“The Lego Batman Movie”

I hope Zack Snyder took notes on “The Lego Batman Movie.” Unlike last year’s “Batman vs. Superman,” “The Lego Batman Movie” explores Batman’s greatest fears and flaws! It’s also hilarious.

Batman (Will Arnett) has once again thwarted The Joker’s (Zach Galifianakis) plans to destroy Gotham. He’s done more harm than good because now Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) has outlawed vigilantism and The Joker has an even greater plan to destroy Gotham. It’s more psychologically dangerous for Batman because he must accept he needs help to win.

Much like 2014’s “The Lego Movie,” “The Lego Batman Movie” is fast-paced, packed with meta humor, and has the energy of an action movie. The laughs are consistent from the opening logo alone.

The writers did their homework because “The Lego Batman Movie” is packed with several Easter eggs and references to previous comic books and films. Between referencing The Joker’s “plan with the two boats” (“The Dark Knight”) or featuring the mutant gang (from “The Dark Knight Returns” comic), “The Lego Batman Movie” caters to Batman fans.

In terms of voice acting, Arnett is the perfect voice actor for Batman. He not only makes fun of Batman with his dry humor, but also acts with vulnerability, similar to his work in “Bojack Horseman.” Galifianakis delivers one of his best performances as The Joker. Between these two, they brilliantly depict why Batman and Joker need each other. Michael Cera once again delivers a great voice performance and has a bright future as a voice actor. His voice his perfect for Robin’s enthusiasm and naivety.

The film gets sweet when exploring Batman’s flaws and shows why he lives an isolated lifestyle. He wants to have a family, but is afraid of letting people in after what happened to his parents. This is a refreshing spin on an overdone story arc.

DC has struggled since “Man of Steel,” “Batman vs. Superman,” and “Suicide Squad” were all dark, angsty, loud, and overly violent films that favored destruction over storytelling. “The Lego Batman Movie” might be mildly fast-paced, but at least the narrative knows when to focus on its characters.

Grade: A-

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