The LEGO Batman Movie Almost Reaches The Heights Of Its Predecessor

When The LEGO Movie arrived in theatres three years ago, expectations were relatively low, but it wound up delivering an experience far more inventive and substantial than anyone expected. As a result of that triumph, expectations are far higher for The LEGO Batman Movie, a sequel that covers much the same territory as its predecessor, but with a different cast of characters. (After playing a supporting role in the original movie, Batman is the main attraction this time around.) As you might expect, The LEGO Batman Movie lacks the rebellious, subversive, even philosophical wit that made the original so surprising, but it’s far from a disappointment. An eye-popping visual feast that delivers a rapid-fire onslaught of above average punchlines, this is the second consecutive triumph in the LEGO Movie franchise.

Assuming that the viewer already has a working knowledge of Batman (Will Arnett reprises his role from The LEGO Movie), the filmmakers bypass his origin story, arriving in his life at a time when he is already an established Gotham icon, saving the day on a regular basis—with an abundance of self-congratulatory arrogance. However, Batman is also haunted by loneliness, spending long nights alone in his mansion watching Jerry Maguire, with no one to complete him. Adding to his problems, The Joker (Zack Galifianakis) is on his case yet again, frustrated that Batman won’t assign him full nemesis/supervillain status.

As The Joker puts together his latest plan for world domination and Batman sinks deeper into despair, Dick Grayson (Michael Cera)—an orphan that Batman accidentally adopted—arrives on the scene. By joining forces with this young admirer, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), and police commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), Batman manages to abandon his loner status and discover the potential of teamwork. Working together, they hope to save Gotham from The Joker’s band of misfits and steer Batman toward a more balanced existence.

Beginning with Deadpool-style wisecracks over its opening credits, The LEGO Batman Movie embraces just about every comedic opportunity it can get its hands on. While these crowd-pleasing tendencies occasionally push the film too far in the direction of shameless pandering, this anything goes approach makes for a refreshingly irreverent look at the world of superheroes. A case could be made that Arnett’s Batman is a little too one-note to warrant feature length examination, but he’s surrounded by so many colourful characters—from The Wizard of Oz, The Matrix, Gremlins, and countless other franchises—that you should be able to forgive the film’s shortcomings and enjoy the ride.

The LEGO Batman Movie arrives in theatres today. Check out the trailer below.