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‘LEGO Batman’ may be best Batman movie yet

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Will Arnett is the voice of the main character in “The LEGO Batman Movie” (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)

Most Batman films are unwilling to question the nature of Batman. On paper, what Batman represents isn’t all that great: Bruce Wayne is a privileged one-percenter, an individualist who happily bypasses government programs to work alone and decide what’s best and who’s bad or not.

Which is why “The LEGO Batman Movie” is quite possibly the best Batman movie ever made (if not a close runner up to “Batman Returns”).
Liberated from the constraints of “dark,” “edgy” or even “campy,” “LEGO Batman” is able to poke fun at the costumed gentleman hero, and really dig into the elements of Batman that make the character who he is. Who’da thunk you’d get all that from the sequel to an adaptation of building blocks?

Will Arnett’s growly, sarcastic, heavy metal-loving Batman was such a hit in “The LEGO Movie,” he deserved his own project. But no one expected this to be among the most refreshing Batman movies.

It’s due in large part to writer Seth Grahame-Smith, known for his twists on classics in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”

A host of comedy writers also contributed, and the jokes are densely packed and fast and furious _ visual gags, puns, wordplay, one-liners.

The film’s self-referential nature starts at the beginning, with Arnett huskily describing the opening credits, logos and all. He plays Bruce Wayne/Batman as the arrogant playboy he always has been, but the film reveals his vulnerabilities. That cowl masks more than just his identity.

But in “LEGO Batman,” Batman accepts his “family”: sidekick Robin (Michael Cera), new police commissioner and love interest Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), and of course, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes). As the saying goes: “Everything is awesome, everything is cool when you’re part of a team.”

The theme “take a look at yourself and make that change” also resonates through the movie, which is truly hysterically funny, cute and very lovable.

— Katie Walsh, Tribute News Service

The LEGO Batman Movie
Four stars
Starring Will Arnett, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson
Written by Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, John Whittington
Directed by Chris McKay
Rated PG
Running time 1 hour, 44 minutes

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