LEGO certainly don’t need a reason to keep releasing Batman sets, except this time they actually do; following the success of The LEGO Movie, the undoubted star of that cinematic outing – The Dark Knight himself – now has his own movie, meaning LEGO now have carte blanche to release every set you can think of, containing every character, vehicle and environment they want. And guess what? They have done.
Set Number: 70905
Minifigures: Batman, Robin, Man-Bat, Kabuki Twins
As the movie’s trailers and especially the Minifigure collection set will tell you, there is a lot of fun to be had with The Lego Batman Movie. Being able to play around with a Batman character not hamstrung by the latest issues that Warner and DC are trying to get their heads around appears to be a freedom that is begging to be explored. And no more so is that evident than with the wide choice of sets LEGO have released in conjunction with the movie. Penguin, Joker and Riddler all get their own vehicles, while even Killer Croc and Clayface get their brick-moment in the sun.
What a new Batman film also means, however, is an updated Batmobile. Which brings us to what I’m here to write about. For once not following a pre-existing or –determined Batmobile model, what this is right here is what would happen if a LEGO Batman was the only Batman we knew. In a brick world where everything is possible (and likely awesome) and there isn’t any of that ‘real world’ stuff to worry about like cost, gravity and general vehicle construction rules and regulations, what Batmobile would we get. This, I think you’ll find, is it.
But before we get onto the main event, let’s start – as we tend to do – with the minifigures. Those of you familiar with my reviews of LEGO will know how much importance I put into the figures. In some cases, they have taken a set from a ‘maybe’ purchase to a ‘must have’, that deciding link between looking at it for an age on a shop shelf and putting it through that checkout in a blink of an eye. Throw in an exclusive figure or two and you have ensure yourself a guaranteed purchase. Which makes it disappointing that the minifigures here do nothing to make this set a must-have.
Let’s start with the main man himself, Batman. If you have either picked up one of the other LEGO Batman Movie sets or even studied them while trying to justify the financial outlay, you will recognise that the Bats fig here is the same available in all of them. Given the comic book source material at their disposal, as evidenced by the Minifigure collection, it is not unreasonable to expect more than you get. Of course, you will also get a Batman figure, but a little variety in the sets is definitely not too much to ask. While it does offer memories of Tim Burton’s Bats outfit – a personal favourite – it offer little else in addition. It does have one redeeming quality, that being the new utility belt piece and subsequent torso piece refresh, though again this is the same for the other sets. It isn’t often that I find myself disappointed by a Batman figure, so this is somewhat of a new feeling for me, and one that I hope isn’t repeated when the inevitable next wave of DC Comics Super Heroes sets come around.
Robin, I am glad to say, does offer some redeeming qualities. Straight away you notice the old-school look of the outfit, and it’s an appreciated fashion choice. Those who have seen the movie trailers will quickly notice that the look is kept true to the movie and looks good. The hair and glasses are not separate pieces but instead one joined mould, but it still works well. The torso design is adequate, while the printing showing the split between flesh and clothing on the arms and legs is effective. Accessory-wise, you get a gun which appears to be for, as it states, Bat Merch. I assume this is in the same vein as a t-shirt gun that American sports seem to love, though I gather all we will be revealed when the movie hits cinemas next month. Again, however, there is no exclusivity here, with this same minifig appearing in two other movie sets. As nice as this Robin is, it’s still two for a disappointing two on figure choices.
And that soon becomes three for three with Man Bat; this is exactly the same minifigure that has been used before. Again, and I hate to sound like a broken record, but given the dearth of what LEGO had to play with here, their choices thus far have left a lot to be desired. So not to sound too critical, I should point out the decent design on the torso and face. That’s about it, however, and I am left wondering if this could be one of those very rare occasions where the figures really add nothing to the set. So, in a strange twist that would not be out of place in a classic 1960s episode of Batman, colour me surprised when it is actually the seemingly-bland villains that save things somewhat.
The Kabuki Twins are not exactly household names in the mainstream eyes of Batman fans, however to diehard fans and those with knowledge of the comics, they’re not total strangers. The announcement of the minifigs included in the Minifigure Collection shows LEGO are more than happy to include little-known characters, and it looks like we’re going to be getting more than a few of those in the movie. That is likely to include the Kabuki Twins, who actually add some quality to a rather underwhelming figure selection. The design is rather simple, but the Kabuki face masks look really good and the Wolverine-style claws finish off the look perfectly. Looking at the comic book source material, LEGO have done a sterling job with these figures and indicate a turning point in the overall set.
