Lego DC: Shazam!: Magic and Monsters Review


Feels like it’s been a while since DC came out with another one of their Lego adventures so it was nice to see this one show up. This time it’s Shazam’s turn to be the lead and he holds his own film pretty well. He’s always been a pretty fun character and since his abilities match up so well with Superman’s you can see them being good rivals. Naturally Batman does his best to grab a lot of the screen time as well so Shazam has to split it with him. It ends up being a bit of a team up film there but part of the charm in these Lego films is that the plot’s always moving pretty quickly so a lot happens here.

The movie starts with Shazam stopping some villains and even saving a dog from a tree. People are wondering who this new hero is and he’s definitely left a positive impression. Even the Daily Planet has become aware of his presence and so Clark Kent has to write a story about him. This is put on hold when a bunch of villains show up. The Justice League backs Superman up but it’s surprisingly a close fight until Shazam shows up and takes all of the villains down for the count. The League invites him to the team but the trouble for Shazam is that they have 3 rules: One of which is that no kids are allowed. Shazam can’t let them find out his secret but it might end up sabotaging his chances of being a member. Additionally Mr. Mind’s schemes aren’t quite over yet.

It’s pretty interesting to see Mr Mind getting a lead villain role here. The guy was teased at the end of the live action film so perhaps this is a bit of foreshadowing on what he could do. He can’t really fight all that well physically but has mind control so that’s always helpful. I don’t think the writers consider him to be that skilled though as he mentions multiple times that his abilities only work on weak willed people and kids. For the most part adults are off limits….that’s not going to be very good for him. Then there’s also the fact that he keeps hearing a voice in his head. There’s a nice twist about who’s talking to him at the end.

I did like his villain group though. It’s a pretty unique roster that you wouldn’t usually expect to see so I liked the creativity there. The guy fighting Superman was pretty interesting and the “Dummy” makes for a fun villain even if his matchup against the Flash has got to be the most one sided one. A guy with a gun taking on the fastest man alive? Really? Well, he did pretty well all things considered I suppose. The final act of the film also adds one more villain who was a lot of fun to see. Due to some plot reasons we don’t really get to see him mix it up with the League the way you would expect but I do think he would have made it a good fight.

Lego animation is pretty consistent so you either like the style or you don’t. It’s all pretty clear and what I like about the DC Lego adventures in particular is that they do still give you nice action scenes. The films are a solid blend of humor and action but a lot of the fight scenes are actually taken pretty seriously. Take the Batman vs Superman fight. Yes, these two get to go up against each other yet again. While they’re dishing out a lot of solid one liners and good banter, we get some real acrobatics here and see Batman pulling off some nice maneuvers. It’s easy to imagine this in the core DC animation style and the fight being pretty epic. So it’s the extra effort you get here that has always put DC at the very top of the Lego verse.

The writing is also really solid as always. Batman gets a lot of great lines in particular. I also like Superman’s showing here mainly in the first half of the film. It’s always nice seeing him as Clark Kent and he definitely takes the arrival of Shazam a lot more in stride than in Justice League. The movie has a lot of solid visual humor as well to match the lines like Shazam just casually popping in his Subway token to catch a ride to Eternity. It’s also just a very balanced portrayal of Shazam. As a kid Billy is a super nice guy as always even wishing well to the bullies who would pick on him. Then as Shazam he does keep in all of the SHAZAM attributes such as wisdom and speed which is good. It’s probably his best appearance since Superman & Shazam the animated short film that came out a while back. Even the Wizard looks good since he actually knows how to fight in this version and does a good job of holding his own.

Overall, Lego DC Shazam was definitely a really solid adventure. Shazam is a likable hero and would make a good regular addition to the team here. As always I would put Batman as the standout character here. In the Lego verse he really just owns the team and the writers have such a solid understanding of his character. In general the writing is just really good and the film’s pacing is also on point. I don’t really have anything to say against the film. It’s just a lot of fun throughout. I’d probably switch out the plot of the characters turning into kids that happens at one point but it does lead to some nice scenes so you could always say that he was still worth it. If you are in the mood for a fun film with some action and your classic DC characters around then you should definitely check this one out. The Lego films are also not that long so it’s not like it’ll take a lot of time either.

Overall 7/10

Lego DC Batman: Family Matters Review


It’s time to look at one of the latest Lego adventures. DC has been particularly good at using this format and this movie is no exception. This time we’re back to focusing just on the Batman characters and it works out pretty well if you ask me. Batman steals the show and we get to adapt both the Red Hood and Omac sagas in one film. That’s pretty impressive.

The movie starts out with Batman really not liking the fact that he has to continue living as Bruce Wayne. It’s all just a big distraction from his true passion in life which is beating up enemies. It’s gotten to the point where Batman can’t even stay awake during a board meeting. Something’s got to give and he gets his chance when Wayne Enterprises develops the Brother Eye. In theory it can replace Bruce Wayne so Batman jumps on the idea and even decides to sell Wayne Enterprises entirely. Now he can be Batman 24/7. The only problem is that the city is as dangerous as ever. A mysterious figure is bumping off all of Batman’s allies one by one. If he doesn’t stop this guy soon then everyone is doomed. Additionally, Brother Eye may be deadlier than it appears to be. (Although it looks pretty deadly from the jump.)

One of the main reasons why this film works so well is because of how good Batman looks. He’s got that smug confidence that we’re all used to seeing at this point. Not only is Batman highly skilled but he knows it and it’s even gone to his head by this point. Only Alfred is really able to keep him in check. The others can just hope that Batman sees it their way. The voice actor has done a good job of becoming an iconic voice for the character as well. There doesn’t seem to be anything that Batman can’t do at this point. He beats Solomon Grundy with ease and always has a plan of action even if Brother Eye proves to be a formidable foe.

The rest of the Bat characters are also fun. Damian wants to prove himself as Robin but has to work pretty hard at this since Batman really doesn’t trust him yet. He does well enough when it counts and takes down a bunch of the robots with ease. Batwoman gets one of the larger roles from the allies though. She’s certainly got a lot of confidence and takes Killer Croc on with no hesitation. I like the concept of Batwoman since she’s more of a loner like Huntress. Batwoman doesn’t necessarily work under Batman since they usually have no affiliation. That being said, her skills do suffer a bit as a result since she doesn’t get that training. Here she has got that confidence that you always want to see in a hero.

Batgirl gets less to do as a result though. She holds a petty grudge against Nightwing for a good portion of the film. Her fight with Scarecrow was fun as she had to work her way through illusions and mirrors to get at him. The mind games definitely took their toll though which made Red Hood’s job pretty easy. Nightwing looks good and is the only one to not fall for the quick sucker hit. At least he gave Red Hood a good fight and that makes sense. From all of the Robins I do consider Dick Grayson to be the most skilled. After that I would put Jason Todd as number 2 and then Damian as 3. While I do think Tim Drake is a great character and a fun Robin, he’d have to round out the group almost by default. The Robins are just stacked when it comes to power.

Red Hood definitely looks really good here. He gets a lot of hype and seems to be the smartest character next to Batman. The film has no shortage of emotional moments like this plot line as well as the reason why Brother Eye is so sore. Red Hood’s identity may not be much of a secret and I don’t think it was supposed to be, but it’s still nice to have the reveal later on. It’s just a good arc in general whether it’s through a film or a Lego adventure. We didn’t even need the Omac subplot and the film would have still been great but it made for a solid climax.

It’s always good to round things out with some big action scenes and Family Matters didn’t forget about that part. I can’t really say that I had any issues with the film. As far as animation goes there isn’t really anything to say because it’s the same as always. Either you like the Lego style or you don’t. This film wouldn’t be changing your opinion one way or the other because it’s not trying anything different with that. I don’t think there is much you could try either. Legos will always look like Legos or it wouldn’t be a film in that style. That’s the way I see it at least.

A Lego film will usually live or die on the writing. If the writing is bad then the jokes won’t really land and the whole thing will fall flat. What the film is hoping for is that the jokes will be pretty funny and this one succeeds there. Right from the gate we get a lot of great lines. I wouldn’t even mind a whole film about Bruce Wayne just mocking everyone and trying to make it a whole film without people blowing his cover. Batman may not be as cautious when he’s Bruce Wayne like when he’s talking about his Batman job on the phone, but it goes hand in hand with his contempt for everyone. Batman doesn’t think it’s a security risk to be on the phone because nobody’s smart enough to stop him. The arrogance makes for a lot of comedic moments.

