Netflix just added one of my favorite ‘Batman’ movies — and it’s 90% on Rotten Tomatoes

An image from "The Lego Batman Movie" now streaming on Netflix
(Image credit: Warner Animation Group / DC Entertainment[)

Ask the average comic book fan their favorite Batman movie and you’d probably get a fairly predictable response. Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” and 1989’s “Batman” are the most common picks, with perhaps some recent preference for Matt Reeves' “The Batman”. 

One flick that I’m confident would be overlooked by many is “The Lego Batman Movie”, but I'm here to argue that it deserves to be in the conversation, and is worthy of a high-ranking spot in any list of the best Batman movies of all time. 

This 2017 animated effort may not have left the imprint on cinema that Tim Burton’s “Batman” did, and it might not contain any characters as instantly iconic as Health Ledger’s spin on The Joker, but it’s a family feature that deserves so much more than to be dismissed as a “kids movie”. It offers an enjoyably zany take on the beloved cape-wearing superhero and is probably the Batman movie I’ve rewatched the most. 

“The Lego Batman Movie” just got added to Netflix this week (on Wednesday, June 19), and it deserves to be at the top of your watchlist. Let me explain why it’s the best Batman movie you (probably) haven’t watched, and why you need to correct that oversight right now…

What is “The Lego Batman Movie” about? 

The LEGO Batman Movie Official Comic-Con Trailer (2017) - Will Arnett Movie - YouTube The LEGO Batman Movie Official Comic-Con Trailer (2017) - Will Arnett Movie - YouTube
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“The Lego Batman Movie” is a standalone spin-off from 2014’s “The Lego Movie” (also added to Netflix this month) and sees Will Arnett reprise his role as a plastic-brick version of the Caped Crusader. Set in a Legoifed version of Gotham City, this interpretation of Batman exclusively works alone shunning the help of others. 

However, when Batman is unwillingly stuck with a young orphan named Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), he decides to take him under his wing. Grayson becomes Batman’s new sidekick, Robin, forcing the lone hero to embrace working as part of a team. Alongside getting some help from an enthusiastic but slightly incompetent Robin, newly elected police commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) dons the mantle of Batgirl to help out too. 

It’s a good job that Batman has some extra help as the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) is up to his usual scheming, and after being stung by Batman’s insistence that he doesn’t view the Prince Clown of Crime as his arch-enemy, the villain cooks up a dastardly plan that could reduce Gotham to pieces. To thwart him, Batman will need to play nice with others, and maybe even learn a few life lessons along the way. 

“The Lego Batman Movie” is bat-tastic

A scene from "The Lego Batman Movie" now streaming on Netflix

(Image credit: Atlaspix / Alamy Stock Photo / DC / LEGO/ Warner Bros. Pictures.)

“The Lego Batman Movie” tells a pretty generic superhero story, with the moral of working together as a team being especially bland even for a movie designed to appeal to a younger viewer. However, it succeeds despite its cookie-cutter narrative because it’s so darn clever.

The movie is stuffed to bursting with winking references and ingenious gags that poke fun at Batman’s decades-spanning history. There are barbs aimed at everything from “Batman vs Superman: The Dawn of Justice” to the many ridiculous foes that have appeared in the comics like Condiment King (whose biggest threat is getting a ketchup stain on your new white t-shirt).  

However, while “The Lego Batman Movie” takes aim at all the silly stuff found in the character’s past, it’s never cruel. Instead, this flick is a good-natured celebration of Batman, taking playful swipes from a place of love. I especially adore a playful joke that references Adam West’s ‘60s version of the character. If you have a fondness for Batman, you could make an entire game out of spotting all the references packed into this movie.

A scene from "The Lego Batman Movie" now streaming on Netflix

(Image credit: Collection Christophel / Alamy Stock Photo / DC / LEGO/ Warner Bros. Pictures.)

Of course, “The Lego Batman Movie” is more than a 100-minute collection of Batman references and inside jokes, it’s also a genuinely enjoyable movie in its own right. Yes, the story and moral are simple, but that’s understandable given its desire for broad appeal, and its unique spin on loads of classic characters is excellent. Big shout to Ralph Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth, who steals every scene he's in.  

The animation quality is also downright fantastic. Designed to look like a stop-motion movie, “The Lego Batman Movie” is a delight to watch purely for its visual appeal. It really does look like you’re watching actual Lego minifigures that have sprung to life. Its animation is of such high caliber that it even rivals the recent “Spiderverse” movies.

“The Lego Batman Movie” is a consistently engaging movie that will appeal to comic book fans of all ages. It successfully celebrates one of the most iconic heroes in history, and its animation style is so remarkable, that it still impresses me even after multiple rewatches. “The Lego Batman Movie” deserves more credit. It’s a total blast. 

Stream “The Lego Batman Movie” on Netflix today

As you can probably tell, I have a great fondness for “The Lego Batman Movie”, but you don’t just have to take my word that this is a new Netflix movie worth watching. The 2017 movie holds a 90% score on Rotten Tomatoes from 315 reviews. 

RT's Critic's Consensus reads, “‘The Lego Batman Movie' continues its block-buster franchise's winning streak with another round of dizzyingly funny -- and beautifully animated -- family-friendly mayhem.” And that’s an assessment I firmly agree with. I’m not usually one to wax lyrical about family movies, but this is a rare exception. 

If you consider yourself even somewhat of a fan of the Dark Knight then you need to watch “The Lego Batman Movie”, and even if you’ve seen it before, give it another watch. I can confirm that it definitely holds up a second time, and you might even spot some references and background gags that you missed the first time around. 

“The Lego Batman Movie” is now streaming on Netflix, and if you’re looking for further inspiration here’s a list of all the new Netflix movies to watch this month. 

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.