The Lego Batman Movie, Film Review. Picturehouse@F.A.C.T., Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: Will Arnett, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis, Rosario Dawson, Michael Cera, Jenny Slate, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Jermaine Clement, Ellie Kemper, Adam Devine, Kate Micucci, Seth Green, Jason Mantzoukas, Mariah Carey, Billy Dee Williams, Riki Lindhome, Eddie Izzard, Conan O’Brien, Doug Benson.

There is nothing like a good Batman film in which to soak up a few hours, Bob Kane’s gift to comic book fandom has had its ups and down, whilst enjoyable in a kitsch, clique ridden way, the 60s television and subsequent film didn’t add much to the mystique of the Dark Knight, whereas Michael Keaton’s and Christian Bale’s interpretation of the man and the myth was completely and beautifully captured by their respective directors.

Batman should not be taken lightly but like all great institutions, it can and must be lovingly parodied from time to time, just to keep the feet grounded and the ego of the masterpiece descending into a place where it is not respected for the subtle way it shaped the last century of graphic novel art.

The Lego Batman Movie is a case in point where parody is produced to great effect, where the image of the Dark Knight is enhanced and not degraded in such case as the nearly awful Batman Forever and the completely wretched Batman and Robin. Such films as the two mentioned should be taken as a base line in the art of bringing comic book heroes to life; that is their parody, a wrecking ball through a much loved character.

The Lego Batman Movie though, whilst silly, whilst slightly mocking the gravitas of the hero and the situation, pounds away with some excellent visual jokes, the pathos of the man and his time and the realisation of some great points not stated in the films, the sense of loneliness that endures throughout the film is a credit and whilst it is played out for laughs, it has at its thread, at its heart, a symbol of truth attached to it and frames perhaps with greater poignancy the rich tapestry of Bob Kane’s creation.

With some great voice over work provided by Will Arnett as Batman, Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon and Zach Galifianakis as The Joker, The Lego Batman Movie is a great romp, a comic book hero of a comic book world, no pretensions, just great fun, a sly back hander which doesn’t denigrate the character but one that lives alongside the separate cannons with honour.

Ian D. Hall