We tend to think most big animated family flicks are children’s films with enough stuff for grownups to enjoy. I’m convinced The LEGO Batman Movie works the other way around. By mocking damn well nearly everything in Batman’s extremely long history, the film is out on a mission to tickle adult nerd ribcages. Your kids won’t get most of the references, I’m sure, but more than half the jokes work on a pie-to-the-face silliness that it won’t matter whose face gets pied.
The opening ten minutes plays fast and loose with the gags, throwing pretty much every Batman villain into the mix except for Kitchen Sink Man. That, in itself, is a gag, and the bad-guy count goes even higher in a way that – without spoiling it – stays VERY true to how many kids play with LEGO.
If Kevin Conroy is the ultimate voice of ‘Badass Batman’, then Will Arnett is the unquestionable voice of ‘Douchebag Dark Knight’. He continues to be the pitch perfect dude-bro try-hard version of Bruce Wayne in a story that noogies his main problem. He misses being part of a family and yet keeps his closest companions at arm’s length – mainly loyal butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes at 100% thespianism), carefree orphan Robin (Michael Cera at his liveliest), and arch nemesis The Joker (Zach Galifianakis at his most sincere and heartfelt).
This movie is the non-stop chuckle machine Warner Bros. needed, though not necessarily the one it deserves. The drooping fringe on the currently emo DC Universe hangs so low that it can’t see itself in the mirror. So thank the LEGO lords for delivering its little brother that points and laughs at how stupid it looks. In a loving way, of course.