Time to rip off this Band-Aid: The Lego Movie 2 is being postponed. I know how you must feel – take as much time as you need to fume, or sob, or ragepunch a hole through a few fully built LEGO sets. According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Lego Movie 2 is being pushed into some shadowy date beyond 2017, because – and here’s the good news (our anti-Band-Aid) – their priority is now a Lego Batman movie.
You probably should, because Warner Bros. is doting on Lego Batman with the same care and devotion it had for The Lego Movie 2 (unlike the solely-to-sell-toys-no-adult-can-pronounce Lego Ninjago spin-off). It’ll be directed by Chris McKay, animation supervisor on the first Lego Movie, and produced by LEGO wonderpair Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
This, as you may recall, was the same setup for The Lego Movie 2. Will Arnett is set to return as cinema’s most dickheaded version of the caped crusader, and Warners may even slot this one on the same May 26, 2017 date reserved for Lego 2. There’s but one difference – Lego Batman’s screenwriter will be Seth Grahame-Smith (writer of the “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter” novels), presumably to add the appropriate tinge of darkness.
As a neat bonus, Lego Batman is also the ideal Batman for anyone suffering Batman fatigue (or hesitant about the amount of humorless anger-screaming in Batman v Superman: Dawn of At Least Eight Sequels). It’s the perfect palette cleanser, a Batman movie that’ll be (I’m assuming, though it’s kind of a gimme) lighthearted and kid-friendly and entirely unlike what Ben Affleck will be doing when he dons six tons of Bat-Power Armor in a year and a half. A Batman that, like the last outing, we can enjoy simply as Batman, and not as a Trojan Horse for someone’s Marvel Cinematic Universe clone.
Expect this to have more than just Batman, though. We already had a bare bones Justice League in The Lego Movie — Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, all with appropriate celebrity voices (Channing Tatum, Cobie Smulders and Jonah Hill, respectively) – and it’d be foolish to assume they wouldn’t pop in for an entirely superhero-based LEGO spin-off. And if the film takes any inspiration from the two LEGO Batman games (another probable gimme), it’ll include at least a few dozen more. The games are all about wacky adventures with as many superheroes as will fit on a single disc – the second game in the series, LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, contained 50+ playable characters, the vast majority of them from DC Comics (although some, like “Policeman” or “Riddler Goon,” are a total cop-out). LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, due out this fall, is said to have at least 150.
Lego Batman could be everything we’ve ever wanted – a movie with a mass Justice League, all of whom are bright and cheerful, and whose costumes aren’t all muted and colorless, embarking on a grim n’ dark-free adventure with all the terrific brick effects of the first film. Maybe it’ll be a turning point for the superhero genre. Maybe it’ll just be a cute, clever two hours. Either way, us in the audience win big.
And, as a final note of baseless speculation, I desperately hope that Lego Batman copies the first film’s “it’s actually a real-life kid playing with LEGOs” reveal – we pull back to find Batman, decked out in full costume, clutching little minifigures in his hands in a small portion of the Batcave devoted to Batman-only LEGO sets. 1,000,000 bonus points to WB if they could land Ben Affleck for it.