After the huge success of 2004’s Lego Movie written and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the foundations were laid for a lucrative brick-built franchise. The pair return to produce the spin-off which focuses on the caped crusader voiced again by Will Arnett. With the directorial duties picked up by Chris McKay, the story sees Bruce Wayne adopt excitable orphan Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) after some encouragement from his loyal butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) to hang up his cape and cowl for good. However, when his arch-nemesis The Joker (Zach Galifianiakis) hatches a wicked plan that coincides with the appointment of new commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), he must take action to protect Gotham City from a gang of super-villains.
The tongue-in-cheek tone smartly reworks the comic-book genre, doing for DC what Deadpool achieved for Marvel albeit with a far more child friendly approach. Mixing trademark vibrant visuals with an onslaught of meta-gags and witty pop-culture references, there is entertainment for all ages. When the pace drops occasionally and the silly plot takes centre stage, the film can become laboured and forgets to be funny in spells, but another joke is never far away to raise a smile. Will Arnett proves to be an excellent choice as the voice of Batman, taking his extended cameo role from the aforementioned original and running feature length with it. His droll comic delivery is akin to sarcastic Archer and he interacts brilliantly with the ensemble cast who all evidently enjoy the madcap material.
The Lego Batman Movie playfully continues the slab-saga with child-like energy, style and dashes of underlying substance, as McKay manages to simultaneously celebrate and poke fun at the chequered history of arguably the greatest superhero ever. The squad of writers tread a fine line between toying with the conventional structure and simply following the tried and tested formula, but it cements a satisfying balance of pleasing the loyal fanboys and taking a younger generation of cinema-goers under its batwing.