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Caped crusader is toying with us

Second Lego film is like spying on a child playing an imaginative game with his dad’s Lego toys

09 February, 2017 — By Dan Carrier

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
Directed by Chris McKay
Certificate PG
☆☆☆☆

THIS is not a wonderful cinematic experience because the gag-o-meter is stuck on red throughout and you have only just registered one joke when another comes along and biffs you on the jaw.

Nor is it fantastic because the mind-boggling animation assaults your senses. It’s not because of the super-fun storyline about Batman and his adversary The Joker going at it hammer and tongs, nor the asides of a superhero who needs to lighten up a little and learn to love a lot.

All these elements place this second Lego franchise flick in the file marked “humdinger” – but they are not the reason it’s worth seeing.

No, what makes this second Lego film such a laugh is all the way through you are aware that you are actually spying on a child playing an imaginative game with his dad’s Lego toys.

As you will recall, the first Lego movie has a marvellous twist at the end, where you are taken out of the animated world of crashes, bangs and wallops you’ve inhabited for the past 90 minutes to discover it’s all about creative play, childhood, growing up and parent-kid relationships.

As soon as the opening credits roll here, you are splendidly reminded that what’s kicking off isn’t happening in some weird alternative universe, but is simply the kid who has gone into the basement to spend a happy afternoon whooshing his dad’s models through the air, and giving a running commentary as to what the little plastic characters are getting up to.

You will recall that Batman was perhaps the funniest of all the hilarious little dudes in the 2014 movie, so here he is as the star of the show. It’s a wonderful in-joke of all the superhero films you’ve ever seen.

Batman (Will Arnett) adopts an orphan Robin (Michael Cera) but being a loner who prefers mashing baddies in the face, entertaining a child isn’t high on his to-do list.

Add to this his inability to come to terms that the relationship he shares with The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) is a yin and yang-type thing – where would each be without other? – and there is a soppy core at the heart of the rollercoaster action, hilarious gags, pop cultural references galore and general spit-out-your-popcorn giggles. As the refrain from the song in the first film states, everything is awesome – and still is.

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