Of all the superheroes, few take themselves quite as seriously as Batman, especially post-Chris Nolan, who injected a bleak sense of realism into the franchise. Considering all we can see of his face is that pretty mouth of his, it’s one we so rarely see smiling. This makes the character open to ridicule – and ridicule is on the menu, as the caped crusader is subject to the Lego treatment, in Chris McKay’s debut animated feature, The Lego Batman Movie.

Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) bloody loves saving Gotham. With the exasperated Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) vying to keep him in check, and the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) desperate to feel valued as an adversary, Bruce Wayne is too busy enjoying the limelight, rejecting any potential assistance the new commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) is offering to help rid this downtrodden city of crime once and for all. But no crime means no need for Batman, and Bruce Wayne is wary of this fact, leading him into an immense battle against the Joker and Harley Quinn (Jenny Slate) that may just see the loner finally call upon some help from those around him, despite his very best efforts not to.

LEGO BatmanOwing much to Deadpool, which deconstructed the superhero formula so triumphantly, that endeavour still had this obligation to be thrive in the essence of the genre it belonged to, to still maintain an exhilarating narrative that follows a structure we’re familiar with, and the same applies to this production, which triumphs in equal measure. That said, The Lego Batman Movie still has this freedom to be as downright absurd and irreverent as it pleases, and it’s a licence it most definitely takes. Yet why this works so well is because the storyline remains compelling, and to compliment the more ridiculous, comedically inclined moments, is an engaging tale that is easy to invest in and enjoy.

The ridiculing of the Batman franchise is done in a notably affectionate way too, and while there are some really funny jokes made at the expense of Batman V Superman, and Suicide Squad, you can tell this is coming from a good place, as a playful picture evidently made by fans, and that’s imperative. Yet, in quite remarkable fashion, away from the consistent stream of gags – as a film that takes something of a scattergun approach – this is actually, and arguably, the most intimate study of the eponymous role in the character’s existence. Bruce Wayne is a rather tragic bloke, really, lonely, with just an old butler who he’d consider an actual friend, and this plays up lovingly to this notion. Aw, if only all films were made out of Lego.