Review: LEGO Batman: The Movie – DC Superheroes Unite (2013)

Directed by: Jon Burton | 71 minutes | animation, adventure, action, crime, thriller | Original Voice Cast: Troy Baker, Clancy Brown, Christopher Corey Smith, Travis Willingham, Charlie Schlatter, Katherine Von Till, Kari Wahlgren, Laura Bailey, Brian Bloom, Steve Blum, Cam Clarke, Townsend Coleman, Christian Elizondo, Zachary Haven, Rob Paulsen, Erin Shanagher

On paper, “Lego Batman – The Movie: DC Super Heroes Unite” is a winner. Both lovers of Lego (and that are really not only children of primary school age) and superheroes like Batman and Superman will get their money’s worth. In addition, Lego video games are also in great demand worldwide. Previous Lego films, notably “Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace” (2011), raise the hope that the makers would use the potential of a film about Lego Batman. Unfortunately, that turns out not to be the case. “Lego Batman – The Movie: DC Super Heroes Unite” consists largely of previously shown scenes from the game with much the same title “Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes”. If you have finished this game, the film will hardly add anything. If you plan to play the game, it is not recommended to see the film, because then you remove the element of surprise from the game.

In ‘Lego Batman – The Movie: DC Super Heroes Unite’ the entire Justice League, consisting of Batman & Robin, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Flash (but mainly the first three, the others have more of a cameo) join forces against presidential candidate Lex Luthor and The Joker, who are also joining forces for this time. After Lex Luthor sees the prestigious Man of the Year award go to Bruce Wayne against his expectations, The Joker is ready. He arrives, along with Catwoman, Two-Face, Harley Quinn, Penguin, The Riddler and the rest of his gang, to disrupt the festive evening. After a thrilling chase, Batman (with a little help from Robin) manages to get The Joker safely inside the walls of Arkham Asylum (with a fun reference to the classic Shark Repellent Batspray from the 1960s series). Lex Luthor, meanwhile, is convinced that The Joker is the only one who can help him in his quest to become president and in no time has released The Joker, who in turn releases the other prisoners. Meanwhile, Superman comes to ask if Batman and Robin might need help, but Batman reacts gruffly and claims he can do it on his own. Yet a collaboration appears not to be far away …

Admittedly, the animation looks good, the opening sequence (“Batman”, 1989, but in Lego) is nicely done (although younger viewers will soon find it boring), there are nice details and a lot of action. The well-known music of John Williams (“Superman”) and Danny Elfman (“Batman”) is a welcome addition. But the scenario is – especially for adult viewers – only mediocre. Scenes go on for too long – as strange as that may sound for a film of less than 80 minutes – and the dialogues are never really strong (except for a few comical one-liner). The film must have more of the visual jokes, but there are not very many. Those who had high expectations based on “Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace” should prepare for disappointment before watching “Lego Batman – The Movie”.

For children, however, “Lego Batman – The Movie: DC Super Heroes Unite” is a party. The film is an ideal starting point if you want to introduce them to the world of the DC superheroes in a child-friendly way and the chance that this disc will not disappear from the player after purchase is very real. A missed opportunity is that the film will only be released in the English spoken version. For the lego fans who are not yet able to read subtitles, the film can hardly be followed.

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