*Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-Ray I reviewed in this post. The opinions I share are my own.*
Batman has faced some mighty adversaries in the previous five LEGO DC Super Heroes movies, but he still might not be prepared for his next challenge: a vacation with Nightwing and Batgirl. Yes, after saving the world numerous times, the Justice League decide to cover for Batman in Gotham City, while his protegés take him on a trip down memory lane on the anniversary of the day he became Batman in this new release from Warner Bros. Animation, LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes – Justice League: Gotham City Breakout.
Neither part of the plan goes well and soon Batman (Troy Baker), Nightwing (Will Friedle) and Batgirl (Sarah Hyland) get swept up in a conspiracy led by super villains Bane (Eric Bauza) and Deathstroke (John DiMaggio) while Superman (Nolan North), Cyborg (Khary Payton), and Wonder Woman (Grey Griffin) lose all control of Gotham after the titular breakout at Gotham’s Arkham Asylum occurs.
Gotham City Breakout has one of the most stacked lists of voice talent from any of the Warner Bros. DC Comics animated films, but that’s not enough to keep this disappointing film from missing the mark. Since the movie is split into two storylines – Batman and his team visiting an old mentor, Madame Mantis (Amy Hill), and Superman and his team defending Gotham, the action jumps back and forth and neither side finds a groove.
Batman’s story with Madame Mantis that intertwines with Deathstroke and Bane is continually gets more and more bizarre, climaxing in the middle of the earth with neon green Oompa-Loompa look-alikes called Trogowogs under the sway of Bane. It’s beyond goofy and lacks the usual creative LEGO charm.
Meanwhile, Superman proves how hard it is to be Batman by fighting his Rogues Gallery of escaped villains like the most inept hero of all time. The story line starts out with a cute mentor relationship between Superman and Cyborg, but then escalates into numerous other heroes all being just terrible at their jobs while trying to help Superman save Gotham – except for Robin (Scott Menville) who was sidelined by Supes in favor of doing homework.
While the story and humor was sorely disappointing, the sheer number of DC Comics characters in LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes – Justice League: Gotham City Breakout is enough to add some fun for kids and hardcore fans. The voice talent all do fine work with the material given – Modern Family‘s Sarah Hyland was a surprisingly good choice for Batgirl – and there’s even appearances by the rest of Cyborg’s Teen Titans friends – all voiced by their original actors from Teen Titans Go! – with the exception of Raven, who is absent, even though her voice actress Tara Strong does appear as Harley Quinn.
The picture and animation are all extremely high quality. This film looks great in HD and the all the environments are brimming with color and impressively rendered detail, from the lighting, shadows, and all those tiny LEGO bits and pieces.
The special features are basically non-existent on this release, which also adds to the overall lack of direction for this release. The set does come with the Blu-Ray, a DVD and most importantly an Ultra Violet digital download, which is always a welcome addition. The deluxe edition also comes with a really cool LEGO Nightwing with blue sticks (seen in the packaging below) but that’s not enough to make up for the fact the disc itself just has the movie and two trailers for other Warner Bros. Animation offerings.
Very young kids may have some fun with endless line of characters parading in and out and the slapstick humor of Madame Mantis and Superman’s buffoonery, but LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes – Justice League: Gotham City Breakout is the weakest of the LEGO film releases thus far and will probably fall flat for slightly older kids and their parents.
Available on Digital HD and on DVD and Blu-ray 7/12.
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A solid premise and large DC Comics cast of characters and talented voice actors are squandered with a story that lacks the LEGO charm and creativity - trading those in for bright colors, cameos galore, and silly pratfall humor. The complete lack of any real special features leaves this release as a weak outing for both kids and adults.