The big news coming out of Comic-Con was the announcement that a crossover Superman/Batman movie was in the works. David Goyer and Zack Snyder would do themselves a favor by studying 'Lego Batman: The Movie - DC Super Heroes Unite.' 'Man of Steel' took itself so seriously that even though it was a Superman movie it was utterly devoid of any sort of charm. It's a good thing that the people behind the Lego movies understand how to make something fun and enjoyable even though it's targeted directly for the kiddies.
Here Batman (voiced by Troy Baker) is utterly sick of Superman (voiced by Travis Willingham) trying to butt in on all the civilian saving. Batman works his tail off trying to battle the Joker (voiced by Christopher Corey Smith) then Superman swoops in with his freeze breath and x-ray vision making it all look so easy.
I've always loved the self-referential riff that the Lego people have attached to well-known franchises. Their videogames are usually made hilarious by pointing out absurdities and oddities in the original movies. Here the relationship between Batman and Superman is tenuous at best, even though Superman seems far too oblivious to even notice Bruce Wayne's outward scorn.
Since the heroes are mashing up together here, it makes sense that their arch nemeses would also hook up to do battle. The Joker and Lex Luthor (voiced by Clancy Brown) devise a dastardly plan that plays to the weaknesses of both Batman and Superman.
Not to be outdone the whole litany of Batman villains shows up to greet Batman, and presumably show off Lego figurines that you could most likely buy at a toy store near you. The Penguin (voiced by Steven Blum), Catwoman (voiced by Katherine Von Till), the Riddler (voiced by Rob Paulsen), Two-Face (voiced by Troy Baker), Harley Quinn (voiced by Laura Bailey), Poison Ivy (also Bailey), all show up to do battle with the heroes. I think Bane was even in there somewhere, I don't know, I lost count.
Sure it's trying to fit just about everything from both franchises into one 70-minute movie, but that's okay because it isn't taking itself too seriously. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments where Batman – using his most Christian Bale-esque growly voice – snidely disparages Superman under his breath.
It isn't just for kids though. Yes, little boys will most likely love it; but it caters to a fan that already knows the nuances of these characters. They know why an angry Batman might hate a do-it-all goodie-goodie like Superman. They know why the Joker's plans, no matter how haphazardly thrown together always seem to work – for a time anyway. In short anyone who knows these characters is in on the joke and it's a pretty funny one indeed.
If the new live-action Superman/Batman team up can have the self-awareness that this dinky little Lego movie has, then it might be worth seeing after all.
Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This is a special edition of 'Lego Batman: The Movie - DC Super Heroes Unite.' It's a Warner Bros. release. It comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc, a DVD copy, and an UltraViolet Digital Copy. Inside the packaging is also a Clark Kent/Superman Lego figurine.
Like many of these Lego movies, along with any sort of lower budget Saturday morning cartoon type of Blu-ray, there is some degree of banding that one will have to deal with. However, it's much better than some of the troublesome displays I've seen in the past ('Transformers Prime: Season 1' is a good example of bad banding).
The 1080p picture is fairly free of blemishes besides the aforementioned banding. I was surprised not to see much aliasing or microblocking. Colors were nice and bold. Black levels were stable. They weren't as deep as they possibly could've been, but they didn't have that dreaded bluing either.
For the type of movie it is the presentation is actually pretty solid. The banding may end up bothering you because it is pretty consistent, however, everything else looks as good as one might expect it to look.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix has a notably hollow sound to it. Like the hiccups in the movie's banding, this is also somewhat expected. I don't really assume a Lego cartoon is going to have ear-thumping sonics blasting out of it. Instead it sounds like a cartoon.
Where it's really noticeable is when Lex and the Joker are barreling down the streets in their giant Joker-bot. It's a chance for some really deep low-end bass to take over, but it never really does. It's a lighter bass. Which, again, is okay. It's a cartoon and it isn't really trying to be demo material.
Good news is that dialogue is always clear. Panning effect are a little choppy though. They don't move all that seamlessly. There really isn't much to complain about. It's simply middle of the road.
I chuckled more than a few times watching the animosity boiling beneath Batman's skin while Superman, more or less, stayed clueless the entire time. It was a charming little movie for kids and adults. It isn't going to wow anyone by any means, but it's a deceptively decent piece to add to your superhero Blu-ray collection. It's worth a look if you want a few laughs and some Lego geekery.