The Lego Movie’s standout character, Batman, swoops in for an adventure of heroism, wit and sarcasm
Photos: Warner Bros Singapore
In 2014, one superhero unabashedly stole the spotlight in The Lego Movie. Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) tickled young and old audiences alike with his egotistical, smooth-talking and flashy Bat-moves.
Now, he’s back for thrills and spills in his own irreverent Lego Batman Movie. There are big changes brewing in Gotham, and The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) is scheming for the ultimate hostile takeover.
This time, in order to save the city, the Dark Knight may have to drop the lone ranger act, try to work with others and — perhaps the most challenging task of all — learn to lighten up.
Gotham’s Got Them
Joining Bruce Wayne on his journey is Robin (Michael Cera), an orphan named Dick Grayson whom Batman takes under his wing as a trusty, albeit clumsy, sidekick.
Appearing in two recent teaser clips (one of them titled “How to Get Adopted”), Robin demonstrates a sprightly enthusiasm that’s oddly contagious, and may just steal every scene he’s in. (Psst: Don’t tell Batman.)
While he’s dealing with that ball of fun, Batman gets another teammate that may very well be his match. Barbara Gordon, a.k.a Batgirl, has one dream: Team up with Batman — an idea that doesn’t quite excite Bruce.
But when he sees her in action, he may just change his mind. Batgirl is voiced by “Daredevil” actress Rosario Dawson.
Also smashing onto the scene is The Joker’s partner-in-crime, Harley Quinn (Jenny Slate). But don’t expect the same deranged dolly from last year’s Suicide Squad. The Lego Batman Movie appears to cast the Clown Prince and the Princess of Crime in a different light.
Instead of a couple in a (rather dysfunctional) relationship, the pair is depicted as best friends, marking what is possibly the first time that Harley isn’t romantically attached to Joker in a big-screen adventure.
Other exciting performances to look out for include Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort from the Harry Potter films) as the stoic butler Alfred and singer Mariah Carey as Gotham City Mayor McCaskill.
Easter eggs galore
For the more ardent superhero and movie fans catching this family film, director Chris McKay has hinted that the scenes will be peppered with Easter egg references to other characters from the original Batman comic books, the animated series and previous movies.
He shares, “If we didn’t get a character, there’s something in the signage of Gotham City, or a reference in a newspaper headline. There are little Easter eggs, some very overt.”
In some cases, he even had his brick characters utter quotes from other movies. McKay muses, “Just by having those characters say lines you’d have in a Michael Bay movie, they become ridiculous coming out of a toy’s mouth.”
In its “Happy New Year” promotional snippet, Bruce Wayne takes a cue from another fictional billionaire with a lavish Gatsby-themed New Year’s party. In the video, the Caped Crusader channels Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jay Gatsby, as seen in 2013’s The Great Gatsby.
We’ll definitely be keeping our eyes and ears peeled for more references like these. Who knows? There may even be an ode to Marvel thrown in for good measure.
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE [TBA]
Director: Chris McKay
Starring: Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson & Ralph Fiennes
Genre: Animation, Comedy
Run length: 104 min
Release: 9 Feb
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of Weekender, Issue 171, February 3 – February 16, 2017, with the headline ‘The Brick Knight Rises’.