As one of the oldest and most popular comic book characters around, there have been no shortage of different interpretations of Batman over the years. While every Batman story tends to adhere to the same basic principles — dead parents, brooding vigilante, you know the drill — DC’s Caped Crusader is very much a malleable character who tends to reflect the political and cultural climate of the day. Joel Schumacher’s campy 90s films were a reaction to the darkness of Tim Burton’s films, while Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight was a Batman for the post-9/11 world. And while The Lego Batman Movie arrives too soon after 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to be considered a rebuttal to the latter film’s overtly grim tone, it sure feels like a reactionary work, and is exactly the kind of superhero movie we need right now.
Despite its comedic tone and ostensibly being a “kid’s” movie, The Lego Batman Movie is something that hasn’t been seen in theaters for nearly a decade: a good Batman movie. Although it as much parody as it is a serious interpretation of the character, The Lego Batman Movie is easily the best Batman movie since Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and a return to form for the character on the big screen.
*Note: Only Batman movies with a theatrical release are discussed here. The DC animated movies are their own separate thing.
Will Arnett Is Easily The Most Entertaining Version Of Batman
Will Arnett is not the greatest incarnation of Batman, but he may just be the most entertaining and that has to count for something. While Kevin Conroy is still the definitive voice of the Dark Knight, Arnett excels at capturing a very particular interpretation of the character. If you’ve seen The Lego Movie, then you already know what to expect from Arnett’s performance, but he still manages to take the character in different directions that weren’t even hinted at in that initial supporting role.
Arnett is just as comfortable doing “gym bro” Batman as he is doing tortured lonely man Batman and it’s hard not to want even more of his performance once the credits roll. While Ben Affleck continues to hone his take on the character in the DC Extended Universe, Arnett’s Batman is already here, fully realized, and I hope that Warner Bros. continues to provide him with opportunities to return.