Overall, Family Matters is one of the stronger DC Lego specials. The dialogue is some of the best I’ve seen in the franchise and there’s a lot of action here. If you mentally switch the animation out this could legitimately be one of the big DC animated films. The fights are good and the pacing is tight. The film feels like it ends pretty quickly as a result. If you like Lego or at least don’t mind the format then I highly recommend checking this one out. You really can’t go wrong here and it’s always fun to see Batman getting his hype. Even if his scenes may not all be meant to be taken seriously they’re still hype.

Overall 8/10

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


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

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom Review

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That title’s a mouthful eh? I thought about shortening it, but this is how I formatted the previous films so I may as well keep it in. Also, I’ve published other posts with long names in the past so it’s not all that new. This may be surprising to hear, but Attack of the Legion of Doom is easily the best Lego film out there. It beats The Lego film and even all of the other DC titles. I don’t see this one being surpassed to be honest since it really hits all of the right notes. This is Lego as it was always meant to be.

The Justice League have effectively ended all crime. The villains have not been able to get anything going since they are always outgunned. Lex Luthor decides to fix this problem by making his own group…the Legion of Doom! He holds tryouts to see who will join his legendary group. In the end, the roster includes Gorilla Grodd, Sinestro, Lex Luthor, Black Manta, Cheetah, and a few others. The League will have to fight extra hard if they want to beat this well knit team, but they have some problems of their own. Batman was voted as the leader of the Justice League, dethroning Superman and raising tensions among the rest of the team. Cyborg is also dealing with some drama so this is the perfect time for the Legion of Doom to strike!

There is one major reason above all others as to why this is the best Lego special. Lego specials don’t really do much in terms of fight scenes because they are comedies above all else. There may be the occasional fight, but typically they are short and not really played seriously. That’s not the case in this special as we actually get some extended fight scenes and they are played completely (90% anyway) seriously. These are fight scenes that you could picture actually looking really good with another animation style. DC wasn’t pulling its punches this time. One scene in particular that looked good was when Batman used his secret punch on Black Manta. These kinds of action scenes you would not usually see in Lego.

Another feather in this film’s hat is the soundtrack. The music themes are a little hard to describe. I’d say that they have a bit of a party theme to them. It’s easy to jam to the beat as you watch the heroes and villains duke it out. The themes are very fast paced and definitely a lot of fun to listen too. It is easily the best soundtrack in all of Lego and that’s considering the fact that The Lego Movie had a fairly decent soundtrack as well. When you consider how good the music was and the fact that the action scenes were so solid, it is easy to see why this is the best Lego film.

Meanwhile, the Lego graphics are about what you’d expect from now. I still consider this to be one of the weakest animation styles out there, but it is what it is. It looks like your average Lego film so at least there is a lot of consistency there. It’s not better than usual or worse than usual. It simply fills the bill and moves on.

One of the main plots is that nobody really thinks Cyborg is League material. He begins to doubt it as well when he constantly puts the team in danger so that’s a cause for some tension. It’s a great plot because that’s what we all thought when the New 52 tried to force Cyborg on us as a Justice League member. I’m sorry folks, but he’ll always be a Teen Titan to me. Dick Grayson, Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy are in the same boat. You can throw them on other teams like the Outlaws or the Doom Patrol, but they’ll always be Teen Titans when it counts. Cyborg really tries, but he simply can’t keep up with the rest of the team.

As per usual, Batman steals the show here although Superman is a decently close second. Batman taking charge of the League was great and he even reminds us that he is the brains of the operation on many occasions. He is the only one who saw through just about all of the plot twists in the film and he held his own when it came time to fight. He was also smart enough to realize that leaving the planet while there were still a lot of villains there was not a wise move, even if Superman overruled him there. Batman’s the ultimate solo act and without him the League would be finished. The films have done a good job of taking a comical spin on his personality traits, but not taking the bad ones and making them worse. (Teen Titans Go) Rather, they’ve taken his better qualities and made them even better.

Likewise, it is good to see Superman’s ultra heroism at work here. He is so fair and just that he naturally assumed that he could not vote for himself in the election. He knows that the system works after all and he always manages to get in some one liners as he fights crime. Naturally, there is no fear of the other villains within him since Superman is all but invincible so he grins for just about the whole film. There is some kryptonite towards the end, but Superman definitely doesn’t go down without a fight.

