'The LEGO Batman Movie' is exhilarating and exhausting

( PG ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

At its best, 'Batman' has the same whiplash wit and inspired freneticism as 'The LEGO Movie,' though it's not quite as good.

Warner Bros. Pictures/AP
Batman, voiced by Will Arnett, stars in a scene from 'The LEGO Batman Movie.'

When “The LEGO Movie” screened for critics a couple of years ago, I initially passed on it, concluding that an animated kiddie movie featuring LEGOs was not exactly in my (or your) wheelhouse. But the word on it was so good that I quickly caught up with it. Lo and behold, it was one of the sharpest and funniest movies of 2014. Honest!

The sequel of sorts, “The LEGO Batman Movie,” directed by Chris McKay, with the assist of a gaggle of screenwriters and the animation company Animal Logic, is not quite as good, but at its best, it has the same whiplash wit and inspired freneticism.

The plot has something to do with the Caped Crusader (voiced again by Will Arnett) and his heroic ditherings with the likes of Robin (Michael Cera); his pathologically loyal butler, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes); Gotham City’s new commissioner (Rosario Dawson); and the Joker (Zach Galifianakis).

The film’s only real drawback, shared by its predecessor, is that it is simply too inventive. There must be more jokes and gags and throwaways per second than in 20 other comedies put together. It’s both exhilarating and exhausting. Grade: B+ (Rated PG for rude humor and some action.)

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