Holy Block Party! 6 Reasons To Look Forward To 'LEGO Batman: The Movie'
LEGO has released the trailer for LEGO Batman: The Movie — DC Super Heroes Unite, the feature-length version of the video game sequel that will be released in 2013 on Blu-Ray, DVD and via digital download, that's based on the toy building-block adaptation of the comic. That's four levels of franchising away from the source material, which means we're more than halfway to Kevin Bacon. But despite sounding like the Inception of marketing, the movie looks great. Here are six reasons why:
1. It actually looks funny.
The LEGO video game franchise, which has also adapted the Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Harry Potter universes, produces the equivalent of Mel Brooks parody movies for button mashers. While these games are never particularly inspired, they’re not blatant cash-ins either. Each is stuffed with genuine love for the source material and loaded with obscure collectibles and knowing in-jokes for fans, such as the scene in the above trailer where the Flash catches a boomerang with a look of contempt in his eyes that says, Really? You're actually attempting to stop the Fastest Man Alive with a spinning chunk of wood?
An unexpected explosion reveals the Penguin, in full tuxedo costume, playing with fish in the bath, and when Harley Quinn declares something to be a riddle, a certain green-clad Batman villain plaintively wails "Hey, that's my line!"
The Bat-Signal even becomes a visual joke when Superman throws Bats into the sky. The toy setting establishes a light-hearted attitude, and the trailer indicates that the movie will take full advantage of that.
2. It's A Justice League Movie
Assembling the Justice League for the big screen has been a cinematic dream for decades. Marvel took five movies to get ready for its equivalent, assembling The Avengers to multi-billion dollar success. With DC planning to release its Justice League movie in the summer of 2015 (when Avengers 2 debuts), the LEGO movie skips straight to the action, treating fans to an ensemble cast.
All LEGO movies rely on the gimmick that things break apart and have to be reassembled. Luckily even LEGO knows that now, and it seems to be showing some restraint with the premise instead of turning the whole movie into a computer-generated building demo. The central plot of the film is Lex Luthor inventing the "Deconstructor", a device which can break down anything into its component parts. You wouldn't think a genius would be required to figure out such a task in a LEGO world, but apparently it was. Thankfully, although there are bound to be a few spectacular dismantlings in the movie (and, I'm betting, at least one blurred scene of the Flash reassembling something with super speed), the trailer indicates that there's more to the movie than that.
Besides, there's no topping the scene in the Star Wars short Revenge of the Brick in which Obi Wan Kenobi uses the Force to break up his own fighter so that it can evade enemy missiles.
4. Perfect Graphics
One advantage of depicting computer-generated plastic blocks and other geometric shapes is that the current technology is well-suited to the task. With these basics covered, more of the animation budget can be spent on interesting design and exciting special effects instead of weeks spent attempting to get human hair to look better than painted plastic. In this movie, that's what it's supposed to look like.
The trailer isn’t just true to the toys, it’s true to the function of toys — playing! At one point during an air-and-sea chase involving Batman and the Joker, the Caped Crusader dips one of the Batplane’s wings into water to generate a wave that runs the Joker-boat aground. If that doesn't sound like a scenario that a kid would create with his LEGO toys, then you don't have kids. Or LEGO.
6. Batman Always Wins
Batman’s whole deal is succeeding in any situation — even conversion to other media (something other comic characters famously have trouble with). The Batman Begins trilogy has been one of the blockbuster successes of the decade, Arkham Asylum made him the first hero to have a good video game in this console generation, then Arkham City showed he could do it again — bigger, and better — whenever he wanted.
The question is whether he can also be king of the blocks.
Luke McKinney loves the real world, but only because it has movies and video games in it. He responds to every tweet.
Follow Luke McKinney on Twitter.
Follow Movieline on Twitter.