Flash and Green Lantern spend the whole film fighting over Wonder Woman so I can’t say that they handled things all that well. This is an example of a quality that I was hoping would not be dramatized. Wonder Woman’s role is fairly minimal as she tries to ignore Flash and and GL whenever possible although it’s not always easy. As for the villains, they’re all fairly accurate here. It’s easy to sympathize with the Trickster a little since the heroes intentionally mess with him quite a bit. Sinestro is easily shown to be one of the smarter villains from the get go which was good. He certainly deserves the title more than the others. Lex Luthor called the shots as expected and he insulted Gorilla Grodd quite a bit, which could be a subtle reference. Deathstroke also gets a quick cameo, which was handled very well. His fans are sure to be pleased.

Make sure you stick around for the end of the film by the way since it hints at big things to come. I’m certainly ready to see this plot actually happen since it has been set up for quite a while now. Seeing the big villain at the end arrive to fight the Justice League will be a blast. If the writers are able to handle it well like they did here, we’ll be in for quite the show. I still doubt it will be able to beat this film, but I’m ready to see what they do with it here.

Overall, Even if Lego films are not your thing, this is a film that I would recommend. The writing is very good as is the soundtrack. The Justice League members look solid for the most part and the fact that we actually get some fight scenes here is just an added bonus. The film is also fairly short as well so it is not like you would lose a lot of your time by giving this one a shot. You can say that you’ve seen Lego at its peak and if this doesn’t help you become a Superman fan, nothing will! (It’s a great answer to Batman V Superman as well folks since they both get to trade witty banter and try to out think each other with their very different views on how to handle a situation)

Overall 8/10

Lego DC Comics: Batman Be-Leaguered Review

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It’s time to take a look at the quick animated special that came out a while ago. It was included with the main movie in the DVD so I got to check it out. This is a fun adventure and it’s certainly very short. At just a little over 20 minutes, you can bet that it’ll be over in a flash. It was short, but I do think that it holds its own against the first Lego film thanks to the Justice League interactions. Those were certainly a lot of fun.

Superman invites Batman to join the Justice League, but the Dark Knight refuses. He doesn’t trust Superman after all and the thought of being in a league is not for him. Batman is a solo act after all, but the League members start to disappear one after the other. It’s up to Batman to find out who is doing this and stop the villain before someone actually gets hurt. It’s time to see if Batman has the skills needed to pull this off.

The voices have been switched along with some of the designs. It took a minute to get used to Batman’s new look and voice, but it worked out quite well. Batman is much more paranoid this time around and he is constantly thinking about how he can’t trust Superman. The Dark Knight brings up a lot of valid points so you may start to agree with him after a while. How can he be wrong right? Once again, Batman is really the star of the show and the main reason why this special is so much fun. Batman proves that he can hold his own against any of the other members.

Superman’s voice isn’t as good as the last one, but he’s still a fun powerhouse to have around. He does a good job of trying to recruit Batman. The other Justice League members were fun to see as well. Cyborg is purposely portrayed like his Teen Titans self, which is cool. The writers decided to make Wonder Woman a little mean this time, which was interesting. I can’t say that she was likable here and I guess that means that I just didn’t care for her parody as opposed to most of the others. From the other League members, The Flash is the one who looked the best. His speed is definitely legendary and it’s good to see how fast he can move. You can argue that the film makes him look a little too fast for comedy, but I’d argue that he actually is this fast. He’s the Flash after all! Besides Superman, I’d consider him to be one of the fastest heroes of all time.

I’m still not crazy about the Lego animation, but it’s here and it’s here to stay. These films are mainly comedies so that’s how the style is used. I would prefer another style, but it wouldn’t be a Lego film if they weren’t using Lego animation right? We do get some action scenes, which is always fun and the ending shows why the Justice League are feared as one of the strongest fighting units out there. Stopping them is simply tough, even for Luthor and the other villains. A certain cosmic being also appears. This guy is certainly strong and nearly invincible so I’m glad that the League didn’t try to fight him. I don’t like seeing the heroes lose to guys who can’t be defeated. It doesn’t end up feeling like a fair fight.

Overall, This was a fun special to watch. It was incredibly short, but Batman still had enough time to outshine the rest of the Justice League and also save the day. As far as I am concerned, the film succeeded there. Batman’s reason for joining the League at the end is also pretty intense. You’ll definitely want to stick around for the final part in the Lego series (for now) as it directly continues from this film as Batman’s plot continues to advance. He is not going to let Superman endanger the world….not on his watch! If you like the Lego series or are looking for a humorous adventure with your favorite DC heroes, this is definitely the film to check out.

Overall 7/10