Lego DC Comics Superheroes DVD Movies: How To Do A Shared Universe

SweetShop209

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So, with the line of Lego DC Comics Superheroes DVD Movies having been released since 2014, I feel confident in saying that it's a good way to go about crafting a shared universe. Let me explain through a few points:

1. Target audience: One thing that I think helps with the fact the people who make these movies know that target audience is kids and that they're meant to promote toys. As such, they start with a slow buildup, with the half hour special Lego Batman Beleaguered and the 47 minute special Lego DC Comics Superheroes: Justice League Vs Bizarro League before eventually moving into movies that are 77-80 minutes long starting with Attack Of The Legion Of Doom. They don't rush into the world building, instead focusing on more of a slow build. Speaking of Attack Of The Legion Of Doom, that movie marked a consistent element for future movies to follow. There would usually a good deal of focus on young characters or those who are newcomers to the League. For example, that movie gives considerable focus to Cyborg and how he wants to be a more effective for the league. The next movie, Cosmic Clash, has an arc involving Supergirl. She's made into a cheerleader who's also quite silly, yet she's still a great hero with how she can take on Brainiac's drones. Recent movies still follow this, with Batman: Family Matters giving a good deal of focus to the young members of the family (particularly Robin), and Lego Shazam speaks for itself with Billy Batson being the main character. The toyetic elements are also integrated into the narrative in an organic manner. Lego is inherently silly, so they play into this idea. Again, we have Supergirl being a cheerleader, which she uses to defeat the bad guys. The climax of Lego Batman: Family Matters has Robin leading everyone else into combining their vehicles in taking down Brother Eye's drones.

2. Good sense of camaraderie behind the scenes: Another thing that helps make this world feel alive is with the voice casting, as well as the writers, producers, and directors involved. The main creative forces are Jim Krieg, Rick Morales, and Brandon Vietti. All three have some experience with comedic action, such as in Batman: The Brave And The Bold. While definitely more comical than that series, you can tell that there are some storytelling influences here. Everyone is shown to be really good friends, and that passion clearly shows with projects they take part in. Plus, when someone works on another project and leaves (whether temporarily or not), they can bring in someone else they know to work on the project. For example, when director Rick Morales temporary left to work on Lego Scooby Doo and Lego DC Superhero Girls (which has much of the same crew), we had movies directed by Ethan Spaulding (Flash) and Matt Peters (every movie from Lego Aquaman onward) to come in. Ethan is known for more grounded action shows like Avatar The Last Airbender and Thundercats 2011, yet also has more comedic action under his belt (like the Scooby Doo movies he worked on, as well as being a storyboard artist on Batman The Brave And The Bold). Matt is mainly a storyboard artist, but he worked on not just that show, but also shows like Codename Kids Next Door, Ben 10, and Justice League Action. In 2018, we also saw Jeremy Adams joining the staff, writing or co-writing every movie since Lego Flash. He's the best friend of Jim Krieg, and they've collaborated in many projects since Green Lantern The Animated Series. This definitely helps infuse passion into the movies.

3. Episodic yet consistent world building: One thing I praise with the movies is internal consistency and strong world building, but each movie can stand on their own. You can watch each movie one right after the movie and be satisfied. You can watch each movie on their own, and still follow the plot pretty well. For example, Batman: Family Matters has a few scenes with Billy Batson, all of which are to set up Lego Shazam. However, his 3 scenes in that movie help develop Batman's character so he can be more openly caring and selfless. This is referenced in Lego Shazam, but you can still watch that movie well even without having seen it since we get a flashback to that movie. Gotham City Breakout shows Robin wanting to be taken seriously as a hero, which is also a plot point in Batman Family Matters. Again, you can still follow his arc in that movie even if you didn't see Gotham City Breakout.

4. The voice acting: One praise I give is that movies are very pro voice acting, getting some of the best voice actors involved. We have role reprisals like Troy Baker as Batman, Nolan North as Superman, Grey DeLisle Griffin as Wonder Woman, Khary Payton as Cyborg, Cristina Milizia as Jessica Cruz/Green Lantern, and much more. We have newer casting choices like Jason Spisak as Joker, Kate Micucci as Zatanna, and Imari Williams as Black Adam, just to name a few. They've all worked with each other and played these characters before, which reflects in their performances. For example, we see more of Batman's caring side and detective skills. I remember an interview Cristina took part when Lego Aquaman was shown at Comic Con 2 years ago, where she talked about how psyched she was to voice Jessica Cruz, really relating to her, as well as how she was excited to work with these voice actors. That energy really shines in her performance. As we get more movies, the cast is a lot like a family due to how their performances evolve.

And that's all I have. What do you think?
 
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