“The Lego Movie” was a huge hit, a film about building blocks, a catchy tune “everything is awesome” and main character voiced by some no name actor called Chris Pratt, who would have bet on that?
Skip forward and following a box office take of $469M, a sequel of sorts was likely but who to focus on?
Who, but who could we choose? – not many Hollywood power meetings required to alight on Batman, “I only work in black and sometimes very, very dark grey”, the true break-out character from the first film.
Batman (Will Arnett) is doing the usual, being the hero, saving the city, receiving the adulation and returning to the bat cave. Eat lobster Thermidor, warmed in the microwave and talk to “Alfred” (Ralph Fiennes) the trusty butler. Batman is not boring, lonely, not missing his parents and family, no not at all. I am Batman, Batman does not have feelings.
Turning the whole superhero thing on it’s head is a brave but inspired move. The subtext of the superhero life just not being possible without a villain to fight, this is more complex than is usual in a children’s CGI cartoon.
Until Batman admits he needs him as much as the Joker needs a nemesis, “The Joker” (Zach Galifianakis) is refusing to come out and play anymore. We are also introduced to Robin (Michael Cera), who finally settles on his costume, partially explaining why his ensemble is so “eclectic”, it’s a Jamaican thing man. This new dynamic introduces Batman into a father/son story which is not only fun but actually quite touching.
Batman/Bruce Wayne also gets a love interest in the form of a new female commissioner, replacing Gordon, (Rosario Dawson) who is both tough beautiful and more than capable of looking after herself, whether she also has an alter ego will be revealed within the film.
Lest you think this is all getting a bit deep don’t forget to hold on, as the whole film is an assault on your eyeballs. A riot of colour, crazy action and with more chases and fight scenes than a Transformer film on steroids, with the lovey dovey bits cut out.
The voice acting is good, irony continues to play a big part of the series and Fiennes adds a level of depth to the whole proceedings as the madness whirls around him.
Many, many goodies and baddies from the DC universe are added to the mix, Arkham asylum would have been empty during these scenes, with named actors lining up to take voice parts.
Not perfect, there is arguably too much going on and without the noted twist reveal from the first film, the story remains firmly in the make believe world. Maybe 30% less action might have allowed both parents and kids at least time to breathe, before filling the online shopping cart with Lego merchandise.
Wild fun and whilst stretching the original concept to breaking point, the kids will love it, jokes come thick and fast and tone is just about right.
The film is the movie equivalent of a sugar rush but well worth your time. Just don’t let the kids watch before bed time….