As 2016 winds down to a close, moviegoers are looking ahead to what 2017 in film has in store. There is no shortage of anticipated projects coming through the pipeline, and viewers won't have to wait long into the new year for some of those to reach theaters. The LEGO Batman Movie, a spinoff of 2014's The LEGO Movie, opens in February around the same time its predecessor did. The film centers around Will Arnett's hilarious version of the Caped Crusader, telling a story about how the Dark Knight must put aside his loner tendencies and work with other heroes to save Gotham City.
Warner Bros. has done a great deal of marketing for LEGO Batman already, unveiling numerous trailers and posters showcasing the wide cast of characters and irreverent sense of humor that's become synonymous with the LEGO brand. With the movie's release date fast approaching, the studio has started to debut some TV spots online. On the heels of an extended advertisement, two more promos are now out. You can watch the first (dubbed "Unite" above).
Essentially, the spots offer truncated versions of the full-length theatrical previews, touching on the same plot beats and jokes the earlier promotional materials have showcased before. With Gotham overrun by criminals, Bruce Wayne needs to put aside his fear about being part of a family again and open up, allowing Robin, Batgirl, and others into his life to make things easier. Even though Batman feels he's the only one who ever comes up with good ideas, he realizes there is some value in teamwork and reluctantly allows some friends to tag along. Check out the second spot - "Hero" - below:
As a supporting character, Batman was one of the standouts in the original LEGO Movie, as Arnett's take offered a sharp parody of the world famous superhero to great effect. The success of his interpretation coupled with the immense popularity of the Caped Crusader (and the comic book genre at large) should make LEGO Batman a slam dunk. The filmmakers have promised that the movie will be a treasure trove of Easter eggs and references to previous incarnations (see: Billy Dee Williams voicing Two-Face), which will make it a fun time for youngsters and older viewers who have been following Batman on film for a while. That kind of cross-generational appeal is vital for animated films, and fortunately the LEGO franchise has it in abundant supply.
In addition to the ever-growing DC Extended Universe, WB is banking on a shared LEGO Movie universe to be one of their main cash cows moving forward. That plan got off to a great start when the first film (somewhat unexpectedly) was a critical and commercial hit, so hopefully the forward momentum can continue with LEGO Batman. Right now, it certainly looks like director Chris McKay has a strong handle on the material and will deliver laughs and action in spades. With Ben Affleck's live-action version leaning more towards the serious side of things, a more light-hearted Batman movie may be just what viewers need.