• by Wes Singleton

The Lego Batman Movie, B

Rated PG, 106 minutes

The Dark Knight becomes a few shades lighter with the colorfully fun, entertaining and witty animated CG film "The Lego Batman Movie," a spinoff from the 2014 hit "The Lego Movie," whose directors Christopher Lord and Phil Miller produce this film. Though the "Everything is Awesome"-type of originality has worn off a little from that film, "Lego Batman" still bursts with energy, charm and an all-star cast as it parodies all superhero movies.

There are big changes brewing in Gotham, but if Batman (Will Arnett) wants to save the city from the Joker's (Zach Galifianakis) hostile takeover, he may have to drop the lone

vigilante thing, try to work with others - including Robin (Michael Cera), new

commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) and his trusted butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up.

Directed by "The Lego Movie's" lead animator Chris McKay in his feature film debut with a story from "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter's" Seth Grahame-Smith, "The Lego Batman" is an entertaining romp and send-up of Batman and other superheroes such as Superman and Iron Man, none of whom are immune to the "Lego" skewers here (wait until you hear Batman's password entry to his Batcave). With ultra-busy, ADD style plotting and a heavy infusion of self-aware, tongue-in-cheek humor, it can be occasionally overwhelming on a visual level, but it has enough to appeal to both kids and their parents.

Arnett, who stole many moments as Batman in "The Lego Movie," is inspired casting and often hilarious here as the famously uptight Bruce Wayne and Batman, with "9-pack" abs, the ability to rap and who rarely removes his famed mask. As he learns the value of family and teamwork, he's well-paired with Dawson as the new, young Gotham polic commissioner, Fiennes as his butler and father-like figure and Cera as his adopted son and sidekick Robin. Also getting in some good lines as a co-dependent Joker is comedian Galifianakis ("Do you really hate me, Batman? Say it!").

"The Lego Batman Movie" fires on both cylinders in its busy finale, trotting out villains from other non-superhero movies, including: "Harry Potter's" Voldemort (Eddie Izzard, ironically not voiced by Fiennes, who played him in the "HP" films), the gremlins from the Spielberg feature, and King Kong. Most young kids won't get those references, as well as some of the many other pop-culture references, such as referencing all the other Batman incarnations, or "you complete me" from Jerry Maguire, but there's so many other things they'll enjoy, as just about every superhero or villain makes at least a cameo here, including Superman (Channing Tatum) to The Flash (Adam Devine).

As a side-note, there are tons of others who have a line or two to add to the color of "The Lego Batman Movie," including "Kimmy Schmidt's" Elie Kemper as a computer named Phyllis, Conan O'Brien's The Riddler, Jonah Hill's The Green Lantern, and singer Mariah Carey as Gotham's Mayor. It seems the only ones not appearing are Scooby Doo and Peter Griffin, but if you give them time, they may show up too (and with another "Lego Movie" spinoffdue later this year, that could easily happen).

"The Lego Batman" is still full of charm, wit and good messages of loving your family and working together, and should be enjoyed by all members of your family.

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