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Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice
League: Attack of the Legion of Doom! (2015)
Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 8/25/2015
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 8/5/2015
In my recent review for Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem, I wrote about merchandising and how pop-culture turned from toys based on TV shows to TV shows based on toys. For some of these shows, the marketing isn't as obvious -- the viewer may not be aware that there is a toy involved. But, Lego really can't hide, can they? I would have to guess that most people are well aware of the fact that Lego is one of the most prolific and popular line of toys in the world. They may also be aware that, for some reason, Lego has come to dominate pop-culture as well. As if the success ofThe Lego Movie wasn't enough of an indicator, Lego has their hands in many brands, including Star Wars, Marvel Comics, and DC Comics. In fact, the latest release is Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom!.
Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom! opens with a montage showing how the super heroes always win over the super villains. Lex Luthor (voiced by John DiMaggio) has grown quite sick of this, so he decides to form a "Legion of Doom", along with Black Manta, Captain Cold, Gorilla Grodd (all voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson) and Sinestro (voiced by Mark Hamill). This evil group opens their region of terror by attack Area 52. So, the Justice League -- Batman (voiced by Troy Baker), Superman (voiced by Nolan North), Wonder Woman (voiced by Grey Griffin), Green Lantern (voiced by Josh Keaton), The Flash (voiced by James Arnold Taylor), and Cyborg (voiced by Khary Payton) -- must leap into action. Luthor then puts his plan into place, sabotaging the Justice League and turning the public against them. Can the super heroes save the day?
Over a decade ago, Lego approved the creation of movies based on their Bionicle line. Somewhere along the way, someone had the idea to bring licensed characters into the fold (I believe Star Wars was first), but instead of having the stories reflect the serious nature of their source material, these projects were decidedly goofy. I don't mean that they were watered down for kids (which they were). I mean that the features leaned much farther to comedy than to action/adventure. (I remember being surprised by how much I laughed atLego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out.)
This approach certainly continues with Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom!. And as if I weren't already an admirer of these wacky movies, which a character asked for clarification on how Lex Luthor's last name is pronounced, I was thoroughly impressed. We've got The Flash and Green Lantern vying for Wonder Woman's attention in a non-stop series of jokes. In a clever nod to how the Lego bricks are put together in real life, Cyborg keeps removing his head in order to make improvements to his arsenal. A second set of villains (including The Joker) arrives to audition for the Legion of Doom, but Luthor gets rid of them in a comedic manner when he's intimidated by them. I can't say that this is a laugh-a-minute piece, but it is decidedly humorous.
The main story, however, is a bit too predictable. While the opening is clearly meant to be a homage to Super Friends, it also feels like it was lifted from it. There is meant to be a bit of mystery in the middle, but we know all along what it going on, and the resolution is all neat and tidy. Having said that, I did like the range of characters offered here (it's always good to see Black Manta getting work), and the story, while watered down, could have easily played in a more serious and mature Justice League tale.
It would be very easy to accuse DC and Lego as using these movies as a way to sell comics and toys. But, too much work goes into them to make a broad accusation like that. The animation is often clever, and it's great how everything in this universe is made of Lego (and how easily things can fall apart). The writing is crisp and the weird energy helps to keep things light and well-paced. Too often, fans don't like to see their favorite characters lampooned in any way, but the portrayal of the Justice League here is the perfect blend of irreverence and respect.
Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom! brings back the Lego cats on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 20 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look excellent and the image is never overly dark or bright. The depth is very impressive, as is the level of detail. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are nicely done, as they show good separation. The surround sound effects really kick in during the action sequences, as does the subwoofer, which has presence, but doesn't overpower. The bottom line is that we can hear most every Lego piece hit the ground when something breaks.
The Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom! Blu-ray Disc contains only one extra. "Click, Zap, Boom! Creating the Sound Design" (20 minutes) has Director Brandon Vietti, Sound Designer Rob McIntyre, Foley Mixer Aran Tanchum, Foley Artist Vincent Guisetti explaining how all sounds must be added to animated movies and then demonstrating how these sounds are captured and mixed.
Review Copyright 2015 by Mike Long