After stealing scenes left and right from Chris Pratt in The LEGO Movie, it is hardly a surprise that Will Arnett’s Batman was given his own film. The LEGO Batman Movie is out now on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download. For fans of Arnett, LEGO and/or The Dark Knight, there could not be more of a must-own for your home video collection
It arrived on the big screen earlier this year and as you can tell from our theatrical The LEGO Batman Movie review, we loved it! Taking the Arnett-voiced character for a ride in a solo movie, one who is one of the comic book world’s most filmed, is a stroke of genius. What is delivered is easily one of the best Batman movies we’ve ever seen, and yes… that is saying something.
Arnett is back as Batman, and of course as billionaire Bruce Wayne. The film is helmed by The LEGO Movie’s director of animation, Chris McKay, and as such… what audiences adored so much about the first LEGO movie is all over this second film. Plus it is clear that McKay is also a huge fan of Batman and the entire Dark Knight universe as that adoration can be seen in every single frame.
The villain in this superhero story is The Joker (voiced brilliantly by Zach Galifianakis). He is seeking to take over the entire city, but it seems his desires go a little deeper than that. The Joker wants to be connected to Batman himself. He sees the hero as the Yin to his Yang. In a hilarious turn, Batman tells The Joker that there is no “you and me,” and it just destroys the normally vicious villain. The people behind these LEGO movies know where to mine for the humor and also when to amp it up to eleven.
If Batman is going to be able to stop The Joker and his evil ambition to take over Gotham City, he might just have to get some help this time out. That help arrives in the form of his iconic partner from the comics, TV and various movies… Robin (Michael Cera, also perfectly cast). How Robin comes to be in this LEGO landscape is hilarious, heartfelt and the most enjoyable addition of Batman’s sidekick we’ve seen. Robin isn’t the only character to stand by the Bat, Bat Girl joins in the action.
The voice cast is top notch. Joining Arnett, Galifianakis and Cera is Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon and Ralph Fiennes as Alfred with appearances by Jenny Slate as Harley Quinn, Jason Mantzoukas (from the upcoming The House) as Scarecrow, Conan O’Brien as The Riddler, Billy Dee Williams Two-Face and Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman. It’s a full house of awesome.
What makes The LEGO Batman Movie so special is what was established with the character in The LEGO Movie. He takes himself seriously, but there is always a wink to the audience that lets us all know that this Bruce Wayne/Batman is above the rest in the self awareness factor. We can say truly that no one that has come before that has donned the Batsuit truly gets the character as Arnett does in this universe.
Brilliant bonus features abound, including original shorts that give us more of the Caped Crusader.
The best of the new shorts is Dark Hoser, which asks the question: Is Batman Canadian. A fun one is Batman Is Just Not That Into You that finds Harley Quinn taking her adoration for the Bat in an interview that “aired” on Arkham CCTV. With Slate providing the characterization of the Suicide Squad stand-out character, it is a blast. Now, can we get a Slate-driven Quinn LEGO Movie in the near future? A wildly creative short is Cooking with Alfred, which is just as it sounds. The only draw back is that Alfred is not voiced by Ralph Fiennes, but someone who takes the more Michael Caine route. Lastly, Movie Sound Effects: How Do They Do That? features a slew of classic characters making simple laser sounds, thinking they’re awesome, until they are bested by a surprise guest.
Before the theatrical release, a Ninjago short premiered that introduced movie audience to Master Wu, the high priest of Ninjago. His complicated effort to get the opening credits perfect is delightful and deliriously endearingly humorous.
In terms of “making-of” docs, One Brick at a Time: Making The LEGO Batman Movie illustrates the painstaking and patience-requiring effort it takes to make this film, or any LEGO movie frankly. Insight is provided by a varied list of members of the crew, from director McKay across the board. Brick by Brick: Making of The LEGO Batman Movie is a more talent-centric look at the making of the amazing movie, putting the spotlight firmly on the voice actors bringing these characters to life.
The last of the “Brick” featurettes is Behind the Brick. This is an entertaining look at the characters and the movie itself, with each character introducing themselves and describing the film in a manner that features them clearly thinking this story is all about them. It is, just like the movie itself, hilarious.
Feeling a bit like an episode of the MTV series Cribs, Inside Wayne Manor is a terrific — albeit too short — look at the Wayne home, led by both sides of the resident’s personality.
There is a slew of promotional material, as if they included every single trailer and marketing moment from the entire roll-out of the film.
The Director and Crew Commentary is one of most unique and inclusive we’ve ever seen. That fact lies in the fact that director McKay speaks about how he is rarely alone in the making of this film and that he is usually in a room with at least 23 people. By the end of the commentary track, the audience will hear at least that many!
Not to worry, it is not chaotic. McKay is a fine host, for lack of a better descriptor. What does become clear, as if it wasn’t already, is that bringing this movie to life was a tiresome process… but in the most creatively inspiring way. Not only is it a challenge to bring LEGO to life, but this is a group with a keen and astute knowledge and appreciation of the world of Batman.
Film Grade: A
Bonus Features: A