There’s a certain trend in children’s entertainment and it doesn’t really become apparent until you get older and you start looking back at all the things you enjoyed as a kid. You feel a sense of it when you rewatch something you used to love but now you feel like “it doesn’t really hold up” and you can’t put your finger on why. Well, sorry to say it but it’s because that show and your childhood sucked and the trend you’re noticing is that most adults think kids are idiots and they used to shovel crap into your TV set because they were betting on you not being able to know any better. To this day, most of children’s television is made with a nearly condescending lack of damns to give. Shoddy plots, awful acting, and a straight up abandoning of an attention to detail that is hard to describe as any other than contemptuous, save certain wonderful exceptions such as LEGO: DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League.
Like Pixar before them, Lego Animation has been garnering reputation for smart, funny, cleverly self-aware features that are a genuine joy for the young and the young at heart but unlike Pixar, Lego has an amazing array of established characters licensed from the likes of Warner Brothers and Disney to pull from, and many times from TV to films to video games, Lego handles the properties with more love and care than the original owners and often to better results. Such is the case with LEGO: DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League. The story from Warner Brothers goes like this: “Batman has joined the newly formed Justice League in order to keep tabs on Superman, a mistrust that is complicated by Superman’s clumsy – but well-meaning – clone, Bizarro. Bizarro’s creation of the Bizarro League has caused confusion amongst the world’s greatest Super Heroes, but an even greater and mysterious threat may force the Justice League and Bizarro League to band together to defeat evil.”
Featuring the epic voice talents of Nolan North as Superman and Troy Baker as Batman (two actors whose resumes are basically every video game, anime, and animated feature you’ve enjoyed in the past 25 years), LEGO: DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League excellently portrays the Man of Steel as the model nice guy idealist while still managing to be nobody’s fool; meanwhile, the Dark Knight is hyper capable to the point of absurdity and utterly badass, yet comically over-suspicious of Superman’s every action. Rounding out the rest of the cast are Diedrich Bader as Guy Gardner, Khary Payton as Cyborg, Kari Wahlgren as Wonder Woman, and the always amazing John DiMaggio as Lex Luthor. The all-star cast is complemented by the fantastic writing from Michael Jelenic who penned an earnest and amusing tale aimed at kids, which absolutely hits the mark but also engages some layered, emotionally intelligent storytelling that reverberates with older audiences. Jelenic takes a highly trope’d moral journey of learning to trust and tells it in a way that never feels over-simplistic or forced.
LEGO: DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League is animation done right. Light without being patronizing, fun without treating the audience as simpletons, LEGO: DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League laughs at itself in a way that feels earned and honest so you get in on the joke as opposed to it being on you. It’s the attention paid to crafting a great story that makes something like LEGO: DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League something that stands the test of time in the way lesser features just won’t. Whether you’re talking cars, furniture, books, or movies, it’s just a fact: well-made things stand the test of time.