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As DC prepares his new live-action blockbusters, Batman returned in The LEGO Batman Movie, a spin-off from The LEGO Movie in which the Dark Knight (voiced by Will Arnett) takes centre stage in his very own adventure.

Very much in the spirit of the first LEGO Movie, this spin-off is a fast-paced, tongue-in-cheek romp packed with silly jokes, familiar characters and colourful LEGO action. The genuinely cool, relentless opening sequence sees The Joker (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) join forces with other Batman villains, even the wacky ones, to execute his latest evil plan. Batman, of course, shows up to save the day and we get a more honest look at what happens with Bruce Wayne after a wild night taking care of the bad guys. Lonely, bored, microwaving lobster thermidors, watching Jerry Maguire on his own: it turns out that working solo has its disadvantages. The film captures the strengths and weaknesses of the Batman character brilliantly and although it's technically a spoof, its heart is also in the right place and its message about family is a valid one.

The best part of the film, apart from the gorgeous visuals, is the story which is both a straight-up Batman story but also on the scale of something the Justice League would have to deal with. There are numerous rogues from Bane to Two-Face (Billy Dee Williams, finally!) to look out for as well as Superman and the rest of the DC superteam, but also random characters from past unrelated franchises like Voldemort or Agent Smith. The film also works as an origin story for Robin (Michael Cera) as he is adopted by Batman before joining him on his adventures. And although having Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) take over from a retired Commissioner Gordon doesn't make much sense in that timeline, it works fine. Parts of the film feel a bit too rushed and not all the jokes hit the mark but this is overall another excellent entry into the LEGO movie franchise.

The LEGO Batman Movie looked like a lot of fun and it didn't disappoint: the perfectly cast Will Arnett leads a really entertaining, funny film that kids and adults alike should have a good time watching. Comic-book fans will appreciate all the obscure in-jokes and you don't even need to like LEGO to enjoy this smart, goofy flick.


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