LEGO DC Batman: Family Matters
LEGO DC Batman: Family Matters 2019
It’s time for yet another LEGO DC animated feature and it pretty much follows the same overall formula with the typical LEGO style humor focused on the different DC characters. This also loosely follows a variation on the Bat family plot involving many different Bat-family characters including three of the four main Robins (Tim Drake always seems to get left in the cold in these animated movies). And for a change of pace it actually takes a bit of a look at not just the exploits of Batman, but also the importance of Bruce Wayne and his position of wealth and power within the context of Gotham City. Not exactly something that you would expect in a LEGO movie though it definitely keeps the irreverence to keep things light and not overly deep.
There’s a pretty big cast of characters here and while most of the voice cast is pretty typical: Troy Baker returns as Batman and Will Friedle is Nightwing. But it was a little odd having Scott Menville voice Damian Wayne as he usually voices the younger version of Dick Greyson in Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go! While Damian Wayne is usually a more mature and violent version of Robin rather than what Menville usually plays Robin as. It does make the whole thing feel a little along the lines of Go which does mesh with some of the LEGO style humor throughout the movie. Along with Nightwing and Damian Wayne, there’s also Batgirl and Batwoman although neither one gets much character development. Batgirl spends most of her screen time being mad at Nightwing for not responding to a text in a timely manner. Meanwhile Batwoman doesn’t have much personality at all and just fights.
One of the more interesting things about this movie is how it treats Batman and Bruce Wayne and their character development. Bruce Wayne is overly bored by his businessman persona and just wants to spend his time as Batman fighting crime. And although it’s presented early on in a very childlike way: he thinks the meetings are boring and fighting crime is fun, it ends with several characters pointing out how much good he actually does as Bruce Wayne: the businessman that he can’t do as Batman. There’s also a bit of world building as Billy Batson is the character who points at least a part of this message out to him and right at the end we get to see him about to become Shazam.
This also introduces the concept of Brother Eye and the OMACs although they were also simplified down to the bare minimum. Brother Eye basically becomes a jealous version of HAL 9000 and the OMACs aren’t assimilated people, they’re just robots. Another fun aspect of this is the use of both Red Hood and Two-Face as the villains for most of the movie. Two-Face is presented here much more like a version of dissassociative identity disorder where each half of his face is a completely separate personality. The animation even accentuates this as only half of his mouth moves when he’s speaking as only one side of his personality. Red Hood, like Brother Eye, is a much more toned down version of his character. He starts out appearing like a villain, but it’s ultimately revealed that his plan wasn’t actually dangerous and he just wanted Batman to see how important Bruce Wayne was to Gotham City before joining up with the rest of the Bat-family to eventually fight Two-Face.
The animation overall is pretty similar to the direct to home video LEGO animated movies. There isn’t the extreme attention to detail like there is in the theatrical LEGO movies where absolutely everything on screen is represented by an actual LEGO piece complete with CGI fingerprints and smudges on them. Instead, it’s a much cleaner version of LEGO blocks and plenty of cheats when it comes to water and explosion effects. It looked nice as usual and it fit with the less serious and simplified version of the story and comedy. All in all, it was still a lot of fun, and while there was some depth in places nearly everything else was simplified down to the bare bones. Fun to watch, but nothing too serious. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.