towards the end, maybe because I connected a little with Batman’s loner traits and not wanting to allow others to get close. We certainly recommend heading off to the cinema when The LEGO Batman Movie goes on general release, you won’t be disappointed.
Check out all out coverage of The LEGO Batman Movie here and stay tuned as we take a look at the new Making of The LEGO Batman Movie book from DK, the new wave of LEGO Dimensions sets, the new LEGO Batman magazine and much more right here on BricksFans.com. The LEGO Batman Movie playsets and LEGO Minifigure series are available now. Hit the link below to be taken directly to them on the official LEGO online store.