By Ryan Keating-Lambert

★★★☆☆

An occasional laugh-out-loud comedy that pays decent tribute to pop culture with spectacular effects and action sequences. It’s a movie or comic book geek’s dream, with enough added silliness to keep the kids entertained.

In the latest DC / LEGO outing, Batman (Will Arnett) is a reclusive, arrogant and sillier version of himself, and is shunned by the Gotham City public when the new chief of police, Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), points out his inability to capture the Joker (Zack Galifianakis) and other villains. Feeling shameful, Batman hatches a master plan to catch the villains once and for all.

Empire Magazine has named this the best Batman movie in years and in some ways it is. It tramples all over Ben Affleck’s Batman v Superman, and his other recent appearance in Suicide Squad. LEGO Batman takes the sombre seriousness of the latter two appearances and flips them completely on their heads.

Will Arnett (Arrested Development) has given us a ridiculously over-the-top comedic portrayal of the Dark Knight and it’s wonderful majority of the time. The microwave scene was my favourite.

But what starts out as a strong and witty beginning soon descends into silliness and becomes overly sentimental. The clever pop culture references to comics and retro movie villains (there are even some gremlins in there) were a nice touch and looked hilarious in LEGO form. The Dark Knight’s adopted son Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) was also a nice touch and a fun way to introduce the incredibly cool Batcave and eventually become Robin (the little boy inside me was jumping up and down).

But after a while, the humour relies more on outbursts of singing, screaming and everything slapstick. It’s a shame that the film couldn’t hold that note of wit that it had in the first few scenes. But, being especially picky with comedy, I’m afraid my views may be a little subjective here.

However, this instalment does bring a most refreshing take on the relationship between Batman and the Joker. Locked together in hate, they speak to each other like an old married couple. The film is actually packed with subtle gay undertones which are highly entertaining and oh so original.

Plus, it’s all in LEGO… The animation is outstanding and a huge part of the experience and fun. If you get the chance to see this in 3D, I’d highly recommend it.

The LEGO Batman movie is a worthy follow-up to The LEGO Movie, and a worthy predecessor to The LEGO Ninjago Movie.. Something tells me there’s going to be a lot more of these.

Photo: Den of Geek

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