Rating: 3 out of 5
A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that nonstop hilarity isn't enough. Genre fans will adore the relentless barrage of silliness, as wordplay, sight-gags, film references and elaborate jokes pile on top of each other. But it's all rather exhausting, because the story is simply too slippery for the audience to hold onto.
When we catch up with Batman (again voiced by Will Arnett), he's revelling in his lonely life surrounded by his huge collection of gadgets in the cave under Wayne Manor, where his only companion is his sardonic butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes). But an encounter with the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) gets him thinking about his solitude, and new commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) wants to work with him rather than let him do everything on his own. Then he inadvertently adopts the orphan Dick (Michael Cera), just as the Joker puts into motion a nefarious plan to unleash an army of bad guys on Gotham City.
The film pings from one crazed action set-piece to the next, packing comical touches into every image and each line of dialogue. The audience has little choice but to hold on for the ride, and since it's impossible to see every gag that flies at us, this is clearly a movie that requires multiple viewings. The problem is that the story and characters aren't very inviting. Arnett's gruff whisper is genuinely hilarious, especially in his postmodern flights of fancy, but Batman is a preening idiot, really. Dawson, Cera, Fiennes and Galifianakis are more likeable, but are sidelined in the story. And the sprawling, mega-starry supporting cast offers a continual stream of solid laughs. But it's all so frantic that the sentimental themes in the story never get a chance to resonate before the script makes fun of them.
You don't expect something deep and meaningful in a movie like this, but a sense of connection and momentum are sorely missing. It's a lot of fun, with witty animation and a seriously fantastic array of characters that engulf the entire DC universe and every Batman movie ever made, plus superb jabs at Marvel. And the climactic showdown involves Batman taking on villains from throughout movie history, from Sauron (Jemaine Clement) to Voldemort (Eddie Izzard). It's colourful, insanely action-packed and hysterically funny. And it's also refreshing that the studio allowed the filmmakers to give in to their anarchic tendencies. But a little more heart would have gone a long way.
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Facts and Figures
Run time: 104 mins
In Theaters: Friday 10th February 2017
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Production compaines: Lin Pictures, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros., Animal Logic, DC Entertainment, Lord Miller, LEGO System A/S
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Cast & Crew
Director: Chris McKay
Producer: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Roy Lee, Dan Lin
Screenwriter: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, John Whittington
Starring: Will Arnett as Batman / Bruce Wayne (voice), Ralph Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth (voice), Michael Cera as Robin / Dick Grayson (voice), Rosario Dawson as Batgirl / Barbara Gordon (voice), Zach Galifianakis as The Joker (voice), Jenny Slate as Harley Quinn (voice), Mariah Carey as Mayor McCaskill (voice), Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face (voice), Jason Mantzoukas as Scarecrow (voice), Conan O'Brien as The Riddler (voice), Doug Benson as Bane (voice), Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman (voice), Kate Micucci as Clayface (voice), Riki Lindhome as Poison Ivy (voice), Channing Tatum as Superman (voice), Jonah Hill as Green Lantern (voice), Adam DeVine as The Flash (voice), Eddie Izzard as Voldemort (voice), Seth Green as King Kong (voice), Jemaine Clement as Sauron (voice), Ellie Kemper as Phyllis (voice), Chris Hardwick as Reporter (voice)