Lego Justice League: Cosmic Clash
Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Cosmic Clash 2016
It’s the second month of the year and that means the second DC movie that includes Batman in it. Not only that, but it’s the second film that includes Batman fighting another hero and the first this year where he is fighting Superman. Aside from that, it’s also the fourth Lego DC movie to be released on home video after the success of DC Heroes Unite, Attack of the Legion of Doom, and Justice League vs. Bizarro League. It actually continues where Bizarro League left off where Cyborg is now a full fledged member of the team and Batman is on board with everyone but is still somewhat on the outskirts of the team. Like all the others, there’s plenty of humor and while most of it is childish, there’s enough referential humor to make things fun for adults as well.
After last year where the Lego Justice League has faced off against Darkseid and the Legion of Doom, where else can they go except for Brainiac? And to top things off they toss a little bit of Back to the Future style time travel and a bit of a rift in the Justice League involving (surprise) Batman of all people. In Lego world, Brainiac is an obsessive toy-collecting nerd analogue where he has to have all of his planets in “mint condition” and arranged in perfect alphabetical order. And when something happens to one of his planets, he has to replace it with a planet that starts with the letters “EA”. Meanwhile, the Justice League is having a bit of fun while Batman continually chides them for playing hide-and-seek rather than doing actual patrols to see if something is going wrong. While the rest of the Justice League considers themselves friends with each other, Batman is looked at as merely a co-worker or acquaintance.
What was fun about this film are the bits of referential humor, there’s a nice bit of very subtle foreshadowing right after the first big fight when Brainiac is defeated and has to return to the Brainiac homeworld. He tells Brainiacs 1.2 and 1.3 to give his damaged ship “two coats of wax, and don’t scrimp on it this time!” which seems like an obvious reference to Back to the Future, but it’s not until Brainiac returns that he sends Wonder Woman, Superman, and Green Lantern into different time periods. But instead of using a DeLorean they use a modified Batmobile that is now a time treadmill powered by the Flash who has to keep running on it or else it will suck them back into their own time period.
The time travel bits end up really being the heart of the story which is partly centered around how Batman is finally getting on board with the whole Justice League idea, but is still ultimately left out. As he travels to the different time periods to find the heroes forcibly integrated into their respective time periods, he has to use different methods to get them to realize who they really are so that the timeline will correct itself. Wonder Woman is trapped in the prehistoric era as the queen of a group of cavewomen who have been terrorized by Vandal Savage, Green Lantern is stuck as a swab boy for Pirate Captain Fear, and Superman is sent into the future to be taken over by Brainiac to help defeat the Legion of Superheroes And in each of these time periods, Batman has to make them aware of their original self in a way that helps show that he really does know more about each of them than a mere co-worker would.
Something that these films tend to do better than some of the other DC Animated fare is their inclusion and portrayal of female superheroes, and while this does include a relatively large number of them at three, they aren’t all great characters. Wonder Woman is still one of the best characters here, she has the most level head of all the Justice League. We also get a little bit of Gravity Girl who is the leader of the three members of the Legion of Superheroes that we get to see in the future. But unfortunately we’re also introduced to Supergirl who is getting her first shot at the big leagues in this Lego Justice League continuity. And while Supergirl is shown as being generally as powerful as Superman and the other members of the League, she is portrayed as a very shallow cheerleader who spends all of her screen time doing insipid cheers instead of actual dialogue.
Aside from some of the portrayals of the characters which are very much aged-down for the younger crowd, this was still a fun watch for someone my age. There was another great reference for someone who grew up in the late 80’s when it gets to the final battle with Brainiac where the members of the Justice League come together in a very Voltron inspired way. And while I haven’t mentioned my daughter nearly as often in recent years, I did watch this with my 9 year old and she generally enjoyed it, but didn’t like Brainiac as a villain. She thought he was really dumb, partly because she hadn’t seen Brainiac in any other cartoon before. And one last thing that I realized is that while there has been a fairly loose thread of continuity between these Lego Justice League movies, they completely nixed their Guy Gardner Green Lantern from two movies ago in favor of Hal Jordan without any notice or explanation, aside from the fact that he’s always been the more popular Green Lantern, at least in the executives eyes. But like the other Lego films that weren’t released in theaters, this was a fun distraction that I’m glad I had a kid in the room to enjoy it with and will likely forget about in a couple weeks time. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.