Tag Archives: Legos

Movie Reaction – The Lego Batman Movie

We saw the Lego Batman Movie a couple weeks ago, and I’m not quite sure what to say about it. It was good. We enjoyed it.

It ends up as a pretty good answer to the question of “what is it like in the realm of one of the master builders?” Because that’s how you make a stand-alone movie that’s also a sequel to the Lego Movie. Batman makes for a good hero, since he was a hilarious secondary character in the original.

It also ends up a pretty good movie for exploring the question of, “who is Batman? And who is Batman in relation to others?” What Batman needs is a family. What he has no idea how to deal with is a family. This movie explores that pretty well, with the young ward, with Batgirl and the relationship with the police, and even exploring the relationship with Alfred.

All-in-all, it seems like not much to say. If you’re a Batman fan, check out the movie. If you’re a Lego Movie fan, check out the movie. But all of that also seems pretty obvious. It was good. It didn’t blow me away like the Lego Movie did, but that was probably impossible.

And then, the review circuit gave me something to talk about.

Gay Adoption Undercurrents? Really?

There’s a review that said that a simple running joke in the movie was in fact an insidious hidden political agenda. The joke is simple: when Batman is confronted by Robin about how his adopted father, Bruce Wayne, should be consulted before he runs off to be a superhero… Batman lies. Rather than reveal his secret identity, he claims that he adopted Robin along with Bruce Wayne.

It is mentioned a few times, so it becomes a running joke. There’s not really any discussion of what relationship Bruce Wayne and Batman have – just that Robin has two fathers.

In my opinion, the joke is that Batman tells an obvious lie and Robin buys it hook, line, and sinker. The joke is that he doesn’t get it. And the joke relies on the audience knowing full well what the truth is – so the audience knows, completely, that it’s not true. So any young people who might get brainwashed by any subliminal messaging there… they know it’s a lie.

But still, there’s that thought that – because no one corrects Robin of his belief in his two fathers – it’s normalizing the idea of having two fathers. But the joke relies on the absurdity of that claim – so does it actually normalize anything?

Or is it just a joke playing on the blind trust of Robin, the naivety, and the cold Batman who won’t let anyone in?

I’d love to know what you think, about this or about the movie in general!

Lego Marvel Avengers – First Thoughts

We’ve been away from our beloved Lego games for a bit, but we wanted to dive back into one this week and of the ones we hadn’t played yet, Lego Marvel Avengers was the pick!

Unlike the last Marvel Lego outing – which was a new story and featured both the Avengers and a wide array of heroes like the X-Men and Fantastic Four – this one is an adaptation of the movies. Some of the movies, at least: The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man 3, Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Thor: The Dark World.

Basically, most of Marvel Phase 2. Sadly lacking from the game is Guardians of the Galaxy (Ant-Man could be fun too). Oddly included in the game is The First Avenger, but I guess that one at least should be a radically different location and gameplay than any of the rest, what with it set during World War 2. We’ll get some adventures in space still via The Dark World, and then lots of crises big and small with the rest.


We were warned by Julia: the game starts by dropping you into the fight at the beginning of Age of Ultron. This works since that scene is a fast-paced “look it’s all the Avengers, and they’re friends and working together and ACTION!”

It ends up serving a similar purpose in the game as in the movie, drawing you in and promising you more from the heroes you love. There was a somewhat boring 2-player moment towards the end of the opening level, when you’re attacking the Hydra base itself: Captain America is on the ground breaking things and doing Lego Stuff; Iron Man is flying in a neverending circle around the place against a neverending wave of flying enemies, shooting them down basically to just have something to do… hopefully there won’t be too many parts like that? It was fun for a bit but it ended up being a pretty long segment to just be doing that.

Then you’re out in the hub world, at least theoretically: at the SHIELD base from the beginning of The Avengers, the true chronological start to the game (other than, presumably, a flashback at some point taking us back into The First Avenger). Given that the base is destroyed by the end of the next level, it will be interesting to see if the game plays with a single hub between levels, or if it will be an ever-changing place. Or if we’ll just end up on the Helicarrier like in Lego Marvel Superheroes


The character abilities and all have been neat so far. Hawkeye has an arrow for everything, and is going to be incredibly useful for dealing with many of the standard Lego-level challenges. Black Widow was also great and had a lot of utility. Ironically, the more powerful superhero characters felt more specialized in their roles. Maria Hill had the first really unique ability we’ve seen in the game, where she summons down two SHIELD agents to join her and fight. Companions! It has amused me to no end.

Overall, we’re enjoying this, and getting the voices and all from the movies is cool (though we’re pretty sure that wasn’t Gwyneth Paltrow…). It’s hard though because I also feel like comparing it to the original story game. Lego has made some great original story games (the Batman games probably the best example), but then they’ve also done great work on movie adaptations (the Harry Potter ones and Star Wars both being particularly good). I also don’t know how much I feel like the addition of voices has helped or hurt their storytelling. But I’m sure we’ll be playing more of this one in the weeks to come!

Julia’s Best of 2016

Best Movie – Rogue One

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This was maybe the toughest decision for me. I remember starting the year excited for the plethora of good, exciting movies that I was looking forward to so much. Then the rest of 2016 happened and sadly the excitement over movies dimmed for me. I will say, this was closest between Captain America: Civil War and what I’ve decided was my favorite movie of the year, Rogue One. I went to see it again this week, and it still holds up as one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It has action, it has struggle, it has humanity and hope, and is incredibly well done. Of all of the amazing movies released this year, I’d say this is the one I would most recommend and look forward to seeing again already.

TV Show New – Stranger Things

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I know Stranger Things has gotten a lot of buzz on the site and podcast recently, but for me I think what I loved about the show was how it blended so many genres in such a successful way. I was talking about Stranger Things with friends I would never expect to watch a sci-fi show, but because of its Goonies nostalgia and mystery. Netflix has been producing some amazing original content, and honestly I watched more new content from them this year rather than any of the major networks.

TV Show Old – Supernatural

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I’ve finally had the time to rewatch and try to catch up on Supernatural this year, and it fast became my favorite thing to binge. I’ve only made it to Season 5, but I still have seven more seasons to go until I’m caught up to the current – and that’s both exciting and daunting. But as far as best binge worthy show from years past, I’d say Supernatural is the one for 2016.

Music – Lisa Hannigan, ