The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

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The Brick Knight Returns

Director: Chris McKay
Running Time: 104 Minutes
Starring: Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Mariah Carey, Jenny Slate, Susan Bennett, Billy Dee Williams, Héctor Elizondo, Conan O'Brien, Jason Mantzoukas, Doug Benson, Zoë Kravitz, Kate Micucci, Riki Lindhome, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Adam DeVine, Eddie Izzard, Seth Green, Jermaine Clement, Ellie Kemper

After 2014's The Lego Movie proved to be a hit with critics and audiences, it should be no surprise a follow-up was made, let alone it centring around one of the world's most popular characters. Such a pairing could easily be waved off as a cash grab, which makes it even more satisfying the final product is a wonderful piece of fun, as well as the funniest adaptation of The Dark Knight.

Still hurting from the loss of his parents, Batman (WIll Arnett) has closed himself off. His routine consists of fighting crime, microwaving Lobster for his dinner, playing Guitar, and gazing wistfully at old family portraits. As The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) orchestrates a hostile takeover, Batman must learn to accept help from others, as well as the importance of friendship and teamwork, in order to save Gotham City.

This version of Batman is a mixture of the same character many know and love, with parts new to him. He remains hurt by the loss of his parents while afraid to let anybody else into his life, lest he lose them also, but rather than admit to this emotional vulnerability of his, he puts on a facade of being arrogant and uncaring. He's more likely to admit he's afraid of Snake Clowns, or beatbox his cares away. It's a superb performance, completely fun when it needs to be, while saddening when it needs to be. Each side of the character is well portrayed by the ever reliable Will Arnett, who's perfect in the role,

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Providing support to him is excitable orphan Dick Grayson, accidentally adopted by Wayne at a charity event. Voiced by Michael Cera, the character is provided with an overly excitable persona, trying to find a father figure to look up to, while being utterly adorable with his wide eyed design. In fact, there isn't a weak link among the cast. Rosario Dawson perfectly sells the no-nonsense Commissioner Barbara Gordon, while Ralph Fiennes brings wonderful heart as Alfred, who partakes in more of the action than his cinematic predecessors. Zach Galifianakis does a good job as a more emotional version of The Joker, who loves his hateful relationship with Batman, and merely wants acknowledgement from the Caped Crusader. After all, neither is anything without the other.

But the films real strength lies in its honest reverence for the long, detailed history of The Dark Knight. This picture pays homage to all aspects of Batman's history, going from quoting Michael Keaton's take on the character, to honouring the Adam West series, while including poking fun at the Joel Schumacher era, and even some recreations of the 1943 serial. Frankly, the love should be apparent when obscure villains like Condiment King and Kite Man make their appearances.

Just like the films predecessor, the film is packed with wonderful visual animation, fluid action sequences, and especially touching moments that resonate with viewers. Granted, one will be wondering why the Justice League fail to make a crucial appearance after their humorous appearance, but as a whole, it's a promising debut from Robot Chicken veteran Chris McKay

Easily one of the best iterations of the character, The Lego Batman Movie is a wonderful piece of cinematic promise. At the core, it's a love letter to the Dark Knight, written in ways both humorous and touching. It's also a great deal of fun, packed with wonderful songs.