Review: LEGO Batman – The Movie – DC Superheroes Unite / Cert: 12 / Director: John Burton / Screenplay: John Burton, David A. Goodman / Starring: Clancy Brown, Troy Baker, Christopher Corey Smith / Release Date: Out Now
The other, less famous Batman/Superman movie. The other, less famous LEGO movie. A late tie-in to the LEGO Batman 2 videogame, DC Superheroes Unite gathers a veritable Justice League of DC heroes to battle the combined might of Lex Luthor and the Joker.
It matters naught that the characters are made of LEGO – the re-appearance of Danny Elfman's Batman tune sends shivers down this Batfan's spine every time, as does the rousing orchestra of John William's Superman theme. With its Gothic architecture, moody cityscapes and prominent use of the Elfman theme tune, DC Superheroes Unite is as much a love letter to Tim Burton as it is the Batman.
The plot is complete fluff, but then, it doesn't need much more than that. An eye on winning the Presidential election, Luthor enlists the help of the Joker to exploit the heroes' greatest weaknesses: namely, kryptonite, and a gun which disassembles Batman's wonderful toys. The Dark Knight tries his hardest to handle matters on his own, but it quickly becomes evident that he may need to call on a few friends to save the day this time. Which, funnily enough, is also the plot of Arkham Origins. With a supporting role for Superman and cameos from Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the rest of the Justice League (well... most of them; personal favourites Green Arrow and Aquaman are sadly absent here), DC Superheroes Unite has plenty of Easter Eggs to keep comic fans amused. Needless to say, it skews itself towards the younger audience (and, as Bat Mite argued in The Brave and the Bold, there's nothing wrong with that) but it does so with enough wit and action that parents, older siblings and grown-up animation fans can enjoy it too. It's a depressing statement on the Boy Wonder's usual output that this is this writer's favourite cinematic outing for Robin so far. Poor Chris O' Donnell, effortlessly out-acted by a pile of bricks (Lego bricks – not a reference to Val Kilmer).
If you've played LEGO Batman 2, you may find all of this to be awfully familiar – much of the film is comprised of cut-scenes from the game, after all – and the visual style isn't always entirely appealing. Still, it has enough heart and humour that those cracks are easily smoothed over. Goyer, Snyder and Batfleck take note: this is how you do a Batman/Superman movie right.