That turning point really amps up with the main event; the newest iteration of the famed Batmobile. Throughout my long liking of Batman, I have always taken a liking to Bats’ top choice of transport. From Adam West’s through to Christian Bale’s, the Batmobile has always caught my attention. When The LEGO Batman Movie was announced, I’ll admit that one of my very first thoughts was what exactly they were going to do with the Batmobile. When the new range of LEGO sets were announced, I had my answer. And I was immediately impressed.
I’m not going to lie, I was very excited about building this. Just by looking at it you can tell that a lot of design has gone into this, a very complex build, and so it proves. Starting off at the base with some Technic beams across the bottom, with an interesting mix of blue, brown and yellow pieces. What I found most impressive in the early goings of the build – and the whole thing overall, to be honest – is that just how well everything seems to go together. What appear to be random sizes and colours of bricks just seem to mesh well once they are attached, and soon enough this wonderful design comes to life in front of you. One thing I do have to mention, and it’s become a regular mention in LEGO building, is the inclusion of stickers. Yes, there are more of them; 21, to be exact. And while that doesn’t seem a huge amount, those smaller ones are pretty fiddly to attach. Especially when your humble reviewer borders on OCD making sure that they are all stuck on uniformly and perfectly.
The main body of the Batmobile is a very strong build, firmly put together and looks sleek. Stickers on either side reveal the vehicle’s “Speedwagon” moniker, something I assume will be explained further in the movie. What I found very impressive is the way, and this is pretty synonymous with most LEGO sets, that each single piece suddenly appears to be vital to the overall picture the moment you attach it. There are several small angled triangular pieces that you will likely find in any LEGO set you pick up, yet the moment you click that single piece onto a 1×4 slab, it almost becomes the glue that holds together the whole thing.
With the main body built, the instructions move onto the wheels, and what a joy those four heavy-duty wheels are. Once assembled and attached, they allow a huge amount of adjustment and realignment. Whether it be a 4×4 design, or something resembling a stretch limo, the positioning possibilities are great. That also means a lot for display purposes, giving you plenty of options of how just to position your newest LEGO addition. Looking at the design of the vehicle, I am expecting to see more than one scene in the movie where we will see Batman tear through the streets of Gotham in this machine, going through narrow alleyways to take advantage of the wheels’ full turning facility. The build quality of the wheels is exceptional, with a very sturdy connection allowing for robust turning of the tyres Another impressive aspect of the set is a roof eject piece (complete with Bat logo sticker), which is initiated by turning a knob at the rear, cleverly designed to blend in with the engine. This opens up the cockpit to place Bats and Robin, and there is just enough space for the minifigs to be positioned.
I cannot comment enough on the amount of playability this set offers. From the aforementioned ejector roof piece to the wide range of wheel movement available, I can see plenty of kids spending hours playing with this, and when they’re done with it the adults can take over and look on in wonder at what a marvellous build this is. When I first saw this set announced, while I was immediately thinking that I must have it, I did notice the price tag and wondered if it may be a little high. Now that I have built that and played around with it – and seen the pleasure on my daughter’s face as she sped it around the Gotham City in her imagination – I have no concerns about the cost. If LEGO has taught me and others one thing, it’s that you most always get value for money.
The Set Overall
Overall, I can only have positive things to say about this. Yes, while I was a little disappointed by the lack of minifig exclusivity – barring the Kabuki Twins – they still look good, and what else can you say about the new Batmobile? A massive departure from the tried and tested appearance of previous Batmobiles, this is what you get when you have a design department unshackled from having to follow a pre-determined design and the freedom to have fun. The overall movie theme allows a lot more flexibility in the design, and it is a perfect accompaniment. Whether it be for kids looking for something fun to play with or adults looking for the newest part of their collection, or just the Batman fans who want the latest Batmobile, this will cater for everyone. Yes, it’s on the pricey side, but with LEGO you pay for quality, and quality is what you get. A superb build experience and a truly wonderful-looking vehicle, this is everything LEGO and Batman fan could want.
This set was provided for review purposes. However, all reviews reflect the author’s own personal views and are not influenced in any way.