The LEGO Batman Movie 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
2014’s THE LEGO MOVIE had no business being a good film because it was supposed to be a cheap attempt from the studio to take a known toy brand and make money off of it. But Phil Lord and Chris Miller brought us one of the funniest and most original animated films in years and ended up launching what will probably be a long running series. Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) was a scene-stealer in THE LEGO MOVIE, perfectly ripping on all of the Batman stereotypes we’ve seen over the years, so it made sense to use his character to expand the LEGO world. The filmmakers had a perfect chance to make a Batman movie without falling into all of the predictable Batman story arcs, but it wasn’t meant to be. THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE turned out to be more of a Batman film than a LEGO movie and it suffered for it.
With the events of THE LEGO MOVIE never mentioned, we jump into the world of Batman as he’s fighting every villain in the Batman universe and some that aren’t. The film plays up on his celebrity loner status and Batman is happy fighting crime and watching romantic comedies by himself. But the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) has other plans and becomes obsessed with establishing himself as Batman’s greatest villain. That leads to an attempt to get a team of super villains together (from other WB properties) to take down Batman once and for all. In order to stop them, Batman has to learn to work with his friends, including Robin (Cera), Batgirl (Dawson) and Alfred (Ralph Fiennes).
Originality was a big factor in the success of THE LEGO MOVIE and that’s severely lacking in THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE. At best, it’s trying too hard to imitate the humor and at worst, it’s not trying hard enough. But the laughs are almost completely non-existent. Instead, there’s what feels like an actual Batman movie playing out, complete with Batman’s realization that he has to learn to work together in order to overcome greater evils. It feels like we’ve seen this in at least half a dozen Batman films to date. But while other Batman films are chained to the source material, the filmmakers behind THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE could have done anything they could dream up. We needed Batman as a fish out of water, in a completely different world and in entirely new situations. Instead, they gave us Batman in a Batman universe, just with a block shaped body.
I’ve been hard on THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE, but there are a few things that work. Will Arnett is the perfect voice for Batman and he delivers a lot of lines funnier than they could have been. I’ve never seen this much action in an animated movie and it was definitely beautiful to look at. At times, they didn’t take themselves or the character too seriously and in those moments, the film works pretty well. But the positives don’t completely outweigh the negatives in most cases, making for an overall disappointing film.
I had high hopes for THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE, but I’m left feeling frustrated that the filmmakers completely missed the point of THE LEGO MOVIE. I like Batman as much as the next guy, but I didn’t show up to this film wanting another Batman movie. I was excited to see what they were going to do with Batman in the world of LEGOs and we never even got to see that world. THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE should have been much better than it ended up.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: Animated movies traditionally look great on 4K and THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE is no exception. The colors are bright and vibrant and since this is such a colorful film, everything looks a little sharper and more intense on 4K. But like most recent animated films, the Blu-ray version is also very nice, so it might be tough to notice that much of an upgrade. I find with animated films the additions come with the HDR and the color depth much more so than with the added detail. But visually speaking, there’s nothing to complain about with this video transfer.
Audio: The Dolby Atmos track (also found on the Blu-ray) booms throughout and really makes use of the surround channels.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
The 4K UHD does not contain any exclusive features, but it does come with a Blu-ray of the film, which includes the following special features:
Commentary with Chris McKay and crew: I say “crew”, because there are a lot of people from the crew in the room and they don’t take the time to introduce themselves when they start talking. There’s a lot of great information and it’s a somewhat fun commentary, but there are too many people talking.
Featurettes (30:32): Six featurettes in total, making up what would have been better as one long making-of featurette. These are actually pretty good and we get a lot of scenes that weren’t in the film (although I’m not sure that was intentional) sprinkled throughout. The downside to having so many separate featurettes is that there’s a lot of repeat material.
Deleted Scenes (7:00): Four scenes ranging from barely more than a storyboard to almost completely finished.
Animated Shorts (7:30): Four different animated shorts that are by far and away the best supplement on the disc. These are pretty funny and are only loosely related to the film.