Director: Chris McKay
Writers: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna
Stars: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate, Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Rosario Dawson
A DC movie that’s clear, fun and knows what it wants to be. Let’s hope someone’s taking notes.
But that may be slightly unfair. There are going to be massive comparisons between this blocky-Batman adventure and the forthcoming DC movies scheduled for release over the next few years. The fact that this movie can poke fun at previous incarnations of the Batman franchise (including those Joel Schumacher ones) and include cameos from Gremlins and Daleks speaks volumes. This is Warner Bros. ONLY opportunity to be so light-hearted when dealing with such revered characters as Superman, Batman et al.
The plot is… ridiculous. It’s a roaring laugh-fest with Batman/Bruce Wayne (Arnett) as a self-indulgent, brooding loner who’s one Fall Out Boy song away from becoming a full-blown Emo. The Joker (Galifianakis) is the hammiest embodiment of the character we’ve probably ever seen. He should come with a ‘Strictly-Not-Kosher’ warning. Robin (Cera) is a wide-eyed (literally in this case) needy kid who’s only missing the empty bowl when drawing comparisons with other famous orphans. And it’s all so terribly wonderful.
Bruce Wayne is doing his usual thing of obsessing about his dead parents. Understandable. But here we get to poke fun at the fact we’re quite bored of this back story. He’s living in his mansion, obsessively eating lobster thermidors and spends his free time watching romance movies. There’s a reason we don’t see him doing much else the un-Batman things in other movies. It’d be like watching James Bond assemble an IKEA flatpack. Too weird.
The Joker is devastated that Batman DOESN’T hate him. That alone is an amazing observation. Batman, in every format ever released, has never actually expressed that emotion for his enemy. He’s only ever reacted to the Clown Prince’s need for chaos. So, the Joker gives himself up for good. Seriously, he hands himself in and retires from the life of crime, accepting that without Batman as his enemy he might as well hang up his novelty BANG-flag guns.
But Batman doesn’t buy it. He’s convinced that the Joker is up to his most devious scheme yet and sets about trying to capture Superman’s Phantom Zone generator to trap him for good, reasoning that Arkham will never be able to hold him. Sound plan. Until it goes wrong.
In the meantime, Bruce accidentally adopts Dick Grayson who’s puppy dog display borders on the hilariously moronic. Dick can’t even work out that Batman and Bruce are the same person, believing that he’s been adopted by both of them.
Barbara Gordon (Dawson) along with Alfred (Fiennes) are the only two level-headed characters in Gotham, both trying to persuade the Caped Crusader that he needs help fighting crime.
The Joker is tremendous fun to watch as a homicidal maniac clown, standing in front a vigilante dressed as a bat, asking him to hate him. Credit goes to Galifianakis for his slightly whiny and desperate portrayal of the Joker, whilst retaining his lunatic dimensions.
This is the most selfish and inconsiderate version of Batman we’re ever likely to see. Will Arnett, in his funniest role since Arrested Development, is hysterical as the sulky Dark Knight.
Michael Cera is perfect as this version of Robin. Why would a teenage kid dress like a total dork, have a tiny bird as his pseudonym and live with an insane billionaire crime-fighter if he wasn’t a complete half-wit?
This is the light relief we need from all the gossip, on-set leaks, baffling announcements and horror stories we’re constantly hearing from the DCEU. Superhero movies should be fun, right?