A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that LEGO Batman: The Movie -- DC Superheroes Unite is a full-length animated movie, released direct to DVD, featuring the slightly humorous LEGO versions of the popular superheroes Batman, Superman, etc. The movie concentrates on thrills and fighting, with a huge Kryptonite-powered gun, and a giant (potentially scary) Joker robot, along with fighting, chasing, and explosions. The tone of the conflicts is always light and funny. The only other issue is consumerism: while there's no specific mention of toys for sale, it will be clear to kids that the entire movie is an ad for LEGO superhero toys. (The DVD even comes with a Clark Kent/Superman figure.) Still, this is a much more age-appropriate fare for superhero fans 8 and up than stuff like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
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What's the story?
When Bruce Wayne beats Lex Luthor as Gotham's "Man of the Year," it inspires Lex to cook up an evil plan to become president. This plan requires freeing the Joker from Arkham Asylum, using a Kryptonite-powered gun. The Joker takes the opportunity to also free all of Batman's other fearsome foes (Catwoman, Penguin, Bane, etc.). Batman and Robin take the case. Superman offers to help, but Batman refuses. Finally, when Luthor and the Joker begin rampaging through town in a giant Joker robot, spreading a dangerous chemical (designed to influence election results), Batman changes his mind and the Justice League swoops in to help.
Is it any good?
LEGO Batman: The Movie -- DC Superheroes Unite will entertain adults just as effortlessly as it does kids. It's funny to see the opening credits, designed, LEGO-style, to copy the opening credits for Tim Burton's Batman (1989). It even lifts parts of Danny Elfman's original Batman music score (as well as parts of John Williams' Superman score).
The movie looks great and moves well, using its 71 minutes wisely. It has time for both thrills and humor without feeling rushed or forced, and the characters are funny and likeable. The only real issue is that it takes place, more or less, within the real superhero universe, and fans may balk at the somewhat jokey treatment of their heroes. Otherwise, though the movie doesn't specifically mention toys for sale, it's hard to escape that the entire thing plays like a toy ad.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. Is it scary or over the top? Is it necessary to tell a superhero story with a lot of violence?
What does Batman learn over the course of the movie? Why is he so reluctant to reach out to others?
Does this movie make you want to own more LEGO toys? Why or why not?
Themes & Topics
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