THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
This spin-off of the popular Lego Movie (where Batman featured in a supporting capacity), and Batman lego toys of course, is a wild and crazy joke-laden CG animated romp. In order for this to succeed and hit all the marks, the viewer needs to be (at least partially) versed in the superhero films of the last decade, especially Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, to get the most from all the references and in-jokes.
While made as a kid's animated movie with a myriad of DC comic book characters in a Lego world, let's face it, this is very much aimed at Batman fans of all ages (including the hardcore adult Batman devotees who cursed the day they heard the announcement of this production diminishing the legacy of their Dark Knight! - but will watch it regardless). And rip into Batman they do, not pulling any punches (but with a whole lot of affection). It goes beyond standard satire as they take the piss out of the hero with his gravelly Christian Bale whisper (voiced by Will Arnett).
Here there isn't much of a distinction between Gotham City's billionaire Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego, the crime fighting vigilante Batman - he's pretty much a self-centred, wise-ass, arrogant bro-douche 24-7! - bragging about everything from his achievements and wealth to his gadgets and abs!
Always winning the day, somehow none of his foes ever get locked up… In one of his many battles with the Joker (and his cohorts), a theme unfolds mirroring that of a rom-com (and other soppy flicks like Jerry Maguire, which Batman also sits and watches alone in his mansion). The Joker is heartbroken when he realizes moody loner Batman doesn't deem him special in his life as his ultimate enemy, and concocts a plan to open Batman's eyes to their relationship (which involves Joker being banished to the Phantom Zone which houses the biggest villains of all time, but it requires stealing the Phantom Zone ray from Superman's Fortress Of Solitude).
Things are changing though, there's a new (female) police commissioner, Batman accidentally adopts an orphan (who becomes his side-kick Robin), and Joker's fiendish plot forces one-man show Batman to drop the solo act and start to work with others.
Naturally you'll expect a whole bunch of music, from parodies and the characters singing, to new and old-school favourites. Like Angry Birds, some adult references and humour get slipped in, that will go over the kids' heads.
The Lego Batman Movie is a silly, over the top, action packed mash-up but above all else, boils down to one single thing: fun (with a blatant moral built into it, naturally).
When it comes to live action films I'm not much of a 3D fan, but CG animated movies seem best suited, so this one is more effective if you want that added zing.
4 / B
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temperature
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished