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 DC Comics Justice League: Cosmic Clash continues the partnership between DC's Batman, Superman, et al. with Lego toys. The emphasis on humor, character, and cultural trends in these stories helps to balance the heavy marketing that will always be attached. Lots of playful cartoon action: zaps, blasts, captures, falls, laser battles, and heroes in danger. But everything is resolved without injury -- even the villains swim away from the jeopardy (in one case, literally). Both outer space and time travel are elements in this movie, and that enables the Justice League's denizens to have fun with the galaxy, dinosaurs, pirates, and a brief foray into the future. Even though this is a lighthearted action tale, kids should be comfortable with real vs. make-believe violence. This feature is very funny, its comedy relevant to both kids and grown-ups.
What's the story?
The evil Brainiac (voiced by Phil LaMarr) wants to compress Earth into a small sphere and add it to his miniature planet collection in LEGO DC COMICS JUSTICE LEAGUE: COSMIC CLASH. Of course, that would mean the end of civilization as we know it. But Batman (Troy Baker), in charge for most of this movie, is up for the challenge. He and his trusty pals Superman (Nolan North), Wonder Woman (Grey Griffin), Cyborg (Khary Payton), Flash (James Arnold Taylor), and Green Lantern (Josh Keaton) take on the drones, explosives, and robots that the Brainiac sends their way. When the evildoer succeeds in capturing three of the heroes, Batman and the others must divide their attention between protecting Earth and finding their comrades. The search takes them to some unexpected places and times -- the Jurassic Age, the 18th century, and, finally, a dystopian future. Will Superman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman be found and restored to the present? Will the Brainiac's maniacal (and obsessive-compulsive) plan be thwarted? Will Earth be saved? Will new and streamlined toys be available online and at your local store?
Is it any good?
Surprisingly funny and inventive, this entry in the marketing behemoth's catalog of goodies is a welcome addition. The humor comes mostly from familiarity with the popular, distinctive characters, though the plot to shrink-wrap the Earth has its moments, too. And a time-travel component opens up new landscapes for the filmmakers to mine for comedy. The cave dwellers, ruled by powerful Amazonian females, and the prototypical swashbuckling pirates are particularly clever. Frequent cartoon action is never real or scary: Drones fly; worlds explode; heroes are zapped and re-zapped; villains fall and rise to fall again. Fine for everyone except the very young or very sensitive who are not yet comfortable with make-believe mayhem.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about being aware of the connection between movies like this one and the merchandise sold by the companies involved. How does your family handle the pressure to buy toys introduced in the movies you see?
Movies such as this one attempt to soften the action and danger by making the characters and events funny. Was this effort successful? Did you find yourself laughing at the most suspenseful moments?
Time travel is an important part of this film. It's enjoyable to watch characters with whom you are very familiar end up in unexpected places. Be creative: Imagine and write about an era from times past, and take one of the superheroes there.
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