Review: Spoof, parody or marketing gimmick, The Lego Batman Movie is still fun

The dynamic duo, crime fighting in multi-coloured bricks in The Lego Batman Movie Picture: Warner Br

The dynamic duo, crime fighting in multi-coloured bricks in The Lego Batman Movie Picture: Warner Bros - Credit: PA

Like most send-ups a lot of the humour is about the predictability of the genre, subverting its clichés and making you feel clever.

The Lego Batman Movie (U)

***

Of all the things that the Evil Corps can do to us, possibly the worst is try to be our friend. For the way that they have taken a tool for encouraging innovation and creativity in young minds and turned it into a marketing sledgehammer.

Great as The Lego Movie was, I couldn't muster much enthusiasm for this spin off. The trailer came across as too smug, too flip, too full of smart Alec recognition humour that formed a bigged up closed circuit of self congratulation between audience and performer.


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The Lego Batman Movie functions much more like a traditional spoof or parody than plain, non-Batman Lego Movie. Voiced, or rather growled by Will Arnett, its Dark Knight is Christian Bale's ultra intense Batman taken to ludicrous extremes, mean, moody and a bit full of himself.

Like most send-ups or spoofs a lot of the humour is about the predictability of the genre and subverting its cliches. So the Arkham Asylum has its own museum and gift shop, the Batman is seen as an over aged Goth who has got a bit complacent because he always because his villains always make the same mistakes.

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It's a self lauding parody though. The joke about how good he looks after having been doing this for 77 years attest to the character's extraordinary longevity. It also demonstrates, for such a seemingly limited figure, just how versatile this caped crusader has been, taking in interpretations as disparate as Adam West and Christian Bale's, all of which seemed perfectly legitimate.

It's all consistently jolly and chortlesome and if the humour sometimes seems to be mining the same basic themes, it doesn't quite outstay its welcome.

Of course, to enjoy it you already have to be in the gang because it's all about spotting the little references. And if you're not on board it will all just seem like a noisy, abrasive blur.

Probably the key point though is that it invites you to spend one and three quarters hours of your time on Earth watching animated Lego. Granted, some of the production design is splendid (particularly the Batcave) but that doesn't always disguise the visual paucity of it.

Like all parodies it has a rub-your-tummy-mister appeal, in that it appears to be demeaning itself in order to give you a little boost, to make you feel clever and superior to it, while simultaneously whipping that smugness away from you by persuading you to watch a film made from a rudimentary children's toy.

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