Plot: What’s it about?
Do you like Batman? I mean do you really like Batman? Because I’m willing to bet it’s not as much as he likes himself. And I’m OK with that. We’ve been inundated with Batman movies since Tim Burton gave us the first retelling of The Dark Knight back in 1989. Michael Keaton was Bruce Wayne and Jack Nicholson the Joker. People loved it. We then had Batman Returns. Then Batman Forever. Then Batman and Robin (the only version I’ve yet to see). By now we’re in the 21st century and Christopher Nolan took over with Batman Begins. There was The Dark Knight and then finally The Dark Knight Rises. That’s a lot of bat. But we’re not done yet. Ben Affleck is now Batman and we’ve got Batman vs. Superman and the upcoming Justice League. Sensing a trend here? With The LEGO Batman Movie, they poke just about as much fun at this as I just did, only they’re far more clever. Enough talk. More bat.
Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) is going about business as usual when a series of problems arise. A new police commissioner, Barbara Gordon (voiced by Rosario Dawson) wants to emphasize a little more teamwork in Gotham City and thus, wants Batman to be more of a “team player.” Batman’s arch nemesis, The Joker (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) isn’t even up to the challenge and instead, surrenders himself and his entourage for sentencing. Batman, now without a foe, faces a crisis – what to do? Looking for some companionship, he (mistakenly) adopts an overly-enthusiastic young orphan named Dick Grayson (voiced by Michael Cera). Working with Dick (who will become Robin) and Alfred (voiced by Ralph Fiennes), the trio have to wonder what The Joker is up to. What’s a billionaire superhero to do?
I did leave a pretty big part of the plot out, but I did that on purpose. There’s a lot of characters in the movie and some are from other Warner films and others are just plain made up. Ironically Ralph Fiennes, who voiced Alfred, did not voice the Voldemort character (and he’s a character alright). Odd. Or maybe he felt he had nothing to offer? Nevertheless, The LEGO Batman Movie is just about everything you’d expect it to be. It’s funny, clever and, well, weird. I guess when you’re dealing with characters made out of LEGO’s, then the sky’s the limit? In any case, you’ll know what to expect when you put this one in the player. If the best thing about The LEGO Movie was Batman, then logically The LEGO Batman Movie should be even better, right? Right.
Video: How’s it look?
If you’ve seen The LEGO Movie then you’ll know what to expect here. Presented in a 2.40:1 HEVC transfer, The LEGO Batman Movie is the epitome of perfection in every way, shape and form. Rich, robust colors are prevalent in every scene, detail is simply amazing as well. This is on par with any modern day Pixar movie and will simply dazzle you with its awesomeness. The 4K version seems to have an edge in a few scenes thanks to the HDR, but honestly either way you go will work. It’s a rich, vibrant and about as colorful a movie as you could expect. And it looks perfect.
Audio: How’s it sound?
This is a win/win. Both the Blu-ray and Ultra HD/4K versions contain the same Dolby Atmos track. And it rocks. I mean, like, you know…rocks! I’m no expert in the LEGO universe, but Batman’s (Will Arnett) grizzled, deep voice coupled with things blowing up, the Batmobile and all things associated with it seem to sound amazing. The LFE are rarely given a break, surrounds are churning away and the atmospheric soundtrack lives up to its name. I could go on, but I won’t. It’s amazing.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Animated Shorts – None of these are too extensive, the longest of them runs just over two minutes, but they’re a tad bit entertaining.
- Dark Hoser – What if…Batman was Canadian? This short explores the possibilities of that, eh.
- Batman is Just Not Into You – A play off Dr. Phil, this is hosted by Dr. (Harley) Quinn who attempts to explore the relationship between Batman and The Joker. Laughs/tears ensue.
- Cooking with Alfred – Alfred hosts Batman and Robin, but the real treat is learning the origin of the…BAT MONKEY!
- Movie Sound Effects: How Do They Do That? – While casting for that perfect “laser” sound, Bane, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, The Riddler and Two Face can’t seem to quite nail it…
- The Master: A LEGO Ninjago Short – While attempting to film the intro for The Master, a pesky chicken tens to foil the plans – again and again.
- Deleted Scenes – Seven minutes’ worth, but with no intro and no scene names, it’s a bit hard to figure out where they fit in. Still, a nice addition to have. Of note, these do tend to vary in quality from “final product” to rough, crude bits of animation.
- Featurettes – A slew of bits and pieces that are related to the film, but only the “One Brick at a Time” has any substance.
- One Brick at a Time: Making The LEGO Batman Movie – The most robust of all the featurettes actually has a lot to offer. We get a look at how the project came to be, the extensive cast and how the story developed. It’s a good, once over and if you only watch one of the features – this should be it.
- Rebrick Contest Winners – Will Arnett (who voiced Batman in the film) shows us the top three finalists in the rebrick contest. Members from the LEGO community had to make a film ranging from 15-30 seconds that showed Batman fighting off one of the villains from the film – or they could create one of their own.
- Inside Wayne Manor – Batman (and Bruce Wayne) give us a tour of Wayne Manor, set to “Black and Yellow” by Wiz Khalifa feat. Snoop Dogg, Juicy J and T-Pain. ‘Nuff said.
- Brick by Brick: Making of TheLEGO Batman Movie – Playing out more like an extended trailer, we get some scenes from the film along with a picture-in-picture window of the human actor voicing them. The obligatory talking heads talk about the film, how cool it was to play with an iconic character like Batman and so forth. I don’t know why this couldn’t have been lumped in with the first featurette.
- Behind the Bricks – An in-person (character) look at the film as Batman, Alfred and others mug the camera and essentially tell us some of the finer points of the movie.
- Me and My Minifig – Will Arnett, Rosario Dawson and Michael Cena have a little fun with miniature LEGO toys of themselves. There are three total, one for each person/character.
- Promotional Material – Trailers and a bevy of 30 second pieces that, I assume, aired somewhere.
- Trailer #1 (w/ Will Arnett Introduction)
- Trailer #2
- Trailer #3
- LEGO Life Trailer
- Follow Me Online – A glorified ad for the LEGO Batman Instram account.
- Don’t Skip – Batman tells you not to skip this. You should.
- Happy Holidays Jingle – A Holiday greeting from Batman, Rosina and Alfred. “Happy Holidays to all…and to all a Dark Knight.” Get it?
- Batsby New Year’s – Batman wishes you a Happy New Year – Jay Gatsby style.
- Team Cutdown – I’m not really sure I get this one, it seems to be another trailer for the movie.
- Comic-Con Panel – No, it’s not the actual panel from Comic-Con, it’s a LEGO version of it. Hosted by LEGO Conan O’Brien with some very familiar faces.
- Audio Commentary – The commentary also appears on the 4K version (it’s the only supplement on that disc) and it’s a pretty good track. It’s actually two different teams; one in Sydney and the other in Los Angeles, but they’ve been edited together. Pretty much everything is discussed, from the characters, vocal talent and the overall plot as well as how to make it all work. It’s a bit technical at times, but that’s how I like it.
The Bottom Line
If you’re a fan of Batman in any way, shape or form or the LEGO movie(s) then this is for you. It’s got that kind of odd, offbeat humor that these LEGO movies seem to possess and it works here. Reference-quality audio and video along with a slew of supplements make for a grand offering.