Will Arnett voices a brilliantly gruff, macho, humourless Dark Knight in this expressive, cinematic and subversive Gotham City satire
It was already brave of the custodians of the Batman franchise to let The Lego Movie mock their prize asset so mercilessly in 2014. The fact that they’ve doubled down with this feature-length parody suggests they figure either Batman can take it, or that he’s reached that point in the superhero cycle where it’s no longer possible to take him seriously. Either way, this gag-packed, knockabout action-adventure has a lot of fun with the character, while also broaching his pathologies in a way the “serious movies” rarely do. It doesn’t have the heart, the depth or the novelty of the first Lego movie, but it is relentlessly, consistently funny – which excuses everything.
Voiced with Christian Bale-like gruffness by Will Arnett, this is the macho, humourless, self-regarding Dark Knight we get here, who imagines he’s brilliant at everything and prefers to work alone. “Batman doesn’t do ’ships,” (as in “relationships”) he tells a crestfallen Joker, denying there’s anything special between them during a spectacular opening fight (as with its predecessor, this movie’s Lego-bricked animation is surprisingly expressive and cinematic). Afterwards, our hero goes home to an empty Batcave for some microwaved lobster, a little solo heavy-metal guitar, and a night alone in his home cinema with Jerry Maguire. He’s a bit of a loser, in other words.