From the team that delivered the brilliance of The Lego Movie comes the eloquently and efficiently titled The Lego Batman Movie. In general the quality of anything Lego-related tends to be quite high, and that standard is maintained in this playfully chaotic family entertainer.
It opens in a flurry, and at times the anarchy on screen can be a bit disorienting, especially for younger members of the audience. Like The Lego Movie before it, the attention to detail that has been paid to every aspect of the film is marvellous, but at times there's just too much going on and some of the lovely touches get lost in wave after wave of homage. If you've got kids, at least you'll be able to discover these moments again during repeat watches, lucky you.
If you're the big kid, and you're going based on either the strength of your affection for Batman, or the reputation of the last movie (or a bit of both), you're probably going to enjoy yourself. Nothing is held sacred, and fun is poked at absolutely everything. Like Deadpool, there's self-awareness written into the script, and plenty of fourth wall-breaking moments that'll have you chuckling away to yourself. There are some genuinely funny jokes in there, with more than the usual number of tongue-in-cheek moments for older viewers, as well as lots of visual gags for everyone to enjoy.
Once again it's the visuals that steal the show. Lego Gotham looks great, and the explosive set pieces from The Lego Movie are dialled up this time around. The effects are beautifully done, the detail in each scene is staggering, and there's so much homage in there for fans of both Batman and Lego. Like its predecessor, there's crossover with other Lego universes, with different properties appearing throughout (there's even a Marvel reference in there, although we'll not spoil it for you), with the action building into a grand finale with both DC and non-DC characters fighting against the backdrop of Gotham.
The main story focuses on the Lego version of Batman, as the Caped Crusader grapples with his inability to play nicely with others, including his new sidekick Robin, while coming to terms with his symbiotic relationship with The Joker. There's a lot of love/hate going on, and our emotionally-challenged hero does plenty of soul searching. Maybe too much, in fact, and the middle of the movie fell into a bit of a lull as the same themes were repeatedly thrown at us. Contrast that with the eye melting detail in the action scenes and the sheer number of references on screen for DC fans to spot, and the pacing felt a little uneven at times.
It was still plenty fun, though, and the script was well written. Just as convincing was its delivery, and a strong cast (including Will Arnett still having fun as Batman, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred, Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon, and Michael Cera as Robin) did a fine job of bringing it to life. There's a lot going on, so much so that we're looking forward to watching it again at some point in the nearish future, because no doubt we missed a couple of things in amongst all of the colourful chaos.
The Lego Batman Movie is a decent follow-up, and fans will have a jolly time in its company. Having said that, it doesn't quite match the overall quality and accessibility of The Lego Movie. We'd still recommend it though, especially if you're a big fan of either or both properties (and if you're a Lego Batman fan in particular, just go). It's very silly, exceedingly irreverent, and full of self-referential humour. All in all it's a decent family movie that should keep all but the youngest viewers happy, and one that Bat-fans should definitely check out.