EVERYTHING was awesome with the 2014 computer-animated comedy The Lego Movie, which cleverly brought together DC Comics superheroes in a world of coloured building bricks.
Humour was pitched perfectly between the young and the young-at-heart, and a knowing script mined humour from the physical limitations of Lego without dinting the brand’s enduring appeal.
This polished spin-off, directed by Chris McKay, comes close to capturing the magic of the original.
The beginning is a very good place to start with The Lego Batman Movie because the opening five minutes of credits and droll voiceover are sheer perfection.
Sly digs at previous incarnations of the Caped Crusader on the big and small screen up the comic ante, as the titular vigilante panders to his overinflated ego.
It’s genuinely one of the finest animated opening salvos since the wizards at Pixar had us sobbing into our handkerchiefs with Up.
The rest of McKay’s picture is a delight but doesn’t scale the same dizzy heights of razor-sharp hilarity.
Batman (Will Arnett) wallows in loneliness at Wayne Manor where loyal butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) expertly pinpoints the source of his master’s malaise.
“Your greatest fear is being part of a family again,” he said.
Soon after, Commissioner James Gordon (Hector Elizondo) hands over control to his daughter, Barbara (Rosario Dawson), who calls into question the effectiveness of Batman when all of his nemeses including The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) and Harley Quinn (Jenny Slate) remain at large.
Despite the stinging criticism, Batman is smitten and in the midst of this romantic fog, he inadvertently agrees to adopt plucky orphan Dick Grayson (Michael Cera).
The boy wonder infiltrates the Bat Cave and picks out a spandex outfit so he can join his new father on night-time escapades.
And Batman desperately needs a sidekick when The Joker unleashes every villain in the galaxy on Gotham including the Daleks, which Batman casually dismisses as ‘British robots’.
Arnett’s hysterical vocal performance is heightened by a gushing bromance with Galifianakis’ giggling maniac.
Set pieces are animated and edited with boundless energy, whetting appetites for future forays into the Lego universe.