Bat-comedy Doesn’t Fully Assemble

Directed by Chris McKay

Starring Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Rosario Dawson

Released February 10th, 2017

Rated PG


It must be nice to be Batman. You’ve got all of Gotham City under your gauntlets, the police commissioner is your pal, you’ve got untold wealth, and of course all those wonderful toys. What more could you need?

Friends might be nice, but Batman (Will Arnett) works alone! He doesn’t need anyone. All he needs is Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), the Batcave, and a nice lobster thermidor dinner. Batman lonely? Pshaw.

This would have made an excellent half hour television special, as the opening is very funny, but the film quickly runs out of steam.

It’s at Commissioner Jim Gordon’s (Hector Elizondo) retirement party that Batman, er, Bruce Wayne, meets the new Commissioner, who happens to be Jim’s daughter Barbara (Rosario Dawson).

I don’t mind that this movie makes Barbara Gotham’s police commissioner, but it’s odd that this would be Bruce’s first time meeting her if he’s been working with her dad for so long. The Lego Batman Movie also has Bruce falling for Babs, (you know her at Batgirl) something I cannot support. In the classic books she’s younger than him and eventually pursues a relationship with Dick Grayson. Here, Grayson (Michael Cera) is portrayed as a very young orphan, who wants Batman to be his dad. It’s all very strange and I’m not sure it works.

When The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) decides to turn himself (and the rest of Gotham’s villains) in, Barbara gets the credit and Batman isn’t sure what to do with himself. Of course, The Joker is up to something, and it’s up to Batman and his new Bat-Family to put a stop to it.

Batman is a silly character. The Lego Movie did a great job highlighting this, with Will Arnett voicing a hilariously narcissistic version of the Caped Crusader, who even came up with his own theme song: “DARKNESS! NO PARENTS! SUPER RICH!”

Batman was one of The Lego Movie’s standout characters, but when I heard they were fast-tracking a Lego Batman Movie, I was concerned that the character may not be able to carry a whole movie. Turns out I was right to have that concern.

This would have made an excellent half hour television special, as the opening is very funny, but the film quickly runs out of steam. There are times the movie seems to come to a complete halt. The story becomes repetitious and this loud, in-your-face movie wears out its welcome.

There are more easter eggs and DC Comics in-jokes than in any previous comic book movie, and while they made me smile, simply making references does not a good movie make. If only they had spent more time on the story and less time jam-packing in cameos from z-list characters. Condiment King is funny. Condiment King twice is not funny. Condiment King three times is lazy.