If the trailers and clips somehow left you feeling a little uncertain about “The LEGO Batman Movie,” rest assured: Pretty much everything is awesome in the brick-filled Gotham City, despite the best efforts of The Joker.
Early reviews of director Chris McKay’s “LEGO Movie” spinoff are overwhelmingly positive, with critics praising its humor, action, voice cast and character moments. That’s not to say the film doesn’t have at least a few detractors, however.
Opening Friday nationwide, the film sees Will Arnett reprise his “LEGO Movie” role as Batman, a longtime loner who must learn the importance of teamwork if he hopes to stop a plot by The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) to take over Gotham. CBR’s Kristy Puchko, singled out the actors’ performances, writing, “Arnett once more brings a hysterical blend of arrogance and obliviousness to his growling Batman, which plays beautifully against Galifianakis’ wacky but easily wounded Joker.”
Here’s a selection of what critics are saying about “The LEGO Batman Movies,” which is rated 94-percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes:
Owen Gleiberman, Variety: “‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ uses the towering plasticity of Lego to tweak a superhero culture (namely, ours) that pretends to be about nobility but is really about the vain delusion of full-time fantasy. Your average Pixar comedy thumbs its nose at a great many things, but ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ is a helter-skelter lampoon in the daftly exhilarating spirit of Mad magazine and the ‘Naked Gun’ films.”
Josh Dickey, Mashable: “New gadgets, new villains, new attitude — there must be a million ways ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ messes with the bat-canon, yet somehow it never violates it. This is a movie for Batman fans, by Batman fans, and yet can easily be enjoyed by anyone. ”
Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter: “… Although there is still much to enjoy here, this DC Comics-fueled LEGO adventure fails to clear the creative bar so energetically raised by co-directors and writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller back in 2014.”
Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: “Less a sequel to ‘The LEGO Movie’ than a big-screen, family-friendly version of Adult Swim’s blackout-sketch show ‘Robot Chicken,’ ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ gleefully parodies every mass-media iteration of its hero, from the serials to ‘Super Friends’ and from Adam West to Ben Affleck. While hard-core devotees will enjoy an overflowing basket of Easter eggs, you don’t have to be a super-fan to enjoy its crafty mix of outlandish verbal humor and outrageous visuals.”
Susana Polo, Polygon: “[Rosario] Dawson’s Barbara Gordon is fantastic casting in a great role. Michael Cera as Dick Grayson is funny, earnest and adorable — a parody of Kids’ Movie Cloying without ever slipping up and becoming Kids’ Movie Cloying. Channing Tatum also deserves a mention for a small but very deliberately put interpretation of Superman.”
Oliver Lyttelton, Playlist: “[I]t’s less a superhero parody than a plain old superhero movie for probably two-thirds of its running time, becoming increasingly conventional and rather less funny as it goes on. For instance, some might try and explain away the film’s reliance, yet-fucking-again, on a portal in the sky for its third-act climax as a joke at the trope in the genre, but for it to be a parody it would have to in some way use it for the purpose of a joke, which it really doesn’t do.”
Steve Rose, The Guardian: “The movie is chock-full of meta-references, one-liners and in-jokes (a cinema in the background is playing ‘Two Shades of Grey,’ for example). There’s a hint of political subversion in the suggestion Batman’s methods are extra-legal and unaccountable. There’s even a Guantanamo-like Phantom Zone where criminals are locked away, outside the law. Mostly, the movie pokes fun at other fictions: rival DC superheroes, characters from other stories (including Gremlins and Daleks), and above all, Batman’s own chequered heritage.”
David Ehrlich, IndieWire: “The whole movie gently skewers the self-seriousness that has always characterized its title character, but that doesn’t stop it from laughing at very specific moments from Batman’s big screen history; it feels like ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ bears the most biting of these jokes, but perhaps that’s only because any mention of that disaster feels like a sick burn.”
Opening Feb. 10, “The LEGO Batman Movie” stars Will Arnett as Batman, Michael Cera as Robin, Zach Galifianakis as Joker, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth, Rosario Dawson as Batgirl, Mariah Carey as Mayor McCasskill, Jenny Slate as Harley Quinn and Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face.
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