We were tempted to take lots of LEGO Batmen with us, but remembering what happened to the rear end of our LEGO Scooby Doo Mystery Machine, we decided it better to choose one, and it was Tartan Batman who got a day out. I've already posted about the whole LEGO Batman trip to London, this is our review of the movie itself.
We went as fans, we loved The LEGO Movie, and Batman is a particular favourite of our 6 year old. None of us were disappointed.
Batman is the perfect main character. He shone in The LEGO Movie, and it was right he got his own film. The story focusses on him, his fight to rid Gotham City of bad guys and bring joy to his fans, and the fact that actually this leaves him very much alone.
Batman is voiced by Will Arnett, and the cast list really is A-list, with an array of stars, including some that are truly unexpected - Mariah Carey as The Mayor is great. Who knew? Robin is voiced by Michael Cera, Alfred by Ralph Fiennes, and Batgirl Rosario Dawson. Zach Galifianakis is perfect as The Joker with a sensitive side...
Batman's only company at home is Alfred, his Butler and Valet. The Batcave is immense, housing all of the great Batvehicles we've come to know so well through the console games. The scale is fabulous, and is put to great use throughout the film. Batman may have all of that stuff, but Lobster Thermidore for one pinging away in a microwave really shows he's just the same as any of us.
The action starts immediately, no scene-setting or backstory as everyone knows Batman already. We are introduced to Dick Grayson and the obvious jokes are spoken out loud, and hilarious "My name is Richard, but my friends call me Dick", "Children can be cruel" is possibly one of the best jokes of the movie, and I've only shared it because I think it'll be everywhere within minutes anyway. It really lead to a lot of discussion between my boys.
Batman meets Dick when he's visiting the orphanage to shower them in the hilarious 'merch', and later on accidentally adopts him. By adding an excitable young person into the mix, Batman's crispy exterior cracks a little, and he even falls in love....awww. His more human emotions increasingly show throughout the film, but so do those of his main adversary - The Joker.
We discover that The Joker also has a soft side, and he needs Batman to fight him. In fact, he NEEDS Batman to WANT to fight him. To be really happy The Joker has to feel that he's a worthy opponent, and with help from his sidekick Harley assembles a crack team of villains. They cause absolute chaos, and Gotham City itself is almost destroyed. I won't spoil it any more for you....
LEGO Batman has the same tongue-in-cheek humour throughout, self-referential more than anything else. There's a great mix of content for the children, and visual references and jokes that go way over their heads and make the adults laugh out loud. There are even 60's and 70's references that'll make the Grandparents laugh, and the kids and younger parents ask questions such as "why is Speedwagon funny?", "who are Cutting Crew?". I know I must have missed loads, so I can't wait to get the DVD and watch it with a pause button...
The storyline is well-written, and also works on several levels. Small children can appreciate it as a very basic good guys vs baddies, while the more mature audience can see it as a story about loneliness, covering love and friendship, and on an even deeper level, respect for those you disagree with. It's an excellent message, however don't think I've gone too soft, The Joker will always be an actual bad guy.
We all laughed aloud, we all had jaw-dropping moments. There's one brief scary/sad part which made my 6 year old cry, but he understands too well what loss really means, and I think it won't actually upset most children. Considering loss is a part of life for us all. The scene isn't too long, turned out okay for the characters involved, and even my son was sat forward laughing from the depths of his belly moments later.
You'll never recapture the excitement of seeing 'the first time LEGO made a movie', but our opinion is that LEGO Batman is every bit as good. The humour is all still there and it is still great (if anything a little more risque), the references to LEGO, Batman, and everything else really keep your attention and keep you laughing through the whole film. The messages are good, with humanity which the world needs right now, and it all comes together to make a great multi-level movie that the entire family will enjoy together.
The LEGO Batman Movie will be in your cinemas from February 10th, with special advance screenings from today in some cinemas. The movie is rated PG and has a runtime of 1 hour 44 minutes. 5/5 from all of us - aged 6-45.
I'll leave you with Cutting Crew. Believe me, if you'd been a 14 year old girl when this was released, you'd have thought it was great too....
Our trip to the cinema was as guests of Warner Bros. We were not paid, and we covered the travel costs ourselves. Tartan Batman is from the LEGO Batman Book - Chaos In Gotham City.