Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Brick or not, every Batman movie has three things: bats, brooding, and lavish balls where Bruce Wayne makes a splashy entrance.

The thing is, Warner Bros.’ The LEGO Batman Movie (in theaters Feb. 10) stars perhaps the moodiest, broodiest Batman ever to hit the screen, meaning that it takes a more extreme effort to get this Caped Crusader (voiced by Will Arnett) out into Gotham City and ready to socialize. In EW’s fun new look at the LEGO Movie spin-off, director Chris McKay explains exactly how Batman always conveniently ends up at those smarmy galas — and you can thank Alfred for it.

“In all the Batman movies, there’s always a big gala, but one of the things Batman doesn’t like doing is going out and seeing people and carousing as Bruce Wayne. He thinks Bruce Wayne is a bummer. He’d much rather be doing Batmanny things,” says McKay. “But fortunately Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) entices him to come out of the Batcave by telling him, ‘Look, if you go out tonight to this gala, you can have a tuxedo dress-up party.’ So in this shot, this is one of the many tuxedos that Batman tries in a sort of dress-up party montage like Sex and the City.”

Though it’s a silly aside, the scene also represents The LEGO Batman Movie in a nutshell and was one of the first things McKay and his team honed in on as an imaginative expansion of Batman’s most extreme behaviors. “How do you get Batman to come out? What does Batman like? What do they do in Batman movies like this, where there’s always a gala, everyone’s always dressed up, and there’s always some kind of confrontation?” muses McKay. “We wanted to have fun and have things that were silly and ridiculous and also very LEGO-y: The fact that you can just pop different costumes on people really fast, which is something we did in the first movie.”

Add another layer to the fold: McKay says the dress-up montage is backed by the Al Jarreau song “Girls Know How,” a reference to a 1982 Michael Keaton-Henry Winkler movie called Night Shift. “With that, it’s about Batman movies, it’s about what you can do with LEGO, it’s absurd, and for me personally, it’s a reference to a movie I love,” explains McKay. “It’s fun to ‘70s up the production design and have something wild and expressive and colorful, but I also like filling out movie references in the movies that we do.”

And yes, that includes Suicide Squad and Batman v. Superman, which are both referenced in LEGO Batman. We would tell you how, but there’s a fancy Gotham City event that’s calling us first.

The LEGO Batman Movie
  • Movie
  • 104 minutes