Will Arnett, the voice of Batman in 'The Lego Movie,' at the movie’s premiere in Los Angeles Feb. 1. Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Will Arnett, the voice of Batman in ‘The Lego Movie,’ at the movie’s premiere in Los Angeles Feb. 1.
Credit: Courtesy of MCT

It looked shiny and plastic and goofy, and I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t expect much from it.

But “The Lego Movie” was more clever and funny than I had given it credit before watching, and my preconceptions were ultimately disproved.

What I expected to be a tedious slapstick romp aimed at young children was instead 100 minutes of tongue-in-cheek self-critiques and zany antics that could make even the most haggard among us struggle not to grin.

And I’m not alone in thinking so — the film has proven surprisingly popular since it opened in theaters Friday, receiving a 96 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes from critics and topping the weekend box office with $69.1 million.

Austin Hemm, who sold me my ticket at AMC Lennox Town Center 24, thought it was funny, and noted there was something for those of all ages.

“A lot of kids come see it, and parents come and they enjoy it too, because they played with Legos when they were kids,” the second-year in film studies at Ohio State said.

But while it’s definitely a family movie, he said he’s seen all sorts of people buy tickets for the film.

For example, when I saw the movie at 8:15 p.m. on a Tuesday, there were four groups in the theater: a woman of about 30 with a girl of about 8 or 9, a man and a woman probably in their late 20s, a pair of middle-aged-looking men and my friend Ben and me, both in our early 20s.

And that doesn’t seem to be an unusual crowd.

“This past weekend, we had guests from all ages coming out,” including everyone from families to couples out on dates, said Danielle Pricor, the general manager of Movie Tavern 11 at Mill Run.

Part of the film’s success, she told me, was probably because of some “really good” advertising.

The story follows a familiar formula: average guy unwittingly becomes a hero; average guy struggles with his new identity; average guy seems to fail at being the hero and, after it seems like the bad guy has won, our hero average guy rebounds and saves the day.

But something — I’m not sure what — about the vibrantly colored plastic blocks our hero and his world are made of gave the film an unexpected vim.

The movie certainly seems like something that came from the mind of a child playing with his Legos. From the simple division of good guys and bad guys to the chaotic hodgepodge of story lines, I’m sure I created similar scenarios with my own Legos when I was younger.

Perhaps it wasn’t the blocks at all that drew me — and America — into the movie, but the star-studded cast (which includes Will Ferrell and Morgan Freeman, among others) and witty script. It’s full of “hidden jokes” for adults, Pricor said.

Regardless of why, “The Lego Movie” was unapologetically fun and I shamelessly enjoyed it.

When stepped on, Legos might arguably be the most painful thing in the world — but when animated, they’re an absolute pleasure.