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‘LEGO DC: Batman – Family Matters’ (review)


LEGO DC: Batman – Family Matters is the latest in the direct to video DC Comics and Lego line of films, starring Troy Baker as Batman in a tale that looks at the Jason Todd origin story with a gentle temper, suitable for kids.

This LEGO Batman is different a bit from the feature film version, less boisterous but still egotistical enough to want to shed his responsibilities as the President of Wayne Tech. When the board members suggest they incorporate O.M.A.C. drones and Brother Eye to protect the city, he jumps at the idea. Who can see this going wrong as matter of course?

Red Hood and Two-Face have assembled a plan to take down the Bat, but Batman himself is not alone. Damian Wayne appears alongside Nightwing, Batwoman, Batgirl, Ace and Alfred as his team to take on Jason Todd in this movie. Babe and Nightwing have a will they/won’t they text message relationship, Damian is as problematic and annoying as usual and Alfred does his best to steady Bruce’s hand.

It’s too bad that they didn’t lean into the LEGO Batman feature comedy instead of more of what we’ve become used to in these LEGO movies, but they can’t all be winners. The rogues gallery, however, is impressive and includes Killer Croc, Solomon Grundy, Penguin, The Riddler and Scarecrow.

I like the characterization of Two-Face and Harvey retains his good guy side, sometimes revealing his plans to Batman.

Red Hood’s origin in this LEGO universe is that he ran away from Bruce because he wouldn’t let Jason play video games, but his bloody end in Tunisia is referenced as him having spent time there on vacation.

Red Hood eventually makes good with Bruce and the Bat Family to take on Two-Face, Brother Eye and the OMAC drones, in a plan that involves a body double in one if my favorite secret identity tropes.

In all, this was a fine movie, not great, especially in the shadow of three theatrical LEGO features. Batwoman seems to be featured (not that I’m complaining) to increase attention to her upcoming CW show, and having Nightwing and Batgirl palling around is fun enough.

Brother Eye plays the “What are you doing, Dave?” part well, and Jason gets to prove himself once again as hero, using skills he picked up by playing side-scrollers on the gigantic Batcomputer screen.

This movie takes a darker tone than you would usually get from a LEGO movie, but with the edges dulled for an all-ages experience. Red Hood uses a Han Solo blaster instead of his lethal pistols in the comics and video games for adults, but the violence is relegated to destroying the drones.

As a big Red Hood fan, I do like the LEGO design on the movie and would love to buy a minifig of Jason and the Rebirth yellow stroke logo on Batman.

I’m not afraid to call our Damian as being useless, annoying and grating. That’s kind of his thing. Making him the young Robin, even in this throwaway LEGO story, has zapped the life out of the character. Damian can go away now, please!

One precocious youngster that makes an appearance by the name of Billy Batson makes a few cameos here. Maybe Bruce can make Billy his new ward and send Damian back to Mom and Granddad! We can only wish.

I certainly hope there is an appetite for these movies, and I hope they continue to be made but this storyline seems to be coming out of Under The Red Hood, a decidedly mature plot, dressed up here in bricks and smiles.

Blu-ray extras include a 84-piece LEGO Mini Ultimate Batmobile premium .

This one is unusual for me as I give it a solid B- grade. I think Warner Animation could have spent some time in the Golden Age for a more fun Batman story and not tried to package the story of Red Hood and stealing the wheels off of the Batmobile to young kids.

I’m no prude, Red Hood is a cool design no matter what, but this shadow of the grim reveal dimmed my enjoyment a bit!

LEGO DC: Batman – Family Matters is now
available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital

 

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