It’s been awhile since I felt excited about a Batman movie. My opinions on Batman v Superman are well-covered on this site, Killing Joke showed that even the normally amazing animation arm of DC could lay an absolute stinker, and we haven’t had a solid cartoon with just Batman in years. Then, the trailer for The LEGO Batman movie launched, and saying that I was excited would be an understatement. While the entirety of the LEGO Movie was pretty awesome, Batman was a highlight throughout. Let’s watch the trailer again just to get pumped…
I actually missed that this trailer came out a few weeks back, and it has a few new mixes. The whole thing is worth it just for the bit between the Joker and Batman, and talking about Superman. I was going to see this movie anyway, but now I’ll have to see it more than once just for that. Anyway, LEGO was kind enough to send us three of the LEGO Batman movie sets for review: 70905 That Batmobile, 70906 The Joker Notorious Lowrider, and 70909 Batcave Break-In. I reviewed the last version of the Batmobile, from Batman v Superman (which I liked 400% more than the movie itself), but let’s just say that this thing is a whole different beast.
The LEGO Batman Movie looks like a bottomless pit of potential sets, I mean, how can you watch that trailer and not want a Bat-Kayak, and they’re starting off strong by throwing the most iconic vehicle in… well, honestly, probably all comics (and you could argue, all movies and TV, I think). This beast weighs in at $59.99 in the US, and 581 pieces… and looks like an unholy fusion of Batman ’66, Batman ’89, and all of the snark of LEGO Batman rolled into one glorious package.
I think I like the song from the SDCC trailer a bit more, but it’s hard to argue with putting Starship into everything. I’d also comment that this set felt really weird when I looked at the part count… it didn’t really seem like a set that would have 581 pieces. Next to the Joker Lowrider, it feels in scale, but that set is bit smaller (take off the wheels from both and they’re not all that different) and has a lot fewer parts. Once I build it, I got a lot of why it felt off, though, because there are just a lot of small parts like cheese slopes and 1×1 studs in the mix that pad the count.
For minifigures, we get five figures for our playing enjoyment: Robin and Batman (the only set thus far that includes Robin), Man-Bat, and the Kabuki Twins. We haven’t seen all of what the movie will offer us for villains (though the trailer has featured a lot of them for a couple of seconds), but it seems like LEGO is going to dredge up everyone from Batman’s Rogue Gallery. That, honestly, is just a great thing, and the best thing they can do with Batman. The only other Superhero that has the bench depth of bad guys Batman does is Spider-Man, and there’s slightly more than zero chance we’ll see him in a LEGO Movie anytime soon.
The SDCC trailer dropped the first surprise on us for the movie, and that was Bruce Wayne’s “adopted son” Dick Grayson, apparently brought into Wayne Mansion thanks to a sarcastic joke. That whole Alfred line of “take care of your son” from the first trailer set exactly how this particular movie was going to go, and it was going to be glorious.
I find it a bit funny how this movie, which is obviously going to spend as much time as it can poking fun at Batman and the myth and lore of the hero, is going to be more loyal to the source material than the huge-budget live-action blockbusters we get. I mean, we get the joke about his aversion to pants, but its a joke that works because every Batman fan ever has made the same joke. The fusion of the classic ’66 series and more modern stuff also works wonderfully on the character.
I really look forward to the chance to get more versions of the character, like the Dick Grayson version that’s coming up in the Collectible Minifigure line and a version that’s in the upcoming set The Scutter that has a him in a lovely blue leisure suit. This particular version will show up in several more sets next year as well.
Batman is Batman, and the suit is very much a comic / ’89 Batman style that we saw in the LEGO movie. Unlike the LEGO movie figure, this version introduces the new utility belt part, perhaps the most “why hasn’t this always been a part” part ever made. Otherwise, it’s very similar to the one we got in the Batman & Angry Kitty set back with the LEGO movie, only more abs now and the belt is a part.
I need to make a closer comparison, but it seems like the versions of Batman I’ve gotten in the sets thus far all feature slightly different heads or combinations of face printings. The mouth printing is in the LEGO movie style of animated mouths, much like we got with Emmet and Benny, at least on this side, and the headband has the printed eye sections over the black band (which I prefer over the more standard white… in my Super Heroes displays, I use the LEGO Movie Batman).
The other side features a more standard face, which we can pretend is the LEGO Dimensions Batman. It was established in the opening cut-scene in Cloud Cuckoo Land the Video Game version is distinct from the Movie version. Still, the eye printing is better with these, and I love that belt goes around to both sides. And that I put it on correctly when I was taking pictures.
Man-Bat gets included in the set, and thus far, has the dubious honor of being the only figure in this entire theme that can be purchased in something else. It’s the same version that came in 2014’s 76011 Batman: Man-Bat Attack. Not my favorite set, I think I owned it for a year before I got around to building it, and it was mostly because I wanted Nightwing. He’s not a bad villain, just a weird one, and he was better in the animated shows… but this version is just goofy looking.
He seems more like a muppet here than an actual villain. I’m not a fan of the arms that make him a “and boy are my arms tired” punchline, and kind of wish they would have come up with a better solution. They could have easily used the soft plastic that Batgirl got for her wings in the DC Girls set and looped them around his arms like storm, but instead, we get the one piece version that really limits what you can do with the figure. Maybe I’m just wishing that they’d make arms that went at that weird angle without the wings, who knows.
