Review by C.J. Bunce
It’s just what fans of DC Comics have been begging for. Finally, a Batman portrayal worthy of Adam West and Michael Keaton. The complete membership of the classic Justice League as fun as we all remember them from the comic books. Homages to famous artists adapted to the big screen from the best of DC Comics, like cover artist Jock, plus throwbacks to the campy series of the 1960s. And more homages to the musical scores from the best of the DC Comics cinematic adaptations of the past, including callbacks to Danny Elfman’s score to the 1989 Batman movie and John Williams’ Superman theme.
What was your favorite DC Comics adaptation before 2017? How far back do you go? Most superhero movie fans seem to agree upon the original Superman starring Christopher Reeve as the modern rebirth of the superhero film, and count Reeve among the best embodiments of a superhero on film. But after Reeve, fans begin to disagree as movies based on DC Comics are concerned, and usually turn to the CW Network television series for the next best DC iterations of comic book adaptations.
So when all of it finally comes together, it finally comes together in 2017, after the likes of misfires including Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad, we finally have an exciting and worthy DC Comics outing that is fun for the entire family, and best of all, it is all heart.
And as a bonus, it features villains worthy of a movie from the DCU. Sure, you might expect a pantheon of villains like The Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, Egghead, Scarecrow, Bane, Clayface, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Man-Bat, Captain Boomerang, Crazy Quilt, Eraser, Polka Dot Man, Mime, Tarantula, King Tut, Orca, Dr. Phosphorus, Killer Moth, Magpie, March Hare, Frank Miller’s Mutant Leader, Dr. Hugo Strange, Zodiac Master, Gentleman Ghost, Clock King, Red Hood, The Kabuki Twins, Calendar Man, Kite Man, Catman, Calculator, Zebra-Man, and Condiment King. But all in one movie? And battling some of fiction’s other greatest supervillains, like Dracula and the other Universal Monsters, The Daleks, Lord Voldemort, Jaws, King Kong, Gremlins, velociraptors, the Wicked Witch of the West, Agent Smith from The Matrix, and Sauron? Wait–was Darth Vader tied up in some other project?
Of, course, I’m talking about The LEGO Batman Movie. The 2017 animated smash hit is now available in home release via expanded OnDemand as well as available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD. If you missed it in the theater, don’t wait–it’s perfect for kids of all ages this holiday season.
It truly will be difficult for anyone to walk away from The LEGO Batman Movie and not consider Will Arnett’s Batman–equal in camp to Adam West’s, uncannily close to Michael Keaton’s off-kilter crusader, and emulating that archetype turned cliched Clooney/Kilmer/Bale/Affleck gravelly drawl–as one of the top three of all Batman portrayals (and don’t forget Kevin Conroy!). The rest of the cast can’t be topped, with Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon, Michael Cera (in his best-ever performance) as Robin, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred, Zach Galifianakis as The Joker, Conan O’Brien as Riddler, Billy Dee Williams reprising his role as Harvey Dent aka Two-Face, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Eddie Izzard as Voldemort, Seth Green as King Kong, Channing Tatum as your new favorite Superman, Jonah Hill as Green Lantern, Mariah Carey as the Mayor, Laura Kightlinger as the reporter, and Hector Elizondo as Commissioner Jim Gordon. What a cast!
Lorne Balfe, the composer known for his scores to both Iron Man and The Dark Knight, offers up a rousing burst of energy like Michael Giacchino’s score to The Incredibles. Even our most favorite computer voice actor, Susan Bennett (known to most as the voice of Siri), has a great and funny performance as the Bat ‘puter. There are too many Easter eggs to count. What more could you want? As with The LEGO Movie that introduced Will Arnett’s Batman, you won’t deny it, The LEGO Batman Movie is a blast.
In his first big screen project, Chris McKay expertly directed The LEGO Batman Movie, featuring a smart and funny script by Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Price and Prejudice and Zombies). Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who both directed The LEGO Movie, produced the film along with Dan Lin. Finally, the Justice League like it was meant to be, with Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter, and Green Arrow and Black Canary. And a 57th anniversary superhero party like no other, including Superfriends’ Wonder Twins and Gleek the monkey, plus El Dorado, Wonder Dog, and Black Lightning.