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“Rebuilding” Batman’s legacy

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"The Lego Batman Movie," starring Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis and Michael Cera, is the first spin-off of 2014's critically acclaimed "The Lego Movie." The spin-off has already gained similar praise from critics, receiving a 91 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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TNS

"The Lego Batman Movie," starring Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis and Michael Cera, is the first spin-off of 2014's critically acclaimed "The Lego Movie." The spin-off has already gained similar praise from critics, receiving a 91 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

JOSHUA ROUSE, Film Critic

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Throughout the years, Batman has clashed over and over again with the Joker. Countless times, the Dark Knight has foiled the Clown Prince of Crime’s evil schemes to take over Gotham City. He has carried out all of these heroics just the way he prefers it: by himself.

So, when Commissioner Jim Gordon’s daughter, Barbara Gordon, takes over as chief of police, opinions collide as her teamwork philosophy interferes with Batman’s lone wolf approach. With the city no longer needing a vigilante, Batman is encouraged by Alfred to take up a family in the form of adopted orphan Dick Grayson. However reluctant he is, Batman needs all the help he can get when the Joker’s newest plan of attack threatens the future of Gotham City.

Directing: 5/5

When 2014’s “block”-buster “Lego Movie” wowed critics and audiences alike, it seemed like the kind of film that’s crazy enough to work only once in a blue moon. But with the same team who led the first foray into the Lego universe, it’s no surprise that “The Lego Batman Movie” is just as creatively zany and cleverly silly as its predecessor.

There is something truly amazing about the team’s ability to tap into that relatable creative power that everyone has experienced at some point when building with Lego sets. Whether it’s the unlimited configurations of the Legos themselves, or the big scenes that call upon an amalgamation of characters from all across the Lego-verse, these movies cut right to the 10-year-old inside everyone’s hearts.

Animation: 5/5

While it may look like stop motion animation in most scenes, “Lego Batman” is actually one-hundred percent CGI. Knowing this, the fact that the film features the herky-jerk movement of stop motion is even more impressive. Every single set piece and detail (besides back drops and liquids) is made up of Lego.

There is so much packed into every scene that even after several views, it’s guaranteed that something new will catch your eye. A good chunk of the humor relies on sight gags, and they sure hit the funny bone just as hard as they hit the eyes with all their meticulous brick-by-brick detail.

Writing: 5/5

“Lego Batman” is not only incredibly intricate in its visuals, but in its jokes, as well. There are laughs abound with the cunning silliness that weaves its way through this movie. Just about every iteration of Batman ever made is referenced. Whether it be from a previous film or a specific event in the long history of Batman, the movie never misses its chance to poke fun at the Caped Crusader’s history. But even for those who are unfamiliar with the expansive lore and backstory of Batman, there are plenty of surefire jokes to get everyone laughing.

Even with all the funny stuff crammed in at every angle, “Lego Batman” still manages to pull off a surprisingly heartfelt story. Its exploration into Batman/Bruce Wayne’s lonely way of life and his response to any sort of intimate relationship or teamwork tugs at the heart strings as the movie works out its message and central themes.

This masterful mix of plot, humor and tender moments makes for a well- rounded viewing experience that is engagingly watchable the whole way through.

Voice Acting: 5/5

The sizeable cast is headed by Will Arnett, who reprises his role from “The Lego Movie” as Batman/Bruce Wayne. With his gravelly voice and snarky attitude, Arnett brings a lot of energy to the over-the-top rendition of the World’s Greatest Detective.

Zach Galifianakis gives a solid performance as the Joker.

Michael Cera is delightfully innocent in his role as the Boy Wonder himself, Robin/Dick Grayson.

Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon commendably provides a down-to-earth foil to Arnett’s zany Batman.

Ralph Fiennes plays Alfred Pennyworth, Batman’s loyal butler and father figure.

The rest of the cast is a star-studded array of talent with names such as Mariah Carrey, Jenny Slate, Billy Dee Williams, Conan O’Brian, Zoe Kravits, Hector Elizondo, Jemaine Clement, Adam Devine, Channing Tatum, Seth Green, Eddie Izzard, Jonah Hill and many more whose voice cameos are sprinkled throughout the film.

Overall:

With a solid mix of laughs, touching moments and explosive action, “The Lego Batman Movie” is both a fast-paced and hilarious viewing experience appropriate for all ages.

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“Rebuilding” Batman’s legacy