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Can a dysfunctional Dark Knight handle a family?

Film | by Jorge Ignacio Castillo

The Lego Batman Movie
Now playing, wide
3.5 out of 5

The Lego Batman Movie is a good flick: it’s tremendously entertaining and so crammed with material it will probably take three or four sit-throughs to process all the references.

Heck, there are over 70 years of Batman backstory shoehorned in a 90-minute feature, and that includes the Batusi.

That said, The Lego Movie matched its comedy with poignancy. This spinoff, on the other hand, doubles down on the original’s superficial jokes, replacing the deeper levels with a perfunctory lecture about the importance of family.

So, not a classic. It’s still lots of fun.

Will Arnett reprises his role as the plastic caped crusader. Unlike Christopher Nolan’s brooding hero and Zack Snyder’s ruthless vigilante, Lego Batman is efficient and ferociously narcissistic. He’s also pathologically unable to have a relationship with anybody. Batman’s secret shame comes to the forefront when a needy Joker (Zach Galifianakis) demands to be acknowledged as his nemesis, something the superhero is not ready to do. Then, as Bruce Wayne, he unwittingly adopts a bubbly orphan (Michael Cera) desperate for a father figure. Finally, the emergence of Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), Gotham’s new police commissioner, turns his bat-world upside down. It’s all too much for the Dark Knight, who fears if he lets anybody into his heart a fate similar to his parents’ awaits.

But this isn’t some dour French drama about a family that can’t connect. This is Lego Batman, a superhero whose spectacular obliviousness never stops being funny. Speaking of funny, there’s a slew of hilarious cameos from outside the caped crusader’s canon (I won’t spoil them here). On top of that, no Batman incarnation is overlooked and some of the references are obscure enough to send viewers to Wikipedia. So come prepared to laugh.

Overall, The Lego Batman Movie is a ton of fun. It’s only problem is that it’s not as good as The Lego Movie. Also, the end credits song: it’s hideous.

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