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Everything is still awesome in ‘Lego Batman’

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Gotham City’s caped crusader is back, and this time he’s blocky.

Spun off from 2014’s surprisingly heartwarming “The Lego Movie,” “The Lego Batman” continues the adventures of Batman (deftly voiced by Will Arnett) in a beautifully Lego-fied Gotham City.

The film opens with the Joker (phoned in by Zach Galifianakis)  teaming up with basically every Batman villain ever, including those so obscure he has to assure a character he’s not simply making up names and mentions they’re “worth a Google.”

Joker’s devious plot is foiled yet again by Batman, but before doing so the caped crusader refuses to agree with the proposition that Joker is his greatest villain, establishing Arnett’s version of Batman is a self-absorbed loner.

From here on the film is unapologetically a children’s film, but delivered with a delicious coating of comic book nerd jokes and pop culture references. Arnett-man isn’t the most faithful rendition of the Dark Knight ever put to film, but he is the perfect version to teach a sappy life lesson about the importance of teamwork and family to the film’s target demographic.

Despite frequent fourth-wall breaking jokes about Batman having been essentially the same person since Adam West’s version in the 1960s, he is basically a man-child throughout the movie, repeatedly greeted with situations challenging his loner tendencies.

Chief among these situations is Batman’s accidental adoption of Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), even then only allowing him to become Robin if he acts as an expendable sidekick during a risky heist operation.

As with “The Lego Movie” there are many tongue-in-cheek moments that had every parent in the theater belly-laughing while the children remained entranced by the Lego products flying past on screen. At one point Joker unleashes a bunch of villains from other pop culture properties onto Gotham, and his introduction for the Daleks from “Doctor Who” is calling them killer robots and then telling the audience to “ask your nerd friends.”

There’s something magical to the clash of past and present that comes along with this cinematic Lego-verse. At one point during my screening I had to stifle a laugh as I overheard a father of an 8-year-old boy turn to his son and excitedly point out the villain currently fighting Robin was Stripe from “Gremlins.”

Child or adult, if one has even a passing interest in Batman and smiling, see this movie as soon as possible.

5 Stars (5 / 5)

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Everything is still awesome in ‘Lego Batman’