Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 17, 2019)
Although the Lego franchise seems to have sputtered as a theatrical endeavor, the direct-to-video market remains strong. This brings us another release via 2019ís Lego Batman: Family Matters.
Batman (voiced by Troy Baker) and other heroes receive perplexing notes. These come from Red Hood (Jason Spisak), a mysterious villain determined to harm Batman and the rest.
As we see these complications, we flash back to learn Red Hoodís origins. In addition, another menace emerges from Brother Eye (Cam Clarke), a new villain in Gotham.
In general, Iíve been less than enamored by the various big-screen Lego movies. All offer decent entertainment, but I donít think any rise above the level of ďpretty goodĒ.
To my surprise, the TV-based or direct-to-video Lego tales worked better for me Ė some of them, at least. For instance, efforts like the Star Wars Lego projects turned into fun, amusing programs.
I hoped Matters would follow that path, but unfortunately, it offers a disappointment. Though not a stinker, the movie lacks much creativity or wit.
Honestly, I canít figure out what goals the filmmakers hoped to achieve with Matters. Maybe since the live-action DC TV series have opened up to the broader ďBat familyĒ, someone figured we needed a Lego tale to spread those characters to kids, too?
I donít know the motive, but I do know Matters brings a fairly erratic narrative that fails to move in a particularly coherent manner. It flits from one scenario and character to another without much to hold it together, so it mainly meanders along as it goes.
To my surprise, Matters attempts less of the usual winking wit found in other Lego projects. Perhaps I should applaud the movieís slightly more dramatic nature, but instead, it feels like a bad choice.
Make no mistake: Matters still offers plenty of the usual kind of comedy, so this doesnít become a Chris Nolan take on the Lego universe. It just features fewer jokes than usual.
Which might be a good thing given how few of the existing gags actually amuse. Most follow obvious paths and fail to deliver anything creative or witty.
None of the actors do much with their roles. Baker creates an odd take on Batman/Bruce, as he seems to channel J. Peterman from Seinfeld. Itís not an effective version of the role, and none of the others seem memorable either.
Not that Iím sure a more vibrant cast would save Family Matters. A dull Lego tale, the movie disappoints.