The Bock’s Office: ‘Lego Batman’ — Holy successful spin-off!
February 23, 2017
With a rogues gallery that includes a crocodile man, a lady in pigtails and harlequin makeup and a sentient glob of muck, you'd think "The Lego Batman Movie" would already be as crazy as it could get.
You'd be wrong.
If you go…
"The Lego Batman Movie," rated PG
Rating: 3 out of 4 stars
Running time: 104 minutes
Starring the voices of: Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera and Rosario Dawson
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Fight crime with high-tech gear, hang out alone in a mansion, sleep, repeat.
Life is good for Batman (voice of Will Arnett), sworn protector of Gotham City, whether he's donning his cape and cowl to clean up the streets or hobnobbing with the elite as his alter ego, billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne.
Still, there's a sense of loneliness for the superhero, whose solitary lifestyle may be by design but is starting to take its toll, as his loyal butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) can tell.
But, Bats has bigger issues to worry about than his feelings. The retirement of Police Commissioner James Gordon (Héctor Elizondo) results in daughter Barbara (Rosario Dawson) taking up his stead with plans to decrease law enforcement's reliance on the Caped Crusader.
And, when Batman's long-time nemesis the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) suddenly and suspiciously surrenders himself and all of Gotham's usual suspects to the police, the Dark Knight knows something sinister must be afoot.
Arnett makes a spectacular return from "The Lego Movie" as the gravel-voiced, grandiose guy with limitless resources and an ego to match. You don't call yourself the World's Greatest Detective without developing a smidge of arrogance.
Curiously, none of the comics have ever shown his late night habit of eating microwaved Lobster Thermidor while repeatedly hate-watching the "You complete me" scene of "Jerry Maguire."
Galifianakis is an odd, but admittedly effective, choice to voice the Joker, the murderous madman toned down for the sake of kids and given a more emotional bearing as someone whose entire existence is predicated on being Batman's main villain and raison d'être.
And, when the superhero you've dedicated your life to terrorizing tells you he doesn't care about you, it can sting worse than if your mother said it.
Michael Cera provides a light-hearted lilt as Dick Grayson, an orphan who wants to live up to the legend of fellow orphan Bruce Wayne, somehow managing to get adopted by Gotham's wealthiest and accidentally becoming the sidekick to the man in the Batcave, never aware the two are one and the same.
And what is Robin without the classic, legless version of the costume? R-r-r-ip!
This fantastic plastic version of the Batman mythos bluntly addresses some of the nagging matters that have bothered some fans for decades — "It's weirder if it's not your son" — and taps into the deepest, darkest recesses of Bat lore that some would like to forget.
Hey, you never know when Bat Shark Repellant will come in handy.
If there was one lesson to be learned from "The Lego Movie," it's that the phrase "too much" should never apply in a cartoon. When you're talking about a character who's accrued dozens of enemies across 78 years, there's no chance of running out of wacky supporting characters voiced by a baffling assortment of folks, ranging from Conan O'Brien as the Riddler to Billy Dee Williams finally getting a chance to play Two-Face.
A frenzied pace that's now the standard for Lego movies — with more on the way already — is a boon for anyone who thought the Christopher Nolan trilogy moved too slowly. As the world expands as a result of the "everything but the kitchen sink" approach, director Chris McKay has to keep a lid on things before it gets too ridiculous, managing to just barely save the day from overindulgence.
"The Lego Batman Movie" doesn't quite live up to its predecessor's originality — mostly due to audience familiarity with its lead hero by this point — yet it's fresh perspective on an ongoing entertainment dynamo. If you think Batman will be stopping anytime soon, have no fear.
Except for snake-clowns.
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