This summer, Warner Bros. released The Lego Movie, which was the perfect blend of humor and action-adventure. For those who love a bit of nostalgia, the film brought back memories of their childhoods—and not just of the little plastic people playing with bricks. The movie’s opening scene had a little boy asking his little sister what she thought of the new Batman movie; she replies, “I haven’t seen it yet, but I heard it’s good.” The boy says, “No, it’s not…it’s a lot better than the last one!” And that’s really all you need to know about The Lego Movie. It was a wonderful film that managed to be both nostalgic and fresh at the same time.

Then, just a few weeks later, we were treated to the highly anticipated release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. If you haven’t heard of it yet, then it’s probably best that you don’t—the movie was poorly received by critics and fans of both franchises, with many feeling that the film drastically underperformed compared to its potential.

What makes these two films so different is that The Lego Movie is completely self-contained and, as a result, does not require you to have seen or even heard of Batman or Superman. In fact, the only thing The Lego Movie has in common with Batman v Superman is the presence of a B-list-type celebrity in a cameo appearance.

On the other hand, Batman v Superman is an example of a cinematic masterpiece that does rely heavily on prior knowledge of the source material. The back-and-forth battling superheroes are, in fact, a direct homage to a famous scene from the 1939 version of Batman, in which a man in a bathrobe throws down a gauntlet in front of a mirror. While this cinematic homage may seem like a throwaway moment in an otherwise unrelated film, it actually serves a crucial purpose in the grander scheme of things.

In the grand scheme of superhero cinema, which of these films is the best? Let’s take a look.

The Best of the Batch

Since these are both considered to be part of the summer movie season, it should come as no surprise that both of these films are contenders for best of the summer. They’re exciting, well-made films that manage to be both family-friendly and adult-oriented. While they share some basic similarities, there are also enough differences between the two to make them compelling viewing.

The Lego Movie is, in many ways, the purest expression of the modern-day superhero movie. It has all of the action-adventure, noir, and family values that we’ve come to expect in these types of films. Superman himself even calls it “a fresh new take on the comic book movie genre.”

In addition, the film features an all-star cast that includes Will Ferrell, Jon Hamm, and Liam Neeson. It also boasts one of the best music soundtracks of the year (featuring tunes from Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams, and more). The film’s writing is extremely witty, and many scenes are more than laugh-out-loud funny. There’s also plenty of heart as well, particularly with the relationship between Batman and Nightwing (played by Ham), which is showcased in the beautifully written and very emotional mid-credits scene.

If you’re looking for a superhero film that mixes entertainment with an education on serious topics like equality and social justice, then look no further. The Lego Movie is a great place to start your 2019 movie-going experience.

Too Soon For The Other

Both Batman v Superman and The Lego Movie were highly anticipated releases, and by the time they were released people had already forgotten about most of the hold-up. While The Lego Movie certainly didn’t suffer for it, Batman v Superman was a victim of its own hype. Despite critical raves, the film underperformed at the box office, making just over $650 million worldwide —less than half of what the studio reportedly spent making it.

One of the major problems for the studio was that they released the film too soon after The Lego Movie. The general public simply hadn’t had enough time to digest that film and the massive amount of plot details in Batman v Superman. As a result, many people were confused and some found the film to be incomprehensible. This was compounded by the fact that the marketing for the film heavily hyped up the idea that Batman v Superman was a direct follow-up to The Lego Movie, which it absolutely is not.

The truth is that Batman v Superman is an extremely self-referential film, and it frequently makes jokes about itself. While these types of jokes might be funny to those in the know, they probably didn’t reach the level of understanding many audiences needed to enjoy the film. The last quarter of the film is almost entirely devoted to a single, lengthy, and very complex chase scene that is more than a little exhausting. The film adaptation of King Lear was compared to this scene numerous times, as many believed that the last quarter of the film was truly “shaping up to be one of the greatest courtroom scenes ever.” Whether or not you agree with this statement, it’s fair to say that Batman v Superman is really long.

Superior Special Effects

Apart from the lengthy running time, another significant difference between Batman v Superman and The Lego Movie is the use of CGI versus practical action effects (in other words, stop-motion animation). CGI is generally considered to be a great advantage in the world of special effects because it allows for more freedom and versatility in the creation of images and animations—this is particularly crucial in today’s world of endless technological advancements.

For example, while traditional effects were required to make the scene in which Batman throws down his gauntlet look realistic, CGI was able to give it that extra touch of authenticity. It also enabled the filmmakers to cut away to other scenes while the action was still unfolding, creating the illusion of continuity and flow. In a similar vein, the scene in which Bruce Wayne is hanged (and his entire body is seen contorted in pain) is another great example of the advantages of using CGI versus traditional effects.

In short, when you have the choice between practical effects and CGI, pick the one that’s better. In this case, it’s pretty clear that CGI is what the filmmakers were going for, and they succeeded in making it seem real even when the camera is not focused directly on the face of the person being strangled.

Wise Guy

There are few things more irritating than a wise-guy joke in a movie. These are the jokes that don’t really add anything to the story but serve only to make the audience groan, the ones that are completely unnecessary. Many times these jokes are told by one-dimensional, mustache-twirling villains who shout a lot, thereby rendering the jokes even less effective. Let’s face it, the jokes about super-smart bad guys getting out of difficult situations simply aren’t very funny.

Thankfully, both Batman v Superman and The Lego Movie avoid this pitfall by not being afraid to kill off their major villains early on. Without a doubt, the most famous scene involving a mustache twirling villain is the one in which Lex Luthor (played by Jon Cry tal) coldly shoots and kills the entire Justice League in cold blood. For a film in which several characters die, it sure is funny what the villains get up to before they meet their gruesome end.

This actually serves a double-duty for the film, as it not only provides laughs but it also teaches the audience a valuable life lesson about the futility of revenge. It may not be the most noble act, but it is certainly the most humorous. Even the great Orson Welles said this about Charlie Chaplin’s first cinematic masterpiece: “The hardest thing to do is to laugh at yourself.”

Who’s The Boss?

In addition to being two of the best films of the summer, Batman v Superman and The Lego Movie also happen to be directed by two of Hollywood’s most prestigious filmmakers. Zack Snyder, the director of Dawn of Justice, made the seminal 1992 film Lawnmower Man, and Robert Zemeckis, the director of Forrest Gump, also helmed 2007’s The Wrestler, another film that gets featured on this list.

These are some pretty solid accolades for two films that don’t necessarily share a common genre. With all of this praise, it’s only fair to ask, “Which film is the best?” Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to know which is the best superhero movie to date, then you have to go with Batman v Superman. However, if you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly film, then go with The Lego Movie.