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In ‘The Lego Movie 2,’ a dark Arnett rises — again

Will Arnett has voiced Lego Batman in three films.
Will Arnett has voiced Lego Batman in three films.(Theo Wargo/Getty Images/file)

Just when Batman’s “Dark Knight” interpretation of the last decade and a half had moviegoers thinking the venerable superhero couldn’t get any more grim and growly, along came Will Arnett with the message, “You ain’t seen broodin’ yet!” The “Arrested Development” vet summoned his familiar edge — and lowered his familiar husky voice even further — to make Lego Batman a fan favorite, first in “The Lego Movie,” then in a because-you-demanded-it solo spinoff.

Arnett, 48, recently discussed his latest Bat-vehicle, “The Lego Movie 2,” by phone from a Los Angeles promotional event.

Q. Your alter ego gets to wear a white fur cape and spangles for a good chunk of this one. Did you feel like you were getting to play a bit of Batman and Liberace?

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A. Yeah, we’re seeing a new side of Batman [laughs].

Q. What’s the key to playing your version of the character?

A. What I love about these movies, and what [producers] Phil [Lord] and Chris [Miller] do so well, is taking what we know about Batman and bending the rules. We get to see him stretched in different directions, [especially] in this one.

Q. Speaking of rules, with so many different characters and properties being incorporated into these films, is there any more oversight than you typically get on a big studio franchise?

A. I’ve never had anybody come down and say, “No, you can’t do that.” The only time there was ever a bit of a hiccup was in “Lego Batman,” when he goes into the Batcave and gives the password as “Iron Man sucks.” I think that made a few people at DC nervous. But ultimately the folks at Marvel were really cool about it, because they know it’s all tongue in cheek.

Q. Have you ever run into Christian Bale or Ben Affleck or anyone else you’re spoofing?

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A. I met Christian Bale really quickly before the first “Lego Movie” came out, not that he’d remember. And I’ve seen Ben a few times, and he’s been really cool. Matt Damon told me that I was Ben’s kids’ favorite Batman [laughs].

Q. Any word on a sequel to “The Lego Batman Movie”?

A. There are always all sorts of conversations that go in about 12 different directions within the Lego-verse. But hopefully if this movie resonates it’ll spawn another one.

Q. When you do finally finish up your “Lego” run, what do you hope people will remember about your take on Batman?

A. I don’t know if I’m looking for any sort of legacy other than just being funny, and making movies that families see together. I love this little niche we’ve carved out where I get to be the goofy, fun Batman who’s off to the side.

TOM RUSSO