Last up for our figures are the Kabuki twins, which may be the most obscure of the villains we’ve seen. I mean, sure, we make fun of stuff like Calendar Man and Eraserhead, but they’ve all appeared across a few different things. They’re minor background characters that are mostly remembered for their absurdity, but the Kabuki Twins were only in The Batman, and only in a few episodes (as well as one comic book adaptation for it). They were henchmen of the Penguin through logic that it’s best not to think about and haven’t been in anything since 2005.
All of that being said, there are a lot of potential applications for the torsos and legs as both ninjas or super hero torsos. There’s always a shortage of female torsos that aren’t specific to a certain character, so it’s nice to get these. Even nicer that they’re all colored and don’t have the fleshy printing that tends to make a lot of others unsuitable for custom minis.
Of course, I’ll admit that Robin’s “gun” has got to be my favorite part in the entire set. The Spaceballs-esque joke mixed with the fact that Batman labels everything in the Batcave just make this a wonderful little feature. At least the branding makes sense for the LEGO universe Batman… he’s got to pay for all those outfits somehow.
The set’s called the Batmobile, but apparently Batman has gone with “The Speedster” on the side. We see in the trailer that there are dozens of vehicles in the Batcave (and I need enough set releases to make them all… that’d be one heck of a display), so I guess it makes sense on the variations. It’s at the same time the least and most Batman vehicle we’ve ever gotten.
At first glance, it doesn’t look at all like a Batman vehicle unless you see the stickers. However, if you’ve seen the LEGO Movie’s version of Batman, you know that this car suits him perfectly. It actually has a feel for both the Keaton Batmobile, which took inspiration to the Salt-Flat racers from the 30s. This is designed like a hot rod mixed with a rocket, and the only question I really have is how is the sound system?
There’s a stickered license plate on this, which makes me wonder if the Batmobile is actually a registered vehicle in the LEGO universe (given what we’ve seen in the trailer, it’s like they’re taking the ’66 Batman stance of “he’s an officer of the law” instead of a vigilante). The back has a small and strange function part which makes you wonder what it is while you’re building. At first, it seems like a launcher for something, but the stud-launchers sit too far away for it to interact with it.
It’s not apparent until the next-to-last bag that it’s there to launch the top of the canopy off. It’s actually pretty effective, and my daughter loves it. So, we now know that this version of the Batmobile has an ejection system but no seat belts. I’m going to assume because one looks cool and the other does not. That and everyone in the LEGO universe not named Vitruvius is actually invincible.
There’s something just fun about building this vehicle, stickers and all. It’s an absolutely solid vehicle, for one, and fun to roll. The size, in any other context, would be absurd, but for this movie it just works. Part of it is that it’s not trying to get a movie or cartoon into LEGO scale, since it works the other way around here.
The interior is designed to seat both Batman and Robin though it takes some positioning to get them in there. Arms up and capes to the side, but it can be done. I found it was easier to seat them if you removed the side panels first, but these things aren’t built for adult hands. You can see the technic fin part that pops the top canopy off, and you can pick up the windscreen easily as so you’re not mangling even tiny fingers to get the minifigs in there.
One of the odd things when you’re first building the set is that you run hinges the middle of Technic arms , which seems like an axle at first. They just sit so tight that they won’t roll easily, and it doesn’t become clear until you’re working on the last two bags that there’s a whole lot more to the wheels. They’re designed with some real play absurdity in mind, and you see bits of that in the trailer. They can be raised up, like you see here to make a more monster truck feel…
Or swing to the side so the entire thing can run sideways in what I assume will be a parallel parking joke. This isn’t just an unnatural position of the wheels that are allowed by the design, it shows the vehicle in this exact configuration in the instruction book. I’m curious how it’s going to work out with the wheels like that.
I’m going to use the same measuring stick for these that I did the LEGO Movie. When that was first released, I was very tentative about it. LEGO’s animation before the movie was iffy at best, and the sets, at least at first, didn’t seem to play into what we thought of the toy at the time. Of course, the movie was awesome, and when we at FBTB started to build the sets, they all served to get us excited for the movie. Can the Batmobile do the same for the upcoming movie?
Well, I watched the trailer about five times while I was typing this, I watched the LEGO Movie with my daughter twice while building these sets, and I even threw in Batman ’66 while working on the Batcave. That seems like a success in my book. Even though it seems a bit light for a $60 set (thanks to the abundance of some small parts), it’s still just a rock solid build that’s fun to play with and display. This is a five out of five in my book, and I’m already trying to work it into my super heroes display.
What I Liked
- A rock solid set that (obviously) matches the one we see in the trailer quite well
- It’s just fun to play with the wheels and move this Batmobile around
- Utility Belt is way overdue, Robin is a great addition, and the Kabuki twins are obscure and generic
What I Didn’t Like
- A lot of stickers in this set (and all of the LEGO Batman Movie sets)
- Some spots on the side feel sort of forgotten, like the part budget ran out before they could be finished
- Man-Bat is a weak addition and gets no changes for the movie, unlike every other character