Batman’s back! After having an hilarious co-starring role in The Lego Movie, Batman gets his very own film to run around fighting crime and being a loveable jerk. Voiced by Will Arnet, this Batman isn’t quite like the other big screen variations of the character but it works well within the context of the film
After Batman defeats The Joker for probably the millionth time, they share a scene that resembles a break-up. Joker refers to himself as Batman’s greatest enemy and Batman tells Joker that he doesn’t have a greatest enemy. He’s just fighting a lot of different people right now. He likes to “fight around.” The Joker is hurt and decides to show Batman what’s what by manipulating Batman to send him to the Phantom Zone so he can recruit the worst villains of all time to take down Gotham City and prove to Batman that he’s worthy of the “greatest enemy” title.
While that’s going on, Batman accidentally adopts Dick Grayson (it makes sense in the movie) and suddenly has a family he has to deal with. Also Commissioner Gordon has retired and is being replaced by Barbara Gordon so he’s having to learn to trust a new ally.
The main theme of the movie is Batman’s isolation and his difficulty with opening up and accepting people into his life. It makes for some funny jokes and has a nice message about family and trust. Michael Cera is pretty great as Robin and Rosario Dawson is perfectly fine as Barbara Gordon. Zach Galiafinakis is The Joker and he wouldn’t have been my top choice to play the character but he does a pretty good job.
There’s a ton of references to other films including all of the Batman movies, Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, as well as plenty of non-comic book movies such as The Matrix, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, King Kong and so on.
Overall, there’s plenty for both parents and children to enjoy in this film. I was a little nervous when the film started and Batman breaks into a song while fighting the bad guys. It’s a similar song to the one in The Lego Movie and I was worried it was going to be 100 minutes of rehashed jokes. Fortunately that wasn’t really the case. In my opinion, it’s not quite as good as The Lego Movie but it’s still an enjoyable film especially for Batman films.
I give it a B+