The movie opens with Batman (Will Arnett, giving a nice comic exaggeration to the current gravelly-voiced character) single-handedly defeating almost his entire gallery of villains (including some new ones, obscure ones, and ones from the 1966 Batman TV show). While everyone loves Batman, in private he's terribly alone -- watching romantic comedies by himself and wandering around an empty mansion, to the concern of Alfred (Ralph Fiennes). His desire to be alone has Batman refusing to work with new Police Commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) and not acknowledging the Joker (Zack Galifianakis) as his arch-enemy. And when Bruce Wayne accidentally adopts orphan Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), Batman pretty much ignores him -- even when Dick becomes Robin.
As one might expect, there are innumerable elements from Batman's history, from the cartoons, TV shows, and movies to the obscure villains from the comics and black and white serials. There are also plenty of other comic book and pop culture references, including the Super Friends, non-comic book characters (that aren't all Lego sets), and pop music. The voice talent is terrific (including numerous celebrity voices) and there's plenty of action and humor through the movie.
The Lego Batman Movie also has a couple of problems. The movie drags a lot in the middle and could have been a good deal shorter. The story arc is pretty obvious, and there are several inconsistencies that pop up in the movie (that can't be explained away by the Lego universe). But even with those, The Lego Batman Movie has lots of entertainment, for little kids and adult comic book fans.
Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch