Batman’66 Volume 5 Review

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It’s been a real pleasure reading the Batman’66 comics. They’ve all been really fun to read and this is a period in Batman’s career that deserved the extra exposure. Unfortunately, this is the final volume of the main series. It had a really good run to last this long, but it’s all over now. It ended on a pretty high note with this volume though and at least I still have 3 more crossovers to read. Until those are done, I can take solace in the fact that there is more Adam West to come.

Most of the issues here have 2 adventures so the collection is able to fit in quite a lot. As such I won’t go into all of the adventures, but I’ll at least touch on most of them. The first story is more of a short than anything else as we see a few kids dress up on Halloween and try to emulate the Dynamic Duo. They stand up to bullies and give everyone a fair shake. They may not get the candy in the end, but Batman and Robin are nice enough to make it up to them. As Batman points out, being a nice person is its own reward, but it’s still fun to receive some candy. It’s a nice little story that perfectly captures Batman’s character. His heroic nature is why he’s such a great character here.

In a more intense story, Solomon Grundy shows up. He is nigh invulnerable so the heroes have a little trouble with him. Fortunately, Batman is prepared for all contingencies and knows that Grundy can’t really handle a good zap. Being alive, albeit temporarily, was just too much for his system to get used too. That’s why it’s tough being an undead fighter sometimes. What do you do about such a thing? As for the Clayface story that followed. The heroes just confuse him quite a bit. The climax may have been a bit weak there as I don’t see Clayface being fooled so easily, but as long as it gets him out of their hair. He was pretty dangerous so it’s fortunate that they stopped him.

One of the more entertaining stories was when all of Gotham’s biggest villains got together and decided to improve their PR. Fortunately, Barbara Gordon worked there so she tricks them into bickering with each other until the cops can come to arrest them. Remember the good ole days when the cops could actually take down foes like the Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, and the Riddler? This was definitely back in the days where they got a lot of hype like this. The stories aren’t meant to be taken too seriously so don’t overthink this. Just roll with it and remember that when you’re creating a name for a company, you should have a neutral initial to start it off.

Bane finally made his debut in another comic and even had the famous scene where he breaks Batman’s back. Of course this Dark Knight thought ahead and had a batarang near his back which absorbed the impact and saved him from being crippled. It was certainly a fortunate event and as Batman always points out, it’s best to be prepared for all eventualities. It was certainly a good motto to live by this time. Bane was a wrestler here which makes sense as it gives him a good reason to be so formidable. He ends up getting overwhelmed by sheer numbers in the end, but I definitely liked his portrayal. He was certainly a nice threat and maybe the strongest Batman villain in the series. At least, the strongest human.

After a quick battle with Killer Croc, a villain decided to have a big team up. She’s known as the Mom or something like that. She frees a bunch of villains and gives the heroes so much trouble that they let her share a cell with her kids. It’s one of the few times Batman compromises with the villains so that’s quite a feat in itself. Still, he makes a nice speech to help us realize that it actually was the right choice in the end. It was a pretty fun comic and I’m always up for villain team ups.

The team ups kept coming in the last two adventures. In one, Catwoman showed up to help the heroes stop Solomon Grundy and Killer Croc. She apparently had not been using her full strength until now so the heroes were pretty surprised. Of course, Batman admitted that he had been holding back against her as well. It was interesting to see her on the same side as Batman for once although you can’t really imagine it lasting. The final issue was everything you could want in a finale. All of the villains team up again, but Riddler rats them out so Batman takes em all down. It was a pretty huge ensemble of villains so for Batman to take them all down was most impressive. Slow and steady wins the race after all, just pick off a few of them and keep it moving. Eventually you’ll have am all down. The comic also had a guest star for the heroes as Batgirl showed up to lend a helping hand. The only big character to not appear was Aunt Harriett. I forget if that was her actual name, but the nice little lady that always tried to find out Batman’s secret identity. It would have been fun to have had her show up.

The Batman issues have always been pretty fun and played the humor out pretty well. This volume is no exception as the characters unleash epic one liner after one liner. It’s definitely my kind of humor as the heroes are so ultra heroic, but don’t seem to notice. They just act natural about it and there’s no annoying character constantly getting shocked about this or pointing out how crazy it is. It’s just the norm in this fair city and even the police wonder what they would do without the duo. The setting is just perfect and it always makes me tempted to go watch the TV show. I can see why this was such a big success back in the day.

The art is also pretty solid as you’d expect. The characters are all looking pretty sharp and the backgrounds are pretty good. The comic does a good job of making everyone look like their older show appearances. The art is always easy to read so you can really appreciate what is happening. Mix that in with the excellent writing and you just have a really good recipe for success. It’s why the collection is such a blast to read through. It’s just got everything you could want in a comic.

Overall, You probably know what to expect from a Batman’66 comic by now. It’s more or less the same as the previous collections and that’s a good thing. Don’t fix what isn’t broken right? It’s a pretty solid rule that I stand by and while taking risks can pay off…it is called a risk for a reason. The issues did also have some more outlandish foes like Clayface and Solomon Grundy which was interesting to see in this setting. I’m definitely looking forward to the crossover with Wonder Woman as well since that is bound to be a blast and she is certainly a lot more Super than most of the characters they have to deal with. If you’ve somehow never read a Batman’66 comic before and don’t understand what all the fuss is about, it’s time for you to start with this one!

Overall 8/10

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Batman & Robin Adventures Volume 1 Review

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It’s time for some more Batman adventures! Robin gets to be a main character throughout this time which is certainly cool with me. He adds some witty banter to the dynamic and is the only Robin who grew up with Batman for this long so he can call the Dark Knight out if he disagrees with him. The stories are a little more serious than the normal Batman Adventures or at least it feels that way so Batman should definitely be glad that he has the backup. It’s a pretty solid collection of stories that has aged well.

The first two stories make up the initial adventure as Two Face has yet another relapse. He had been close to getting out of jail, but Joker tricks him into thinking that Bruce Wayne has backstabbed him by getting together with Two Face’s friend. He believes Joker of course since he has no reason to doubt the Crown Price of Crime and gets to work on taking revenge against Bruce Wayne. He even managed to kidnap Dick Grayson who had previously warned Batman that he had way too high of an opinion on Two Face. He doesn’t really believe in Two Face’s potential to turn good again unlike Batman. By the end of the issue Batman seems to agree as he finally considers Two Face to just be another thug. It’s a rather dark ending, but I probably agree with it. Two Face is constantly turning evil and I can’t seriously see him ever turning into a good guy. It’s just not who he is. It was a decently fun adventure although I still don’t like Two Face which limits it a little.

The next story had the Riddler return. He finally figured out that Batman had to be a rich billionaire who lived in Gotham to he kidnaps everyone who attended the latest billionaire meeting. Fortunately Batman doesn’t go to events like that and shows up to foil his plans. It’s a pretty straight forward adventure but I have to give the Riddler some credit for piecing the puzzle together. After all it just makes a lot of sense that Batman has to be rich and since there is a whole club for it, it was just a good idea. He may have lost the day, but he ultimately won the war.

After that, the next story was a Penguin adventure. He wants to free the Birds from the Zoo so he is smuggling them back to their homes, but only after they help him get rich. Ah well, there goes his sympathy points. Fortunately Batman is ready for them, but he does have to go through a few birds to do it which wasn’t cool. Batman should have just had some sleeping gas or something which could have stopped them dead in their tracks. It would have been a more peaceful way to claim victory. This was easily the weakest adventure in the collection.

I think the production values took a slight hit in the following story as everyone turns chibi at certain points and the character model is all over the place. Still, it’s a fun Joker comic so it still manages to be pretty good. He has vowed to destroy the Riddler so Batman decides to stop him. The problem is that Joker apparently always gets his man although the comic starts with someone managing to escape him. Batman basically foils him at every turn and doesn’t even let Joker take down any minor villains. I can see why Joker would be upset by the end since it was a pretty rough day for him. It was some nice hype for Batman’s detective skills though and Joker fans should be happy that he came so close.

The next story was another highlight as a magazine reports that Batman has fired Robin. Batman decides not to tell the magazines that this is a lie because he doesn’t deal with reports like that. It’ll all blow over. The problem is that a lot of people start dressing up as Robin and getting into trouble as they can’t handle the thugs of Gotham. This is getting out of hand, but what can they do? You can imagine the fun hijinx that ensues from all of this and the main Robin gets to prove himself once more. My only gripe with this one is that the fake Robins maybe talk a little too tough to Batman and get away with it. Like the one guy who basically threatened Batman not to try and make him go away so Batman just let him come along for a bit. I just don’t think threatening Batman is ever a good idea, but I suppose this guy knew how to make it work.

Back to a bit of a weak story as the Ventriloquist shows up. He breaks out of jail and decides to destroy his Mom so Batman has to really hurry this time. There’s a twist as his Mom is already dead, but he destroyed a picture of her and then shot himself. It’s just a very boring story with an unlikable villain. There’s just no real hook with this villain as he’s about as generic as they come and he’s not crazy in a good way. You can make a crazy villain be entertaining…or you can just make a villain be like the Ventriloquist.

Robin doesn’t look too good in the next comic as he is defeated by Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn and then brainwashed to do their bidding. The whole thing is a little humiliating for him but he gets a lot of hype as even Batman can’t out think him. Robin’s plans are simply too good and it shows that he really has learned a lot over the years. He isn’t the boy wonder that he used to be, Robin is now a true crime fighting expert. It wasn’t really my kind of story as Harley and Ivy rarely make for a great villain team up, but as a Robin fan I enjoyed seeing him get so much hype.

We get a Batgirl vs Talia story which is pretty fun. Batgirl had just been leaving her day job when Talia walked in and took down the guards. This naturally led to a scuffle but Talia proved to be way too strong for Batgirl which is really accurate. I like Batgirl as much as the next guy, but there is absolutely no way that she can hope to take down Talia. Talia is a master at hand to hand combat while Batgirl has just taught herself enough to beat the common crooks at this point. Talia tries her best to defeat Batgirl without destroying her which proves to be as difficult as you’d expect. While the ending is a little cheesy, it had to happen since having the villain actually win in the end would have been a little crazy. It was definitely one of the better stories with quite a lot of action to be found inside.

The final story has Talia return to tell Batman that she wants to stop Ra’s plan to destroy most of the world again. Robin isn’t invited but manages to follow them in secret as Batman unleashes his plan. It’s a pretty fun comic although Ra’s is probably overplayed by this point. His plans also always seem very easy to stop but I guess the strength of them is how well he covers them up. After all, if Talia hadn’t tipped off Batman, nobody would have even known that he was planning anything. He could have leveled part of the world before anyone even knew something was wrong. That’s actually pretty impressive, but once Batman is on the case, you may as well say that it’s curtains for the villains.

The collection is pretty similar to the last Batman one I read, but with more Robin stories which is always a good thing. Ironically despite the title he still missed a few issues here. I suppose that’s just how it goes and he can’t be in all of them but he does make the comics more fun. He finally gives Batman someone to bounce ideas off of and his detective skills are nothing to sneeze at. Batman’s also pretty great as per usual so the heroic duo is really on point.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this collection if you haven’t read it yet. It’s a pretty good bundle of light hearted action stories and the writing is on point. The art is also pretty good and you’ll really be able to appreciate the designs. Some of the stories may lag behind the others, but I wouldn’t actually call them bad either. Even the weakest of stories can still be fairly decent in its own right. I have one more Batman collection coming up so keep an eye out for that review in the near future.

Overall 7/10

The Batman Adventures Volume 2 Review

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It’s time for another Batman Adventures review. The DCAU adventures have been a lot of fun and so I was expecting quality from the start. Fortunately, that is exactly what I got in return. This collection brings 10 stories and they are all from the main title so no specials of anniversary issues. It’s cool because so far the series has managed to do that for the first two volumes. None of the stories are bad which makes for a consistent volume.

The first story sees the return of the Man Bat. Everyone assumes that Kirk has had a relapse and he doesn’t help his case by admitting that there are gaps in his memory. Batman steps in, but the clues just don’t add up. It turns out that someone was framing Man Bat. This was a decent story although a slightly weak way to start the volume. As you all may know, I’m not a big Man Bat fan so his stories just aren’t as interesting as the others. Writing was on point though and there technically wasn’t anything wrong with it.

The second story was a Batgirl one as she had to go up against Cat Woman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy. This was a more enjoyable story with a lot of constant action and Batgirl always makes for a good lead. This was pretty early on in her career so I’m a little skeptical on how well she would actually do against these villains in a fight but it was pretty reasonable the whole time. A costume party is always the perfect way to stop crime while keeping your cover as well so it was a good decision on her part to take this chance to attack.

Next up is a team up with Talia and Batman. Essentially, she tricks him into helping her stop some criminals who stole proof of Ra’s illegal deals. That’s actually really impressive if you think about it, but once Batman and Talia are on the case you know that it’s all over. I still don’t buy into the romance part of it, but that’s why it’s always cool that Bruce Wayne is actually just a fake alter ego that Batman made. Batman himself is still all business as per usual and looks good throughout all of the issues.

The next story was a Robin story. I suppose the series was trying to switch up the protagonists pretty consistently. I suppose I can roll with that. The enemy is the Ventriloquist this time so Robin has no trouble taking him down. This seems like it came out just a little before the Nightwing phase so it’s nice to see a Robin who is so confident and competent the whole time. He basically spends the whole comic taking names and even points out something Batman could have done differently in his mission before he was cut off.

Commissioner Gordon got the next story and this one was surprisingly really good. Gordon decides to save a cop who’s been exposed by the villains on his own since he feels guilty about it. He allows Batman to also work on saving him, but tells him not to move in until Gordon has his shot. Gordon takes a lot of the crooks down and does a good job. In the end he may not have been able to win, but you have to admire the attempt. The DCAU definitely did the best job at making him a great character. He was a by the books guy without being overboard to the point where he would try to constantly arrest Batman.

Joker was up next and this issue did a good job of capturing the essence of Joker. He’s a villain, but one with a code of honor. He learns that someone is making comics where he always loses to Batman so he fires the author and kidnaps the replacement so the adventures can be more realistic. As a result, Joker wins in a few of the issues before Batman finally defeated him. As Joker pointed out, he wouldn’t lose so easily this time because he was fighting for the kids. He had to protect them from the comic’s lies. It was just a very entertaining comic to read and Joker actually put up a pretty good fight against Batman when it came time for fisticuffs.

Next up was a Ra’s story as he wants to change the world once again. He always acts as if he will ultimately help the planet which I don’t buy into. I actually preferred the Talia story, but this one isn’t as bad. It plays out as you’d expect and Batman seamlessly infiltrates the enemy ranks and shuts the project down. There wasn’t quite as much action in this story, but it had a good blend of detective work and action mixed in. I definitely liked the ninja outfit that Batman borrowed for the mission and the character who originally wore it must have been pretty cool.

Batgirl and Robin returned for a big team up issue. It was cool to see them team up for what was evidently one of the first times. Robin showed off his experience while Batgirl brought in the X factor they needed to take on the crooks and steal the proof they needed. It was a more low stakes adventure that focused on the core of being a crime fighter, stopping your every day crooks. Technically that is definitely a big part of the job as you can’t expect to see a super villain every time.

A pretty intense story that came up next had the return of the Scarecrow. He found a way to deliver the fear straight to everyone’s minds so they all feared just the sight of him. Nobody was immune so Batman just had to toughen up and get past it. Scarecrow may not be a tough villain, but his fear gimmick is certainly not something to be taken lightly. At least Batman has a lot of experience with dealing with his inner fears so he’s one of the perfect heroes for taking this guy on.

The final issue had a few D list villains escape from prison to unleash their master plan. It was a villain centered story, but it was reasonably amusing. The Nice Guy is certainly an interesting villain and he made the right call in not attacking the dog at the end. It’s probably the most light hearted story in the bunch and is a reasonably good way to end the batch. I probably won’t remember any of those villains, but it was a nice dynamic.

The art is pretty good. The designs from the DCAU are always good to look at and it’s pretty easy to keep track of what’s happening. The issues actually end a lot sooner than usual because each issue only has a few panels and they’re all huge. It makes reading through the comics really easy although I wonder why this is the case. It’s certainly a different style compared to the rest of the DCAU adventures. What really makes this comic solid aside from the art is that the writing is just really good. You can easily picture these stories being full length episodes and everyone stays in character. It’s no wonder why the DCAU has stayed so popular over the years.

Overall, This is a pretty fun collection of stories. There aren’t too many breakout hits that will really stay memorable, but none of the stories are bad. They’re all pretty fun and nostalgic to read through and I look forward to checking out more comics in the series. Ironically I have now read volumes 3 and 2 so I just need to find the original somewhere. With both Batman and Superman having 3 volumes it’ll be interesting to see which one reaches 4 first. If you count spinoffs, then Batman has already won though as I’ll be reading that one next. Get ready for Robin to get more of a role. If you haven’t checked this comic out yet, then I’d definitely recommend changing that!

Overall 7/10

Superman Adventures Volume 3 Review

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It’s time for the next volume in the Superman Adventures series! The last one was pretty great and this volume continues to operate on that high level. It’s hard to say which volume is actually better. This one may claim a slight edge but it’s pretty much neck and neck. I’m gonna miss these Superman stories, but coming up I’ll be reviewing some Batman comics so those should also be pretty cool. The DCAU lives on!

The first story has Jimmy show a new intern around as he tries to get a story. Unfortunately, this kid isn’t very good at anything so he holds Jimmy back the entire time and even embarrasses him in front of Superman. I thought the story was a little mean spirited towards Jimmy. I didn’t like the new kid at all and he was a little over the top with how quiet he was and how he constantly kept getting in Jimmy’s way. There was a twist at the end which you could probably have guessed from the start, but it couldn’t save him. Not a bad story, but probably the weakest of the batch since Superman didn’t really get to appear much.

Another story has Bruce Wayne get kidnapped by the Mad Hatter. He won’t be released unless Batman shows up but the problem is that Bruce Wayne actually is Batman! Superman decides to lend a helping hand and teams up with Batgirl to find him. This leads to Superman showing her how he deals with criminals in Metropolis like buying them a coffee. It was a pretty interesting scene and reminds you that above all else, Superman’s always a stand up guy. Batman even had to thank him in the end. It was a fun crossover story and probably one of the only times we’ll see Superman and Batgirl team up.

Next up we have a Clark Kent story. He’s been spending so much time as Superman that he has been neglecting his reporter duties. It’s hardly his fault as he can’t let someone get mugged just because he wanted to write an article. Still, Clark’s in hot water so he has to find a way out of this predicament. He learns of a suspicious rail road and decides to crack the case. The issue lightly deals with the classic topic of whether or not he should really be Clark Kent. The comic can’t get into that much as it’s way too deep of a topic for a single issue, but it’s always an interesting question. If he were to become Superman 24/7, where would it stop? He could eventually become a dictator or society would start to rely on him too much. I do think it would be for the best if he wasn’t Clark Kent much at all, but I suppose if he never took time to relax he’d go crazy. It’s a tough call for sure.

The Parasite comic is more of a standard Superman action story. It’s one of the only comics in this batch where Superman could fight an opponent at his level so I was certainly all for that. Superman does fall for his tricks a little too easily and I think his power shouldn’t leave quite so quickly but that’s what makes Parasite such a dangerous opponent. His fight with Superman is fun and I’m glad that Superman decided to get in on the action so quickly. Letting the cops try to deal with Parasite seemed like a reeeeally bad idea from the start. No offense to Metropolis’ finest, but they’re not ready for this. I always liked Parasite quite a bit as well. He just has a really cool design and great powers.

The action got dialed up further in the Supergirl adventure though. With Superman busy on a Justice League mission, it’s up to Supergirl to protect Metropolis. It won’t be easy though as General Zod and two other Kryptonians escape from the Phantom Zone. Taking on all 3 of them is pretty difficult even for Supergirl. What helps is that she’s immune to kryptonite but so is General Zod. This was pretty interesting and it goes against Justice League Unlimited, but I suppose they couldn’t have known there would be an episode like that. I don’t really see why Supergirl would be immune to Kryptonite and didn’t quite buy into the explanation. Still, it is an incredibly useful ability to have without a doubt. She’ll always have the edge as long as she carried a chunk around with her. It would have been fun to see Superman show up so it’d be 2 against 3, but Supergirl really did a nice job of out thinking the villains.

Brainiac returned in another comic as he started messing with everyone’s electronics. Professor Hamilton is around so he’s as annoying as ever, but Superman has to do all of the hard work. While Hamilton is busy destroying Superman’s precious memories, Superman stands up to Brainiac. The intellectual villain has always been one of Superman’s iconic foes and it’s nice to see him here. I think Superman’s massive speed advantage makes it so that he should always win the fight with ease, but we shouldn’t discount a genius intellect too quickly eh?

One unique story had a group of kids decide to outwit Superman. They got a prototype suit from Lex that could teleport so they’d use it to steal sneakers and other such stuff. They would each take turns in the suit which made them all act really differently. This made it difficult for Superman to actually pinpoint a motive or track them at all. He would need science for this mission and even then he had to find a way to apprehend the kids without actually hurting them. Fortunately, the suit is a prototype so it’s not completely perfect yet. It wasn’t my favorite story in the batch but it was all right.

A much better story involves an assasination attempt. Someone is after the President’s life so Superman decides to act as a bodyguard until an important meeting is over. The Assassin shows up and is strangely confident despite Superman being around. It’s a pretty tense issue and the villain was pretty fun. You may not feel too much of a threat since it’s a guy with a gun trying to get past Superman, but he is resourceful I’ll give him that. It’s also nice to see the President and the army teaming up with Superman. It always makes for a pretty fun dynamic.

As always, the art is pretty good. It captures that nice DCAU feel the whole time. Sometimes the artist will even have a lot of fun and make Superman look serious all of a sudden. A good example is when he broke into the White House. There’s a twist about that of course, but it made for a pretty intense moment. The fight scenes are all on point as well. It’s certainly not the streamlined masterpiece that you see from today’s comics, but it has that retro hand drawn feel to it. I’d personally say that it works quite well.

What really helps these issues shine is the high writing quality. Superman always acts like himself, a peerless hero who always makes the right calls. He doesn’t waver in the line of good and evil or doubt himself, he just makes the hero calls. The supporting cast is very fun. They all have personality and aren’t portrayed as caricatures of themselves. The stories balance humor and being serious with great results. There are really no negatives with the comic once again and you’ll find yourself reading it cover to cover in one sitting. It’s not too short either so don’t worry about that. The collection has 9 issues I believe.

Overall, Superman continues to have a lot of great stories. The actual series had over 60 issues, but for some reason this is the last main graphic novel collection. After this they started reprinting the comics or throwing random ones into a collection. I hope the rest of them are nearly packed at some point because I want to check out the rest. It’d be a shame to see them just end like that. I highly recommend checking out this collection. As a Superman fan you’ll definitely appreciate it and you’ll certainly enjoy it even if you just like comics in general. It’s a must buy!

Overall 8/10

The Lego Batman Movie Review

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It’s time to review the recent Lego Batman film that was in theaters a while back. This movie got a lot of hype as one person even told me that it was the greatest comic book movie of all time. Of course, that person didn’t enjoy Man of Steel or Batman V Superman so some credibility may have been lost there. It’s a fun film and has fun going over the top with the Lego visuals. Despite the epic action scenes, some of the jokes don’t work as well as the normal shorts as they are reused and stretched a bit much. It’s a fun film, but one with the typical flaws of turning what could have been a 30 minute Lego short into a full length film.

The film starts off with a pretty intense action scene as Batman reminds the world why he is the top crime fighter around. Joker has amassed an army of villains who obey his every order and he wants them to shut down Gotham City. Batman manages to defeat all of them rather effortlessly but also hurts Joker’s feelings when he admits that Superman is actually his greatest enemy. Joker decides to retaliate by destroying the city and hires some pretty notable figures like King Kong and Sauron to help him. Batman may need some help from Barbara and Robin if he’s going to survive this, but will he ask for help?

I was glad that Batman pointed out all of the tropes that companies use when starting movies. The ominous music and long logos always do seem to be a staple and starting the film out in all black is probably one of the more annoying ones. It shows that the film is trying to win an Oscar instead of trying to make a movie. Batman points all of this out and then gets to work on wrecking everyone. As always, his voice is perfect for the character. He gets Batman’s serious nature across and delivers his lines without sounding like he’s going to laugh.

Batman has looked great in the Lego films and for the most part this one is no exception. He’s as overconfident as ever and is even more of a loner in the Lego films than he is in the main ones. It’s the Batman that we wanted and the one that we deserve. He conquers overwhelming odds and doesn’t learn the teamwork moral until the final 15 minutes so he lasted quite a while. Yeah, Batman was basically on point. The only trouble here was his rapping gig on the side. That just felt a little out of character and was a new twist that I couldn’t get behind. Seriously…lets not bring the singing in. That just doesn’t feel right if you ask me. The songs are bad on purpose…but it doesn’t work.

Keep in mind that I’m just talking about Batman singing. The film had a lot of retro songs that worked fairly well. Remember Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up Never Gonna Let You Down” song? That one makes a cameo and it was brilliant. Batman chose another song instead though. Ironically I couldn’t actually hear the one he chose though because the sound effects were way louder than the movie. I can only imagine how hard it would be to hear the music in the theater with the sound effects bashing away at the walls. I’m pretty cool with that though as they brought the Adam West visual effects back at long last. That was pretty sweet.

The Lego graphics are also on point. It’s still Lego so it falls short of the average animated movie, but I feel like they brought the style to the height of what it can do. The cool Crisis City vibes I was getting from the climax made it that much more intense. The opening action scene was also really fast paced and visually interesting. At times it felt like the film was on 2x speed with how quickly everything was happening. That’s a good thing though as it made Batman’s skills appear to be even more extreme and hype.

Lets talk about some of the aspects where the film didn’t fare as well. It all starts with the Joker. His whole plot about wanting to be Batman’s greatest enemy starts off as annoying and very quickly turns cringe worthy. It ends up overriding his entire character as every single scene with him on screen is about that. The film goes way too far with its obvious parallels here and Batman is ultimately forced to admit that Joker has earned the title. Even if it could have possibly been funny for some, the joke drags on for way too long. It just keeps coming back over and over again well past the point where you just want it to go away. It really hurt the film in my opinion and was the biggest detriment to it in the end. The film should have just kept on focusing on the absurd parts of the film like the opening with the bombs over the city. That’s the film’s forte and it needed to remember that.

I can’t say that Robin was very likable either. He goes from being a big Batman fan who is fairly timid to just rummaging through Batman’s stuff without permission and messing with the guy. Where was the respect? He just ends up getting in the way a lot of the time and while I was glad that it gave us an excuse to hear Batman’s useful life lessons, Robin could have been a better character. Most of the humor with his character didn’t work well either. You know what the problem is? Batman’s the only character here who understands humor. I’d wager that over 90% of the jokes that worked in this film are the ones that Batman used. That’s just a guess off the top of my head, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the cast.

At least Batgirl was pretty good. Once she takes over as Commissioner she begins to take names. She did a good job ob taking down all of Batman’s most dangerous enemies without breaking a sweat. She may have taken all of Batman’s insults and attempts to get her out of the action a little too personally, but at least she could fight. From all of the supporting characters, she was easily the best. Alfred wasn’t bad either, but he spent more time trying to shut Batman down and get in his way than actually helping. Also, am I the only one who thinks that the group was way too ungrateful to Batman after he saved their lived from the Hollywood villains? He could have just not done that and they’d all be broken like the cops that he smashed at the prison.

The Justice League makes a nice little cameo. It’s fun to see them all around and while it may have been a little mean of Superman not to invite Batman to the party…Batman did say that they were worst enemies. I suppose Superman is just trying to live up to the title. I was kind of expecting him to show up at the end, but I suppose he wasn’t needed this time. The climax was already really explosive and intense anyway.

When it all boils down to it, I think the film had a stronger opening than ending. As I mentioned earlier, the first part was really on point with Batman taking names and then Bruce Wayne pointing out how awesome Batman was. Grabbing a glass of water just to dramatically spit it out is a classic Batman thing to do. The second half just got a little confused with all of the extra characters and the whole Joker plot when in reality it should have focused on Batman. I think the problem may have been the length. A lot of the DC Lego films are roughly 70 minutes at this point, but this one was closer to 90 I believe. Maybe they just couldn’t fit in all of the extra time. The plot is fairly basic after all so it could have been done a lot quicker.

That being said, the pacing was pretty good. Something is always happening so it’s not really a lack of ideas. It’s just a lack of focus. Maybe they thought people would get bored if Batman got too much screen time and wanted to include everyone. That didn’t work so well as you might expect. I admire the effort though and I am glad that this got to be in the theater. It’s pretty surreal to see Lego Batman actually get mainstream as people saw it in the theater. Not bad…not bad at all.

Overall, This wasn’t a bad film. It had its good moments and while it struggled a bit, the goods outweighed the bad. The Joker plot may have shed the film a star or 2, but Batman’s strong performance keeps the film on the positive side of the spectrum. If we get a sequel I’d like to see Superman get more of a role and the two characters can duke it out. This is a rare time where I’d like the character development to revert as well so Batman is a solo act again. That being said, since his personality didn’t change, they could also just come up with an excuse to have the other characters just be on vacation or something. I’d recommend checking this film out if you haven’t already. Otherwise, you should check out some of the earlier specials as the action is just as good, but you’ll also see a higher level of witty banter between the characters. The wit is what makes or breaks the Lego films after all and DC seems to have a knack for it.

Overall 6/10

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League Gotham City Breakout Review

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It’s time for another lego film. In this one, we get 2 main plots instead of 3 or 4 like usual. This allows each individual plot to be fleshed out more but of course it means that you have to like both or you’re out of luck. Fortunately, both plots are pretty solid. The Batman plot ends up winning for me, but both of them are on the up and up.

The film starts with Batman’s friends deciding that he needs to take a vacation. As such, Nightwing and Batgirl take him to the place where he first learned how to become Batman. Batman’s master is known as Madame Mantis and she is the one person that he actually fears. It can be a little novel to see Batman actually scared of someone (for 2 seconds anyway) but the next twist made the whole thing even more interesting. Basically, Mantis had actually been kidnapped and Deathstroke had taken her place. Here’s why this is interesting.

For starters..Mantis had actually been beating Batman. That means Deathstroke is even more lethal than he used to be. He also saw a side of Batman that few ever have..his nervous side. Now, Batman claims that he knew this from the start which was a nice save but you have to decide whether you believe it or not. At the very least, Batman did end up winning in the end. It was a great way to start off the plot, but maybe that was also a bad thing. The rest of the story (Batman’s side) isn’t quite as exciting as this initial confrontation. The fight was epic, fast paced, and well choreographed. It was just hard to top it.

Batman and friends discover an underground bunch of beings who work under Madame Mantis and together the gang teams up to take down Deathstroke and foil his evil ambitions. I can’t say that I liked the Trogowogs much and I had to look their name up online because there is no way I was gonna remember it. The revamped origin story of Deathstroke and Batman was pretty cool though. I wouldn’t mind if it became canon since it adds an extra layer of intensity to their rivalry.

Meanwhile, Superman is left in charge of protecting Gotham while Batman is away. Arrogant and over confident as usual, Superman believes that the city’s villains are a joke. This leads to him being tricked by the Joker and losing to Poison Ivy. The whole film is a lesson in humility for Superman. While I could start talking about plot hax and how Batman’s villains really would be a joke to Superman…it’s so self explanatory that I won’t even bother. I don’t mind seeing Superman get put in his place either. His over confidence is why I like the character, but I definitely don’t mind poking a little fun at him. Superman is eventually forced to call in Cyborg and Wonder Woman although they also have a hard time with the situation. It’s a little odd since they certainly aren’t overconfident, but it proves what Batman has been saying for years. He’s the best member, the other Leaguers are just here to back him up!

A big part of the plot is that Robin wants to help out, but Superman constantly patronizes him and reminds the poor boy that kids can’t fight super villains. Superman’s technically correct if this was a normal universe, but in comic book land we all know that kids can be pretty tough. Robin works on his homework for a while, but eventually realizes that without him the team is doomed. He gets set to win and ultimately proves to be the League’s secret weapon. Who’d have thunk it?

As per usual I have to give a shoutout to Batman’s voice actor. The specials really wouldn’t be the same without him since the dialogue is part of why the specials are so fun. Batman just steals the show with ever appearance that he has. The rest of the characters are solid as well and fulfill the parts as best they can, but Batman’s just feels totally legitimate. He sounds like the guy from “How it should have ended” and maybe it’s just easier to voice Batman. Who knows, but either way it works well.

The soundtrack is also pretty good as per usual. The Lego films have been getting progressively better with the fight scenes or at least consistent. The format has shown that it can actually deliver serious fights when it wants to do so. The fight with Batman’s teacher at the beginning was definitely the best one in the film. I’m still not crazy about Lego animation and at this point I don’t think I’ll be changing my mind on that anytime soon, but it won’t take you out of the film. If anything, I’m fairly used to it by now and it still beats Stop Motion. That one’s definitely aged the worst.

The film’s pretty short as always since it’s just over an hour. 70 minutes seems to be everyone’s favorite go to for short films. The old films from the 40’s-60’s were always around 70 minutes like the Universal Monster films and same with anime. Maybe there’s some kind of research which shows that 70 minutes is just right. I do admit that it helps the pacing to stay consistently fast so I suppose it has worked out quite well. With the Lego style, I suppose going to 2 hours could be hit or miss, but if done well it could definitely work.

Overall, This is a pretty fun DC special. It’s not the best Lego adventure, but it can hold its own with ease. I am glad that Batman’s plot got a lot of screen time since a DC special without him just would not work well. This one also didn’t have Supergirl rhyming the whole time like a certain other special so I was down with that. Aside from her, there haven’t really been any poorly written heroes in the Lego specials. We’ve had some bad villains like Vandal Savage, but that’s all. I’d recommend checking this one out if you enjoyed the other DC specials. It’s fairly similar to them and follows a rather safe formula. It hits enough of the right notes to certainly be counted as a good film.

Overall 7/10

Constantine vs Batman


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Constantine may be pretty confident after he’s had a good smoke, but that doesn’t mean he can handle Batman. Batman’s taken down more villains over the years than most heroes can even dream of defeating. He’s mastered Superman’s abilities in the past and also used the GL Power Ring. Constantine just won’t be able to overcome this kind of power and he will be forced to take a loss here. Batman wins.

Batman: Bad Blood Review

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First off, I have to say that I was really surprised at how good this film was. DC’s animation films have been sorely dropping in quality ever since the New 52 began. I’m not counting the side films, just mainstream. Lets quickly take a trip down memory lane for them. Here are the DC animated films that I’m counting. Superman: Doomsday, Justice League New Frontier, Batman Gotham Knight, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern First Flight, Public Enemies, Crisis on Two Earths, Under The Red Hood, Apocalypse, All Star Superman, Emerald Knight, Year One, Doom, Superman and the Elite, Dark Knight Returns, Unbound, Flashpoint, War, Son of Batman, Assault on Arkham, Throne of Atlantis, Batman vs Robin, Gods and Monsters, Bad Blood. I’m not even going to count the Killing Joke and Justice League Dark. The former because I haven’t seen it and don’t plan to since the film looks so trashy and the latter since it’ll be a long time til a TV-14 version of it is up. Naturally, the film wouldn’t help DC’s case anyway since it’s as gritty as it gets.

So, Superman: Doomsday was a great film. It was a good way to kick things off. New Frontier could have been better, but it was a solid Justice League film. Gotham Knight was DC’s first miss, but they made up for it with the next two installments as Wonder Woman and Green Lantern were both very good. Public Enemies and Crisis on Two Earths were amazing and two of the best DC films of all time. Under The Red Hood and Apocalypse continued things off on a high level. All Star Superman was reasonably solid as well. It lacked in action, but had good writing. Emerald Knight was rather disappointing and Year One was pretty sad. You could argue that DC was starting to weaken at this point. Justice League Doom was good. It was a cut under the previous all stars, but it still felt right.

Next was Superman and the Elite. It’s easily one of the weaker Superman films and the animation was bad. Dark Knight Returns was truly dreadful though and it brought back the more violent roots that I was hoping to avoid. The next title (Superman Unbound) avoided this thanks to its My Little Pony styled animation. However, this was the end. We would now enter the violent era of DC films and this is where things got ugly. Flashpoint is super dark, gritty, and violent. It was a bad film that just left you shaking your head. Next was JL: War. Justice League War is a good story, but it was plagued by excessive violence all around. It’s no surprise though since this is where the New 52 started. Technically it’s not a bad film, it’s still good, but should have been far better. The next films would not have the Justice League to bail them out. Son of Batman is a gritty story where the writing just slacks off and the violence continues. Assault on Arkham is one of the worst DC films and with many villains as the main characters, you can see how it would be bad.

