Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Lego Batman: The Movie - DC Super Heroes Unite

Year 8, Day 96 - 4/5/16 - Movie #2,296

BEFORE: I've got a whole week of Batman and/or Superman movies planned, in honor of their 2016 face-off.  Which is (allegedly) their first meeting in the DC movie universe, but it's in fact not the first time the characters have appeared on screen together.  Wait, what?  How is that possible?  Ah, I'm including animated films, which have tackled this topic before.  So from the very serious Affleck/Cavill film, I go straight to the silly, in this 2013 film (video?) based on the Lego Batman video-games.  Umm, I think.  

OK, the truth is that when I decided to go see "Batman v Superman", I had no outro, it seemed like a dead end.  No Ben Affleck movies left on the watchlist after taking care of "Bounce" and "Gone Girl" in February, no Henry Cavill (Man from U.N.C.L.E. hasn't run on cable yet), no Jesse Eisenberg (same goes for "American Ultra").  So I was only left with indirect linking (Kevin Costner from "Batman v Superman" was also in "The Guardian" with Clancy Brown) and the decision to link via characters, like I did to get to "Robocop 3".  The chance to create a theme week should outweigh the actor linking, no?  

Only yesterday did a possible direct link present itself, I just added "Big Eyes" to the list, so there was a link via Amy Adams to another film.  It's too late, I'm already committed to the DC heroes theme.  At least once I get into an animated chain I know the linking will be easier - these voice casts are usually the same actors, again and again.  

THE PLOT:  When the Joker and Lex Luthor form an alliance, Batman must team up with the Justice League in order to stop them.

AFTER: I sense that this is some kind of direct-to-video sequel, but I swear I got it off of pay cable.  And there is a real Lego Batman movie coming next year, I saw a preview for it that ran before "Batman v Superman". So this is the Lego Batman movie that Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.  Or something like that.  Hey, at least the Joker finally showed up, though he's four days late for April Fool's Day.  

In this film, Lex Luthor teams up with the Joker - it's Election Day, and Luthor's running for President. (E-Lex-tion Day?)  See, this is what I was saying about Luthor, he thinks big.  But an rude, outspoken billionaire running for President?  Hah, that could never happen.  He wants to use Joker's laughing gas to make people vote for him - or maybe to kill them so they can't make it to the polls, that part of the plan is a little unclear.  But hey, either way that's election fraud in the DC universe.  

And they're very subtle about it, after they mix up the chemicals, they go walking around in a giant robot, shaped and colored to look like the Joker, to distribute the gas.  Great plan, Batman and Superman would never think to look for the Joker inside a GIANT JOKER.  But I realize this film was targeted at kids, so I really don't expect it to make much sense.  

Mostly kids just want to see things changing shape, and Lego robots and Lego Batmobiles and Batcycles and Batboats that get blown to pieces, and then rebuilt very quickly.  I guess if kids like playing with cars, they'll also watch a cartoon about racecars, and if kids like playing with robots, they'll watch a cartoon about robots.  Things were so simple when we were kids, right?  No jobs, no responsibilities, just turn on some cartoons that defy the laws of physics and turn off your brain for a little while.  

Me, I liked cartoons (and that happy jolt of entertainment to my brain) so much, I built my lifestyle around it.  OK, cartoons and Star Wars.  Maybe I stopped watching them for a while when I began working in animation, because it was just too much, but I came back.  I still watch the "Avengers" cartoons and "Star Wars: Rebels" but not the lesser Marvel toons, and I stayed away from all the Batman cartoon series for some reason.  Maybe I can atone for that a little bit this week by watching the feature-length Bat-Toons.  

Anyway, Batman doesn't really care for Superman in this film either, but not for the same reasons as in last night's film.  Superman here is played like a dumb do-gooder, and Batman keeps begrudging the fact that he needs Superman's help.  But after teaming up (along with the rest of the Justice League) to take down Joker and Luthor, they seem to be friends.  Just not, you know, super friends.  

The highlight is probably the two heroes using a tactic to defeat Joker and Luthor that I've never seen them do before - probably because it wouldn't be possible in the real world, or even in the comic-book world.  Only in the Lego world could the two heroes pull a switcheroo like this, so the Kryptonite wouldn't affect Superman, and the big, heavy object falling on Batman wouldn't kill him.  Clever.

Starring the voices of Clancy Brown (last seen in "Pet Sematary II"), Troy Baker, Travis Willingham, Charlie Schlatter, Christopher Corey Smith, Laura Bailey, Steve Blum, Townsend Coleman, Rob Paulsen, Brian Bloom (last seen in "The A-Team"), Cam Clarke, Katherine Von Till.

RATING: 4 out of 10 explosive pies

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