Tuesday, February 10, 2015

'Justice League vs. Bizarro League' LEGO film review

The newest animated LEGO film set in the DC Comics Universe had me and my girlfriend cracking up.

"Justice League vs. Bizarro League" is a light-hearted, send-up of DC's premiere superhero group.

Much like the previous Batman LEGO movie (in which the Justice League had a special appearance), everything is done for laughs and the writers make sure the kid-friendly fare pokes fun at the heroes.

And there are plenty of Justice Leaguers to be targeted. The main group consists of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and the Guy Gardner version of Green Lantern. But in the opening sequence are Green Arrow (with a hood and several days of scruff worthy of Stephen Amell's archer in "Arrow"), The Flash, Hawkman and even Plastic Man.

Fans see plenty of villains beside the Bizarro versions of the main heroes. The Justice League takes on Giganta who attacks Metropolis in the opening sequence, which also features the Penguin, Joker, Deathstroke, Captain Cold and Lex Luthor. There is more than enough character schtick to go around. Batman has ongoing trust issues with Superman, whom he dubs "The Alien." The Man of Steel (or is that the Man of LEGOs or the LEGO Man of Steel?!?) has the best of intentions, but is pretty much a clueless knucklehead.

Aside from DC's Big Two, Wonder Woman delivers as many cheeky Greek-related exclamations as she did in the just as corny "Super Friends" cartoons. Even better, Wonder Woman constantly face-plants on Bizarro World and her backward counterpart is fascinated with her gorgeous hair. Guy Gardner's ring only manages to create chickens on Bizarro World — and his Bizarro equivalent is a scaredy cat who uses his ring to produce a teddy bear to comfort him. Being the "rookie" Justice Leaguer, Cyborg is just geeked to be on the same team as legendary superheroes, especially Batman. The funnier schtick is when Victor Stone's arm continually falls off when he's in Bizarro World.

The producers make it clear that anything that happens to the characters plays by LEGO rules. That means during the Metropolis fight with Giganta, the oversized woman's red hair jumps when she's hit, destroyed vehicles shatter into many LEGO pieces and funniest of all, the Bizarro Batman must spin his head around because it won't stay straight.

As many DC fans should know, Bizarro rules means it's a world of opposites. While Superman corrects himself to tell Bizarro not to follow him (to get the warped version of Superman to leave Earth and go to his new home, Bizarro World) and on that backwards world, the Bizarro Cyborg actually repairs Batman's new ship when he says he's going to wreck it, the rule of opposites isn't always in effect. That's especially the case with the dialogue spoken by the Justice League members and Bizarro Superman who tells the real thing all he wants to do is help. In fact, they should be saying the opposite of what they mean, but I have to assume the writers thought that might be too confusing.

My girlfriend, Liz Truxell, and I cracked up throughout the movie. In fact, I think there were bigger laughs from her, although I had my fair share of belly laughs. Our favorite moment is Superman's immediate yet surprisingly response to Batman opening his "just in case" box in the Hall of Justice. (To say anything else would ruin it for you!)

Liz enjoyed the film so much I asked her when I should expect her review. Grade: A-

The bonus materials are just as entertaining as the main feature. The blooper reel is short, but a whole lot of fun. Much like the outtakes from the "Toy Story" films, the creative team obviously created these outtakes just to get some laughs. In the first few scenes, Robin plays tricks on characters to create some fun-filled chaos. The funniest bit is when Aquaman is perplexed about what's wrong when uses his mind to call sea creatures. Grade: B+

"LEGO DC Comics: Batman: Beleagured" TV Special: This is every bit as hysterical and enjoyable as the main film.

The story centers around Batman who repeatedly has various items and characters disappear unexpectedly on various cases, which in turn, grudgingly forces him to enlist the help of other members of the Justice League. Since the Caped Crusader wants nothing to do with joining the team, Batman is frustrated he has to ask for anybody's assistance — something he makes quite clear to Superman as he takes down the Penguin and Joker in the beginning sequence. Grade: A

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