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Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Batman - Family Matters

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes - Batman: Family Matters
Studio: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Format: Available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD
Home Video Release Date: Digital, Blu-ray, DVD - August 6, 2019

Synopsis: Suspicion is on high after Batman, Batgirl, Robin and other Super Heroes receive mysterious invitations. However, family values must remain strong when Batman and his team encounter the villainous Red Hood, who is obsessed with destroying the Bat-family and all of Gotham City.

Troy Baker (Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman: Arkham Origins), Alyson Stoner (Phineas and Ferb) and Scott Menville (Teen Titans, Teen Titans Go!) lead the cast as the voices of Batman, Batgirl and Robin. Jason Spisak (Young Justice) heads the rogues’ gallery as the voice of Red Hood (and Jason Todd). Also along for the fun are actors Steve Blum (Cowboy Bebop, Star Wars Rebels) as Scarecrow, Zach Callison (Steven Universe) as Billy Batson, Cam Clarke (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as Brother Eye & Bat Computer, Will Friedle (Boy Meets World, Kim Possible) as Nightwing, Ralph Garman (Family Guy) as Wizard, Jake Green (The Boss Baby: Back in Business) as Fred, Josh Keaton (The Spectacular Spider-Man) as Board Member, Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) as Gordon & Penguin, Christian Lanz (Elena of Avalor) as Two-Face/Harvey Dent, Nolan North (Young Justice) as Alfred & Killer Croc, Andre Sogliuzza (American Dad!) as Riddler, Tara Strong (Batman: The Animated Series, Teen Titans, Teen Titans Go!) as Batwoman and Fred Tatasciore (DC Super Hero Girls) as Solomon Grundy.

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes - Batman: Family Matters is produced by Rick Morales (LEGO Scooby-Doo!: Haunted Hollywood) and directed by Matt Peters (LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Aquaman – Rage of Atlantis) from a script by Jeremy Adams (LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash). Jim Krieg is co-producer. Executive producer is Michael Uslan. Sam Register and Jason Cosler & Jill Wilfert are executive producers.

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes - Batman: Family Matters Review
Written by Andrei Logigan, Edited by James Harvey

Batman comes back into focus for this installment of the direct-to-video Lego DC Comics Super Heroes - Batman: Family Matters, and here we get a deeper look at how he juggles his dual identity. And, as the title implies, the story also features other members of the Bat-Family, including Robin (Damian), Nightwing, Batgirl and Batwoman. Also playing a big role is Red Hood (voiced by Jason Spisak), who is probably the highlight of the movie and even kind of over-shadows the likes of Two-Face and OMAC, not to mention all the other minor rogues who pop up throughout the movie.

This fun animated feature offers some neat insight into Bruce Wayne's life and just how much being Batman means to him. He's bored as Bruce, having to sit through tedious board meetings and executives duties at his company and, ultimately, decides to quit being Bruce altogether - he'll only be Batman and focus solely on his war on crime. He also sells Wayne Enterprises after learning of the new revolutionary Brother Eye artificial intelligence connected to most of the city's systems, which uses OMAC drones to do people's work for them. But it should come as no surprise that this AI system eventually becomes a major threat for the Bat-Family. Nightwing himself even points this out once things take a turn for the worse, in a rather meta comment.

The mysterious Red Hood makes his debut by luring the Bat-Family into a trap and sending them on a search for bombs he planted throughout the city. Each device is also protected by other various Batman foes, such as Scarecrow, Penguin or Riddler, so there are a few more quick but entertaining action scenes to be found here. Again, not much of a surprise that as the story plays out, Red Hood's true background is revealed and ultimately ends up being sort of an anti-hero and ally to Batman.

As for Red Hood's origin, it's a more kid-friendly take on his story from the comics, but that doesn't diminish the character. His sanatized and hilarious fall-out with Batman here works well enough. As usual, spoilers will be kept as light as possible, but it's a funny character beat that should result in some laughs. This does all lead to a surprisingly emotional moment between Red Hood and Batman.

Two-Face also plays a hefty role in the movie, which again, won't be spoiled, but it's an interesting spin on the dynamic between Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne. Between this and the relatively recent Batman vs. Two-Face animated movie from 2017, it's nice seeing variations on the Bruce and Harvey dynamic. Granted this version is also a mainly comedic take, with Two-Face's two personalities arguing back and forth, but there's some solid pathos. Not on par with Batman: The Animated Series or other projects throughout the years, but it works well enough. His motivation here is that he wants to prove he's the best villain in Gotham, while also showing the world Harvey is better than Bruce, claiming the latter didn't really use his resources to help the city.

Some of the most amusing bits in the movie focus on Batman's attempts at tricking Two-Face and Brother Eye into believing he and Bruce are two different people. Using some clever methods and gadgets, talking to and arguing with himself, it results in some pretty comedic beats that really land because they're rooted in real character development. The Brother Eye plot is also pretty exciting for the most part, resulting in some solid action scenes, though those do tend to drag a little. The Bat-Family does a decent job against them, using some nice vehicles (this is a LEGO movie, after all). The movie also doesn't let the OMAC threat get in the way of the personal conflict between Batman, Red Hood and Two-Face.

Also present for a couple of scenes is Billy Batson (voiced by Zach Callison, who also voiced the character in a couple of other DC direct-to-video animated movies), an orphan who pops to assist Batman in one of his missions and helps him to see the consequences of Bruce's absence in Gotham. As most comics fans know (and possibly even more people, with the release of a certain live-action movie), Billy's alter-ego is none other than Shazam (or Captain Marvel if one prefers the classic name, though don't confuse him with the Marvel character of the same name). I was expecting Shazam to actually show up in the movie, seeing as how many of these Lego features have brought in other heroes for minor side-stories, but at the same time I guess his inclusion would have felt a little odd in a story focusing on the Bat-Family. Besides, the movie's ending does tease his future life as a super-hero, so hopefully this line of movies will continue and the next entry will feature the Big Red Cheese in all of his glory. He's another character that would fit well in the world of LEGO animated features.

In terms of the release itself, the Blu-ray features a solid audio and video transfer. There is the odd color-banding and macroblocking here and there, but nothing distracting or noteworthy. Unfortunately, there are no special features on the disc, though the physical release is packaged with the Lego Batmobile toy and, frankly, it's pretty awesome.

Overall, Lego DC Comics Super Heroes - Batman: Family Matters does a solid job of depicting Batman's obsession with crime-fighting, and how it makes him neglect the persons and things he loves. Amazingly, a lot of this is done tongue-in-cheek, and yet it still works (which goes to show how Batman is one character that can basically fit into any scenario). It's something that is explored in most Batman projects, and each one tends to go in a different direction. This one makes the best out of it, though, and nicely balances between all the comedy and drama without barely losing a step. Batman's journey here gets a good enough conclusion, with him realizing that family indeed matters. And if that isn't enough, there's plenty of neat action scenes spread throughout to keep viewers entertained. Recommended!


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Lego DC Comics Super Heroes - Batman: Family Matters is available to own on DVD, Blu-ray and for Digital Download from from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.