We went back to the Justice League next, but questionable writing and more excessive violence held it back quite a lot. Batman vs Robin kept the violence as high as it could and even threw in animal violence. Gods and Monsters is so disgraceful that I knew it would be bad 10 minutes in. It was just so disgraceful. But, there’s a silver lining now. Batman: Bad Blood has toned the violence down quite a lot and based on the trailers and clips for the next two films, it looks like things could finally be changing. Are we going back to DC’s prime in animation? It’s a possibility and one that I’m excited for. It’s fitting since the New 52 was cancelled that things would finally get back on track.

Now, lets start the actual review for this film. Batwoman is a new crime fighter in town who believes in destroying all of her opponents. She’s a villain who takes out other villains for the greater good and believes herself to be above the law. As expected, she gets in over her head and a group of villains decide to take her down. It would seem that she was just the bait to lure Batman in as he is forced to save her from Heretic and his goons which results in his capture. Batwoman must now team up with Nightwing and Damian to find and rescue the Dark Knight. Can they succeed and who is the true mastermind behind the scenes?

This film starts off with a lot of action and it never lets up. The first 10-15 minutes are effectively one long action scene. Batman and Batwoman are up against a bunch of C listers, but these guys still have decent abilities and the fight makes for a bunch of cool visuals. Also, Batman is still just a human so he can’t afford to let his guard down against anyone. While the villains may not seem all that intimidating, one good attack could always mean the end. The film did a great job of showing how Batman fights in contrast to the others though. He has no wasted movements and is easily able to handle multiple opponents by fighting very strategically. His fighting style here was focused on being defensive and launching powerful hits. I dare say that this film did a better job of illustrating that than any of the other DC films. Watch this title and see how the animators do a good job of distinguishing everyone’s fighting styles. It’s pretty impressive.

The animation is also very sharp. Some of the hand to hand scenes can maybe get a little stretchy like Talia vs Batwoman, but the style works well enough. The various colors help the contrast which is why the night scenes in particular have the best fights. The film is able to pull this off even in the day time by having the characters fight in doors. Damian vs the bulldozer guy was a good example of this. The strong sound effects and fluid animation helped this film produce some of the best fight scenes. I have Batman Beyond Return of the Joker as my favorite Batman film, but this one is really high up there as well. The main competition it would have is Under The Red Hood and Mask of the Phantasm. So, Top 3 is a real possibility, but I’ll refrain from actually placing it there for now since it could just be a knee jerk reaction of this film completely surpassing my expectations. I can’t say that I was particularly hyped for this film before watching it, but it certainly delivered.

An extra cherry on top for this film is the fact that it actually had a good soundtrack as well. Most films miss out on this nowadays, but Bad Blood has quite a few great action tunes and that helps to keep the intensity up from the start. The film may only be around 70 minutes long, but since the action never stops, it probably has more fights than most 100+ minute films.

The character cast is pretty solid as well. Batman isn’t in his right mind for most of the film, but he’s on point when he is. He’s very no nonsense the whole time and just shows up to take the villains down. He doesn’t bother with pleasantries or any of that. However, Damian was the standout here. This is how I’ve always pictured the character to act. Damian’s strong and extremely confident. The bragging works as long as he can back it up and he does a good job of it here. I don’t even mind his loss to Heretic since he was drugged first and still put up a good fight. He was trained by the League of Assassins so I expect him to be really skilled. He was a little underpowered in the first fight, but he managed to come back from that. The film couldn’t get the power levels absolutely perfect right? I’m not sure about Batwoman defeating Talia, that was a bit of a stretch. Still, I suppose she needed as least one win since that would have been sad for her fans otherwise.

I’m not really a Batwoman fan. She’s on the opposite side of the spectrum with the bragging. She talks a really good game, but ends up getting wrecked in almost all of her fights. She doesn’t last 5 seconds against Heretic and she was getting overwhelmed by the C list fighters. It wasn’t a good showing for her at all. I thinks she has the potential to be more likable than Batgirl, but she also feels like a Huntress ripoff at the same time. I guess I’ll need to wait and see what future films do with her. Nightwing’s not bad. It’s nice to see him getting more of a role in the films lately. It would be great if he had a little more confidence/arrogance like Damian though. Lately it seems like he’s completely mellowed out. That’s not bad, but it won’t help his personality.

Alfred looked really good here and his fight was one of the cool parts in the film. Bad Blood even managed to squeeze in Batwing. I haven’t read a comic with him yet, but he seems cool. He’s a not very subtle ripoff of War Machine, but as always DC managed to improve on the character. I already like him more than Rhodey. They both have a military background which explains why they can use the suits so easily, but Batwing seems far less likely to betray everyone to the government. His transformation scene was also pretty fun and definitely seemed like something out of Iron-Man. I’m definitely glad that he took the suit right away as well since a real character doesn’t wait for permission.

This aspect hurt Onyx quite a bit though. As a loyal bodyguard, I was expecting her to try and help Heretic out of at least avenge him. Part of being a good lackey is knowing when not to follow an order and that vengeance must come first. She waits way too long to do anything and that did destroy her whole character. There was nothing that she could do to exonerate herself, the time for action had passed. It was also unexpected since the film was playing it off like she was about to do something, but then decided not too. I do have to say that one other missed opportunity here was killing off Heretic before he could get a real fight. He was definitely a tough fighter so seeing him get a full fight against Nightwing or Damian would have been fun. He had a brief bout with Nightwing and to the hero’s credit, he was holding his own. The 2 on 1 fight just proved to be too much in the end.

Bad Blood is also good with the misdirects. I actually thought that Batwoman’s dad had turned evil since it would be the kind of twist that DC would turn to in the past. I’m glad that it wasn’t the case though because that would have been just plain unnecessary. He seems like a pretty good character so I’d definitely be on board with having him around in the future. That being said, sticking to the Bat cast is the best move. One of the reasons why this film was so good was because over 90% of the film stayed with the plot. Batwoman had a small subplot that was boring and acted as pointless filler, but it was probably less than 10 minutes if you combine all of the scenes. Keep the subplots as small as possible and your film will probably be a winner.

