Will Arnett's third appearance as LEGO Batman in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part has the Arrested Development star tied with Christian Bale for the most on-screen appearances of the Caped Crusader. Arnett's over-dramatic, gritty, beatbox-rapping Master Builder has been a favorite with Batman fans of all ages, and the actor considers himself fortunate that he gets to portray this comical take on the character set within his own world. However, he's still a fan of those who came before him, including the much-maligned version of the Dark Knight from 1997's Batman & Robin, played by George Clooney.
"I've really enjoyed all the cinematic Batmen for different reasons," Arnett told Den of Geek. "And I think they've all been interesting. I really liked what Ben did. There were parts about it that I thought were really fantastic. Even Clooney’s Batman is underestimated – there's a whimsical element to it that I quite like."
Clooney's '97 outing as Batman, which opened with modest box office success but an overwhelmingly negative response from fans and critics, is considered by many to be the worst Batman film of all-time. Director Joel Schumacher and Clooney have since apologized for the film, which became the butt of countless jokes, and the latter even complimented the box office bomb for helping him re-evaluate his career and his approach to accepting roles.
Arnett references Clooney in his latest musical duet with his Lego Movie 2 love interest Queen Watervra Wa'Nabi, played by Tiffany Haddish. In the rap, titled Gotham City Guys, LEGO Batman pays tribute to his cinematic predecessors, highlighting that Gotham Bachelors are "Affleck level hot" with "George Clooney-level charm and Val Kilmer lips."
Despite his compliments, Arnett had high praise for the Batman he grew up with, portrayed by Michael Keaton. "He's such a brilliant actor, and he did have this kind of playful quality to him," he said. "I think he struck a perfect balance. And I'd love to see somebody return to that."
Directed by Mike Mitchell, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part reunites Chris Pratt as Emmet, Elizabeth Banks as Lucy (aka Wyldstyle), Will Arnett as Batman, Nick Offerman as Metal Beard and Alison Brie as Unikitty. They're joined by Tiffany Haddish as Queen Watevra Wa-Nab, Stephanie Beatriz as Sweet Mayhem and Arturo Castro as Ice Cream Cone. The film is now in theaters nationwide.