Home Video Review: The LEGO Batman Movie

The LEGO Batman Movie is in the top tier of Batman movies. Like Batman: The Movie (1966), Batman (1989) and The Dark Knight, the film finds new layers to the character. But unlike the others, it is the only one truly willing to dive into his intimacy issues.

The Movie

Directed by Chris McKay, the film follows the LEGO Batman (Will Arnett) first introduced in The Lego Movie as he faces a mid-life crisis. After telling the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) that he’s just not that into him, all of the LEGO Dark Knight’s relationships unravel. Commissioner Gordon retires, handing his job over to his daughter Barbara (Rosario Dawson). The Joker appears at Gordon’s retirement party to turn himself — and the rest of the rogues — in. Suddenly, Batman has no role in town.

Meanwhile, Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) arranges to get Bruce Wayne to adopt him.


With the Gotham City criminals behind bars, Batman begins to believe Joker has a bigger plan and takes Dick along with him on a heist to the Fortress of Solitude. But is it possible he’s walking right into Joker’s trap?

Expertly realized, The LEGO Batman Movie weaves between humor, emotional stakes and insane action set pieces. It is a film willing to confront Batman’s reticence to start a family while also featuring a scene in which Clayface rollerskates on a pair of Daleks to fight a Kraken.

Underscoring the shifts in tone is the very look of the film. More so than even The Lego Movie, LEGO Batman’s world looks like a bunch of LEGO creations in some kid’s backyard. While nearly photorealistic, the film also features a more expressive animation style as the LEGO minifigs enjoy a greater range of movement.

Backing the animation is a strong performance by Arnett. Affecting a Bat-voice that cannot be easy on the vocal chords, he manages to give LEGO Batman the sound of a supreme egotist, a very lonely boy and a dude happy to have a friend. Michael Cera also offers a strong performance as Dick Grayson. While not the traditional version of the character, he becomes a cheerful and heartfelt foil for LEGO Batman. Dawson and Ralph Fiennes also provide great performances as Barbara Gordon and Alfred. Each highlighting a member of Batman’s burgeoning family with surprising depth.

The Extras

The Blu-ray release of The LEGO Batman Movie features the typical assortment of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment extras, including a commentary, deleted scenes and assorted featurettes.

The best of the bunch is the fast but informative One Brick at a Time: The Making of the LEGO Batman Movie. It offers a nice overview of the various departments involved in bringing 3D animated movies to life. Using some of the frantic style of the film itself, it manages to breath new life into the topic; even if you’ve watched featurettes like it on other titles. Other featurettes include a spotlight on the voice cast, a series of stop-motion LEGO Batman shorts created by fans and a bizarre LEGO Batman Comic-Con panel.

The deleted scenes are a mix of early animation and storyboard style animatics. Each is surprisingly funny, with “Batman and The Mayor Swap” being the best of the bunch. But in each case, it is easy to see why the scenes were never finalized. Any one of them would slow a film which is already 104 minutes.

An additional set of animated shorts gives Billy Dee Williams a few moments to shine as Two-Face. The best of the group, however, reinvents Harley Quinn as a talk show host for Arkham Asylum’s public access channel.

The extras are rounded out with a number of promotional clips that, while often funny, start to get repetitive with the use of the “I only have one butt” joke from the trailers.

The commentary features director Chris McKay and twenty members of the production team. They discuss the various challenges of realizing small moments, colossal sets and the joy of working in such an imaginative realm. As with many animators’ commentaries, that joy becomes infectious.


The LEGO Batman Movie is a worthwhile purchase for fans of the lighter side of Batman. While it celebrates some the character’s darker impulses, it definitely pings the Batman ’66 receptors in the viewer’s brain. The special features do not offer the deepest or most interesting insights, but maintain the tone of the feature. And really, the most special feature of all is the movie itself. It’s a gem of a film offering big action and a surprisingly thoughtful look at the Batman.

Do you agree? Prefer The LEGO Movie or the other LEGO Batman direct-to-video features? Let us know in the comments below.

Erik Amaya
Erik Amayahttp://thesatelliteshow.com
Host of Tread Perilously and a writer at Monkeys Fighting Robots. Voice of Puppet Tommy on The Room Responds and former host of The Satellite Show. A seeker of the Seastone Chair and the owner of a Legion Flight Ring. Sorted into Gryffindor, which came as some surprise.