Overall, Batman Bad Blood was pretty solid. The nonstop action was good and it was just full of quality. For those of you who still want blood and intensity, there is a bit when characters are punched or stabbed, but it isn’t completely over the top and overdone like the last few films. It’s handled with a lot more dignity and composure this time around. If there’s anything that you may have a problem with, it’s that everyone seems to be breaking into the batcave these days. It did make for a decent jump scene though since I really wasn’t expecting Heretic to show up at that moment. The film was really good with having unexpected things occur. I highly recommend checking this film out. You will not be disappointed!

Overall 7/10

Batman vs Larry Appleton


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Suggested by Anonymous This also serves as a tribute to Lego Justice League Cosmic Clash. Batman stole the show once again with all of his witty one liners and the rest of the cast simply couldn’t keep up with him. Batman saved the day over and over again as many times as was necessary. I don’t think Larry would have lasted long in the same situation and he simply doesn’t have Batman’s experience or hand to hand combat. Batman would take him out as easily as he takes out the average thug, maybe even easier. Batman wins.

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Cosmic Clash Review

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It’s time for another Lego Justice League Adventure! This one is quite a step down from the last one, but lets be honest…how could it possibly have topped that one? The last one was near perfection and the series had been hitting it on all cylinders. It makes sense that it would have to slow down at some point and this was that moment. The film may not be all that long, but it didn’t feel that way and several parts slowed it down. Unfortunately, the film lost its identity, but I believe it will find it again.

Brainiac is coming to Earth and the heroes may not be able to stop him this time. This being has conquered many planets before and Earth is just to be another stepping stone for him. To ensure that the Justice League do not interfere, Brainiac erases their memories and sends them into the distant path. Specifically, he does this to Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Superman since they are the League’s heavy hitters. Batman must don the cape once more (Well, fine he already had the cape) and travel back in time to restore their memories and then come back to finish off Brainiac. Can the other members buy him some time along with the new recruit: Supergirl, or is humanity already doomed?

The film starts off very strong with the Justice League taking care of business as usual. The way that they handled the invasion was very on point and while Batman may not have been invited for hide and seek…at least the heroes were apologetic about it. I can see their side of the story as well since there is no reason for them to expect that Batman would have wanted a piece of the action right? These films are always at their best when the League is around since the banter between them is always solid.

You all know that Lego Animation isn’t my favorite so the film can’t rely on its animation to get it through to a solid score. The writing and soundtrack have to be on point. While the music isn’t quite as dynamic as some of the other films, it’s still pretty solid as it should be. What helps to make the film pretty good is that the writing is mostly good. This is also what brings it down from past films. The writing is excellent with the main Justice League members. They all look pretty great and Batman steals the show as expected. His voice actor does a tremendous job in the role and the character just has all of the best moments. Unfortunately, the writing falters with Brainiac and Supergirl. I feel like the film overplayed its hand with those two.

Supergirl’s personality is a little different than usual as she’s all about being a cheer leader and constantly cheers throughout the film. “Give me a D and an O and O and M” for example as she keeps on punching out villains and this gets old the very first time that she did it. As she continues on and on…it just doesn’t help matters. I can’t say that I really liked her in this film and she joins Cyborg as a member of the team who doesn’t really feel like she’s there yet. It was a fun in joke though as Cyborg was basically cut off during his big montage moment by the others. All of the main Leaguers got their own big moment inspired by the animated Justice League’s intro, but Cyborg had to share with someone and it only lasted for an instant. I forgot who he had to share with though.

As for Brainiac, he’s maybe a little too silly at times. His dialogue isn’t crafty and subtlety funny like the League members and just goes for more of the obvious jokes. His banter with the other Brainiacs is cool though and managing to see through their ruse was actually pretty impressive. I guess we know why he is the brains of the operation right? He can’t fight the others in hand to hand combat, but he had a lot of robots to make for a bit of a climax. His plan was good at any rate since erasing the memories of the heroes was basically fool proof. It’s just that Batman exists so no plan is ever completely fool proof.

As for the Batman plot, I only liked one out of the three time travel adventures. Wonder Woman’s will be clear as to why I didn’t like it. Batman warps back to the Caveman era so the locale is pretty bad and I don’t care for everyone speaking like a Caveman. It was interesting to see Wonder Woman show her true colors and murder all of the men though. They were asking for it so I won’t really object. Luckily Batman was around to set things straight. Green Lantern’s also dragged on, but not nearly as much. I did like how they incorporated the meme of Batman riding a shark and he just acted pretty hardcore the whole time. I’m not sure about Batman being caught so easily though. The pirates should have been thoroughly outclassed. These two segments are what held down the film to an extent, but at least the final segment helped to make up for it.

Batman winds up in an apocalyptic future that will remind you of Future’s End. Superman is now working for Brainiac so Batman must take him down yet again to prove once and for all who the strongest crime fighter is. Batman won’t even resort to Kryponite because deep down…he’s never needed it! It’s a pretty intense fight and we even have the Legion of Superheroes show up. This was definitely a fun part of the film and I’m always eager to see Batman and Superman go at it. It’s a match-up that never gets old and seeing as how they’re the best characters in all of DC Comics, it’s easy to see why.

If anything, I’d just like to see more of the League next time. When I mentioned that the film lost its identity, it’s that the plot just wasn’t worth it. Having the League sent to different eras ensured that we couldn’t see the whole team for very long. It meant that we only had the D listers in the main plot as Batman tried to gather up everyone in the B Plot. The film is at its best when the League is bantering and making fun of the villains as they humiliate them. We didn’t get much of a chance of that here, but at least we did learn that while Superman is one of the greatest Hide and Seek players, Batman is the best. Just about all of the really funny moments involve Batman, Superman, or the League as a whole. Removing that aspect also ensures that you’re removing a critical piece of the film.

Overall, This is still a solid film though and one that I’d recommend. Other titles like Teen Titans GO can learn a thing or two from this one on how to do humor effectively. Specifically, look at Batman. I can’t stress enough just how good he is and this is one of those cases where he is even better than Superman. Batman gets all of the best lines and character development as well as some of the best action scenes. He’s always got a good plan even if nobody ever listens to him. I don’t know where the League would be without him, but it’s safe to say that the group wouldn’t be nearly as potent. I look forward to seeing which Lego Justice League film comes out next. It’s a series that I hope doesn’t end anytime soon as there are still many stories to tell.

Overall 7/10