When Bruce Wayne receives the man of the year award, fellow billionaire Lex Luthor becomes jealous and decides to run for President. To create the atmosphere for his type of fear-based politics Lex recruits the Joker to perfect a Black LEGO Destructor Ray which wreaks havoc on Gotham. As Lex destroys Batman's tech, Batman reluctantly turns to Superman for help.
There's something inherently silly--that's silly in a good way--about watching Lego characters in superhero getups flying around in cool Lego vehicles in a Lego world. That's what we get in LEGO Batman: The Movie--DC Superheroes Unite, and the results are thoroughly charming. In this 71-minute feature, the brooding, mistrustful Batman and the ever-sunny Superman join forces to repel a threat from their respective arch-nemeses, the Joker and Lex Luthor, who have a nasty disintegrator machine, fueled by kryptonite, with which they plan to take over Gotham City (and, by the way, become president, although which of the two would be top dog is very much in dispute). But this ain't exactly The Dark Knight Rises or Man of Steel; for one thing, these characters, good guys or bad, are irresistibly cute--especially when they're running on their stubby Lego legs. That doesn't mean director Jon Burton's film isn't exciting. It is. It's also a lot of fun, with hilarious voice acting, a funny script filled with gags to appeal to kids and adults alike, and appearances by a host of Marvel villains (the Penguin, the Riddler, Two-Face, Catwoman) and DC heroes (Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern). Best of all is the look of the movie--bright, colorful, beautifully rendered (depictions of water and light are especially good), with brilliant backgrounds. Add to that some very familiar music from the Batman (by Danny Elfman) and Superman (by John Williams) live action features, some nice bonus material (including three DC cartoons and a behind-the-scenes look at the animation process), a package that includes DVD, Blu-ray, and access to an UltraViolet digital version, and you have a package that's simply irresistible. --Sam Graham