Build­ing a bet­ter Bat­man

Lennox Herald - - REVIEWS -

Since Chris­tian Bale’s Caped Cru­sader rode off into the sun­set in Christo­pher Nolan’s su­perb The Dark Knight Rises in the sum­mer of 2012, it’s been a rough pe­riod for Bat­man.

Turned into a stroppy teen in tonally manic TV show Gotham and a mur­der­ing psy­cho in the messy, medi­ocre Bat­man vs Su­per­man, my favourite comic book char­ac­ter hasn’t been treated with ten­der-lov­ing care of late.

Throw in Ben Af­fleck va­cat­ing of the di­rec­tor’s chair for DC’s solo spin-off amid ru­mours of a com­plete overhaul for the trou­bled pro­duc­tion and it seemed like even the en­tire might of the Jus­tice League would strug­gle to save the day.

But, rid­ing in on a Batwing and a prayer to re­store faith in all things Bat­man, is the cranky tones of Will Ar­nett’s voice work in a ki­netic, hy­per­ac­tive an­i­mated ad­ven­ture to ap­pease fans and mass au­di­ences alike.

Ar­nett’s grouchy Caped Cru­sader stole ev­ery scene he swooped in on dur­ing 2014’s Lego Movie and is back for his own full-length spinoff as the The World’s Great­est De­tec­tive has to bal­ance fight­ing crime with rais­ing adopted young­ster Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), aka Robin.

Lego Bat­man lacks the pathos and in­sanely clever depth – and in­no­va­tive use of its tit­u­lar build­ing blocks – of its pre­de­ces­sor, but still rates as an hour and 40 min­utes of out­ra­geously fun en­ter­tain­ment.

Chris McKay – best known for his work on the Ro­bot Chicken tele­vi­sion se­ries – helms only his se­cond ever film from a script sup­plied by no fewer than five writ­ers.

Per­haps due to so many fingers be­ing in the sto­ry­line pie, there’s a manic sense to pro­ceed­ings as just about ev­ery Bat­man char­ac­ter imag­in­able – and many from DC’s en­tire sta­ble – are wheeled out with reck­less aban­don.

Like the Lego Movie, there are nu­mer­ous sur­prise ap­pear­ances too in a colos­sal roll call of names that would make even a Mar­vel teamup flick pale in com­par­i­son.

Ar­nett is per­fect for the shifts be­tween light and dark in his Bat­man’s story and gets the bal­ance right be­tween self-par­ody and cowltip­ping re­spect for the iconic hero.

He also has a blast re-team­ing with his old Ar­rested De­vel­op­ment buddy Cera in the like­able Bat­man and Robin bond fans have been des­per­ate to see for decades.

An eclec­tic voice en­sem­ble in­cludes Ralph Fi­ennes (Al­fred), Rosario Daw­son (Bat­girl), Zach Gal­i­fi­anakis (Joker) and even Mariah Carey (Mayor McCaskill), while Billy Dee Wil­liams fi­nally gets to play Two-Face af­ter miss­ing out on the role back in the 90s.

There’s far too much go­ing on – par­tic­u­larly vis­ually – to take in on first view­ing, and I’m sure re­peat vis­its will un­earth mul­ti­ple Easter eggs.

Not quite the an­i­mated clas­sic many an­tic­i­pated, then, but Lego have still cre­ated one of Bat­man’s best cin­e­matic romps.

I hope DC are tak­ing notes for their prob­lem­atic live-ac­tion pro­duc­tion.

Top teamAr­nett’s Bat­man leads the Jus­tice League

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.