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Building a better Batman: how LEGO is bringing back the funny to the Dark Knight franchise

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Forget Ben Affleck; the reinvention of the Caped Crusader starts brick by LEGO brick with the hilarious-looking LEGO Batman Movie. Released next year, here's why we're expecting it to restore a glorious sense of humour and fun to Bruce Wayne's legacy...

1. It's from the makers of The LEGO Movie

Enough said, surely? The 2014 animation was the very definition of a sleeper hit, slyly funny and brilliantly imaginative by turns, so it's excellent news that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are overseeing LEGO Batman in their new capacity as producers. If we could have just a smidgen of the gloriously rib-tickling invention seen in the LEGO Movie, we'll be very happy indeed.

2. Will Arnett

Christian Bale? Pah. Michael Keaton? Yesterday's news. Ben Affleck? Forget about it. As soon as he turned up in the LEGO Movie with the hilariously moany and self-absorbed song about Batman's tragic past, there was only one Dark Knight for us. Plus, Arrested Development star Arnett's voice is second only to Kevin Conroy in terms of how awesome it is.

3. This Batman has no time for misery

Let's face it, Batman is the one of the darkest of all superheroes but sometimes his misery can be a real drag. Not so in LEGO Batman with director Chris McKay and co-writer Seth Grahame-Smith (author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) brilliantly poking fun at Bats' navel-gazing angst.

Case in point: loyal butler Alfred (voiced by Ralph Fiennes) observes Batman flicking through his old family pictures, pointing out, "Sir, I have seen you go through similar phases in 2016 and 2012 and 2008 and 2005 and 1997 and 1995 and 1992 and 1989 and that weird one in 1966."

Batman's response? "I have aged phenomenally."

Genius.

4. The jokes hit harder than a Bat-punch

We'd already been blown away by the initial teaser trailers but the glimpses of new footage at this year's Comic-Con had us properly belly-laughing, whether it's Batman belting out the original 1966 theme tune as a password to his computer or Alfred witheringly observing, "You can't stay alone all your life, dressed in black and staying up all night."

It seems McKay's deliriously cheeky take on the DC icon has more sharp gags up its sleeve than Bruce Wayne has hidden gadgets in his mansion.

5. We're getting a whole new Robin

No, come back! Put all thoughts of Chris O'Donnell's Batman and Robin monstrosity out of your mind because now, we have Scott Pilgrim star Michael Cera as the voice of the newly reinvented Robin. On the basis of the Comic-Con trailer, he looks set to be hilariously infatuated with Batman's general sense of awesomeness and promises to the Robin to end them all. In fact, in one of the trailer's most brilliant jokes it turns out this Robin is in fact Batman's adopted son – adopted by mistake that is...