The Lego Batman Movie (PG)

In a Word: Fun

The Lego Batman Movie

BATMAN AND...ROBIN (EVENTUALLY!): Batman, voiced by Will Arnett, and Robin (Michael Cera) visit Superman's Fortress of Solitude but find the Man of Steel's not as alone as they thought. PICTURE: © 2017 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND RATPAC-DUNE ENTERTAINMENT LLC

Wowed as we were by 2014’s The Lego Movie, it was with some trepidation that we approached this spin-off based on the gravelly-voiced Batman (although a bit unlike any Batman we’ve seen before).

And while this film is a more conventional outing and doesn’t reach the dizzying heights of cleverness or convey the same sense of pathos we encountered in The Lego Movie, it nonetheless puts in a solid showing with plenty of action, sharp CGI and a playful humour.

The action takes place, of course, in Gotham City (well, Lego Gotham City, that is) and loner hero Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) finds himself in yet another showdown with the Joker (Zach Galifianakis). Yet while villainous clown sees himself as Batman’s arch-nemesis, that’s not how Batman sees it, the Caped Crusader going out of his way to tell Joker that despite their frequent encounters, he - just as the other villains Batman faces - means nothing to him.

Which, of course, leads the Joker to devise an even more devious plan to gain Batman's attention by destroying Gotham City with the help of some of the most evil characters ever built out of Lego bricks (and available at a store near you) – from Lord of the Rings’ Sauron to King Kong and Dr Who’s Daleks.

Mayhem ensues as Batman, aided by the orphan boy Richard ‘Dick’ Grayson (aka Robin – he’s voiced by Michael Cera), Barbara, the daughter of retired Police Commissioner Gordon who has just stepped into her father's shoes (voiced by Rosario Dawson), and, of course, Bruce Wayne’s faithful butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), tries to save the city from falling into a bottomless abyss (yes, literally) and learn some valuable lessons about a minifigure's need for relationships and family along the way.

The construction takes place at a manic speed – which can be hard to keep up with at times - and the story is filled with pop culture references that are bound to go over the heads of the kids but put in there with a wink to AFOLs (that’s “Adult Fans Of Lego”). The soundtrack's also a highlight - spanning decades, its songs will keep replaying in your head for hours to come (although not quite to the extent of Everything's Awesome!).

Harmless entertainment timed well for the school holidays. Build on.