I have a ton of movies to catch up on, so this will have to be a bit abbreviated. As anyone who read my review of The Lego Movie could tell you, I thought that was a top-notch animated film on the same level as the Toy Story movies. How could they possibly make another movie that met our increased expectations with as much wit and heart as they were able to pull off with the original?
Well, they didn't quite do it here, but they came incredibly close. Batman is such a storied franchise that the amount of material for satire is overflowing. They have decades of films, comics, and TV shows to play off of, and they do it expertly throughout this movie. The jokes come at such a rapid rate, that I'm sure I only caught about 75% of them, and they still accomplished the most difficult yet essential requirements for an animated movie - having it be as entertaining for adults as it is for children.
The voice cast is tremendous, with Will Arnett being the obvious standout (reprising his role from the original Lego Movie), but newcomers Ralph Fiennes and Michael Cera as Alfred and Robin respectively are perfect additions that work perfectly in this world. Zach Galifianakis is great as the Joker as well, and Siri's on-the-nose portayal as the computer (or 'Puter) is a terrific bit of stunt casting that always made me giggle.
I'll wrap up this review by saying that the animation is incredibly clever, the humor is pitch-perfect, and the story is surprisingly heartfelt. No, it isn't as surprising and multi-layered as The Lego Movie, but it comes close to reaching that height, which is probably better than I could have reasonably expected. It may have gone a little long for an animated film with the pace it was trying to maintain, but that's more of a nitpick than a genuine complaint.
The year is early, and though I didn't think it was worth the full four stars, I still think it's the best film I've seen so far this year (I'm seeing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 tonight, though, so that could change). That's a bit of a spoiler for my other reviews yet to come that I'm catching up on, but so be it. The point is, The Lego Batman Movie was a highly enjoyable time at the theater, and I won't hesitate to give it three and a half stars. Go see it in the dollar theater!
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE is rated PG for rude humor and some action