[Header image courtesy Warner Bros. Animation]
LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes — Justice League: Cosmic Clash, written by Jim Krieg, directed by Rick Morales. Copyright 2016.
Going into a LEGO animated film, I knew that I am so not the target audience for it. But at the same time, the LEGO video games are one of my many ‘guilty pleasures’, and it’s the little cut videos in between the actions that make it so enjoyable. So, I was hoping that this would be more of the same.
I was not disappointed.
The movie starts out with the ‘villain’ Brainiac (Phil LaMarr). I put villain in quotes because he’s not really a bad guy per se — he’s a super computer who’s original programming was set to collect data on the various planets in the universe. But thanks to a glitch in the system, it’s gone a bit overboard, and he’s now the stereotype of an intense toy collector: he needs to collect all the planets, scanning them and then shrinking them into a size that fits into a glass jar to keep them in ‘mint condition’. As a fan married to a Star Wars toy collector, I loved the portrayal of someone who is just a little too much into being a collector.
There’s a bit of a problem, and one of his planets gets damaged. If only he could find a planet that would fit there instead, one that starts with E-A.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, Batman (Troy Baker) is returning to Justice League headquarters, monologuing about how he was a little nervous about joining the team, but is now glad he’s a member of such a professional group of superheroes. Cut to the rest of them playing hide and seek, with Superman (Nolan North) ‘it’. There’s a bit of conversation where it turns out the rest of the league think Batman is a good co-worker, but not necessarily a friend.
Brainiac, realizing that Earth has a ‘firewall’ (aka the Justice League), decides to deal with them in the only way he knows how — splitting them up in time. Batman, with the help of The Flash (James Arnold Taylor) and Cyborg (Khary Payton), builds a Cosmic Treadmill, and go in search of the other three. Wonder Woman (Grey Griffin) is stuck in 10,000 BC (with dinosaurs); Green Lantern (Josh Keaton) is in 1741 (on a pirate ship, of course); and Superman is actually in the future, taken there by Brainiac in the time travel trope of beating Batman there.
Through the plot, the team realize that Batman is actually a friend — just a more … serious friend – and Batman realizes that it’s okay to loosen up every once in a while.
The reason I love the LEGO video games is the humor: the team at LEGO seem to be willing to poke fun at themselves and at the franchises they’re incorporating, and never take themselves (or the plot, or the characters, or … well, you get the idea) seriously. This movie is definitely a great example of this. We’ve got jokes about the different ‘tops’ LEGO figures use, with Batman using a Bat caveman outfit, a Bat Pirate outfit (he goes by the name Bat Beard!), and so on. We’ve got references to SnapChat, toys as collections, a musical number (technically a duet, as it’s Superman as he’s ‘integrated’ with Brainiac) that’s worth the price of admission alone, and — of course, since we have The Flash — a literal running gag.
There is nothing serious about this movie — except the moral, which is friendship needs to be flexible based on who you’re friends with, and that life doesn’t have to be serious all the time. A great lesson that always needs a repeat.
LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Cosmic Clash is currently available to purchase on VOD sites, and will be available on DVD March 1. If you like tongue in cheek humor and are even only vaguely aware of the DC Universe, I heartily recommend it.
We’ll also be posting an audio piece of the red carpet, where I interviewed several of the cast and crew. Comment on this review by March 1 to win a free autographed poster as well!
You can see more of Angie’s work (and her social media connections) over at her website.