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Lego DC: Batman: Family Matters (2019)

 

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Blu-ray Disc Released: 8/20/2019

 

All Ratings out of

Movie:

Video:

Audio:

Extras: No Extras

 

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 8/22/2019

 

This may not be something which most people consider, but the Lego series of animated movies, video releases, and television shows are very unique.  First of all, they have been able to partner with some of the hottest properties around, such as Star Wars, Marvel, Harry Potter, and Jurassic Park.  Secondly, they truly embrace these characters and franchises, finding clever ways to bring in minor and obscure characters and constantly referencing touchstones from these series.  Thirdly, while the releases are ostensibly aimed at children, they always find a way to insert very clever, but not risquť, jokes which can be appreciated by adults.  Letís face it, with the characters featured in these products, they could simply phone in the story, but itís clear that some thought goes into each outing.  For example, letís look at Lego DC: Batman: Family Matters.

 

Lego DC: Batman: Family Matters opens with Batman (voiced by Troy Baker) battling Solomon Grundy (voiced by Fred Tatasciore), in a scene which is never explained or referenced again.  The action then moves to Gotham City.  Following a meeting at Wayne Enterprises, Bruce Wayne decides that focusing on the company robs him of valuable time when he could be fighting crime as Batman.  Thus, he orders Alfred (voiced by Nolan North) to sell the company.  Back at the Batcave, Batman checks in with Robin (voiced by Scott Menville) and finds a mysterious invitation.  Following this note, Batman meets up with Nightwing (voiced by Will Friedle), Batgirl (voiced by Alyson Stoner) and Batwoman (voiced by Tara Strong), all of whom received similar notes.  They are soon challenged by Red Hood (voiced by Jason Spisak) to find bombs hidden around the city.  As if this task werenít hard enough, our heroes have no idea the Red Hood has teamed up with Two-Face (voiced by Christian Lanz) in a scheme to take over the city.

 

When something opens with a cameo from Solomon Grundy, one gets the feeling that it may be aiming for something a bit different.  However, Lego DC: Batman: Family Matters soon reveals that itís going for more of a kitchen sink approach, as we get appearances by Killer Croc (voiced by Nolan North), The Riddler (voiced by Andre Sogliuzzo), The Penguin (voiced by Tom Kenny), and The Scarecrow (voiced by Steve Blum).  As noted above, in animation, there are very few boundaries, and movies like this one take advantage of that by bringing in a slew of familiar characters.  And while most of these arenít as obscure (to non comic book fans) as Grundy and Red Hood, itís interesting to see how the movie isnít afraid to trot out this rogues gallery of villains.  And Lego DC: Batman: Family Matters also shows that it wants to keep in step with whatís hot (or else act as a commercial), as Batwoman resembles the character from the upcoming CW television series and we also get a cameo from Billy Batson (voiced by Zach Callison) AKA Shazam!.

 

Beyond this cavalcade of characters, Lego DC: Batman: Family Matters presents a somewhat interesting story.  The idea of Bruce Wayne selling Wayne Enterprises in order to be Batman full-time is certainly an intriguing notion.  Having all of the extended Bat-family working together is a nice touch.  The use of Red Hood should be especially interesting to those who arenít familiar with the character.  As stated, heís not a household name and thus the revelation of his true identity will come as a shock to the uninitiated.  The story is nicely paced and there are some good call-backs here.

 

The only drawback to Lego DC: Batman: Family Matters is that it feels somewhat watered down.  Given that this is a family movie, the approach isnít surprising, but it does hurt what could have been a knockout movie.  The Batman presented here isnít the blowhard seen in the Lego movies, but he also not the tightly-wound anti-hero portrayed in the DC animated films.  The lighter tone is a nice change compared to those somewhat dark productions, but, as with some Lego productions, things border on silly here at times, which keeps an otherwise impressive effort from getting a higher score.

 

Lego DC: Batman: Family Matters Batapults onto Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.  The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 20 Mbps.  The image is sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source materials.  The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright.  The image is never soft and the depth gives us a sort of 3D look at times.  (Although, the clarity also reveals some lacking of detail in the animation in some shots.)  The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.2 Mbps.  The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects.  The action sequences deliver impressive surround sound effects, and we can pick out individual sounds at times.  The subwoofer is present, but not as strong as in some live-action films.  The stereo effects provide detail for sounds occurring off-screen.

 

The Lego DC: Batman: Family Matters Blu-ray Disc contains no extra features.

Review Copyright 2019 by Mike Long