Batman rides a gorilla. Robin builds a rickshaw and trundles around the parking lot. Clayface and Hush– Who? Clayface and Hush are in here. Lex Luthor’s hovership is defended by impenetrable electrical fields, yet there are convenient spawn points for Batman’s electricity suits next to every electrical field. There’s no room for Robin in the Batmobile, so he runs along behind it as if you were riding a horse in Skyrim. But Robin can roll around inside his own personal hamster ball. The Batcave explodes. You’ve just unlocked a mime. That’s right, a mime. He approached you on the chaotic and panic-riddled streets of Gotham City and offered to sell himself into your collection for 25,000 Lego studbucks. Of course, you accept. Then you smash a row of hedges to earn a golden brick, which will finally let you buy whatever’s for sale inside the as yet unlocked front door of Wayne Manor. Wait, what’s over here? A little man throws a pie at you.
You might ask, “Why?” You have asked the wrong question. The overriding question of Lego Batman 2 is always and only “Why not?” This is as ridiculous and ridiculously effective an open world game as Saints Row 3, but whereas that game was driven by action movie excesses, Lego Batman 2 is driven mostly by the two things all boys love most: breaking things and collecting stuff. And then playing with them. If you have a toy gorilla and a Batman action figure, Batman will naturally ride the gorilla.
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If you’re going to see an awful movie about a dude with a flaming skull for a head riding a flaming motorbike, this is probably the one to see. Not to say it’s good. It’s not. It’s laughably bad. But lordy, what awesome shots of flaming skulls and flaming motorbikes, all heavy metalish and trailing smoke and crazy zooms and tilts and God of War style chain flinging and other things going fiery. The Nicolas Cage overacting in between is just gravy. His style complements the CG, as his face gets all distorted and his eyes pop and smoke comes out of his head, like when a character in an old-timey cartoon sees a hot chick. I’m pretty sure he even goes AH-WOO-GA! at one point, like a steam whistle. He wouldn’t be out of place in one of those Mask sequels Jim Carrey passed on. I only wish that when he promised early on that when the demon takes hold, no one is safe, he didn’t then spend the rest of the movie defending women and children. That’s not very demonic.
The bigger issue is how long can Idris Elba maintain being cool when he’s in movies like The Losers, Thor, Prometheus, and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance? I wonder if he thinks he’s hidden in Ghost Rider because of his fake French accent, like maybe you won’t know it’s him. I see you, Idris! Look, I’ll allow him no more than eleven or twelve stinkers before I start to think a little less of him. Also, since this is a movie based on a Marvel comic, I looked for a Stan Lee cameo and didn’t see one. Why would he not show up for his cameo? Was he getting his teeth whitened the day they were scheduled to shoot?
It’s time for your annual Spider-Man game! The Activision Quebec studio making these games for the last few years has done a decent job with mission-based Spider-Mannery, but now they’re breaking out into an open world. Can they capture the glee of Spider-Man’s previous open-world web-slinging? Is there anything left to capture? Or will this just be another mandatory movie tie-in?
Spec Ops: The Line is 2K’s attempt at their own Call of Duty. I have it on good authority there are no zombies. There’s new DLC this week for Battlefield 3 and Skyrim. “The PC version of an Ubisoft game” is usually a punchline. This week, it’s also part of the release schedule, as we get a PC version of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.
This week we were mostly unimpressed by the Abraham Lincoln biopic, but we still manage a spirited debate over 19th century hat physics. At the 50-minute mark, this week’s 3×3 is our favorite still photographs in movies.
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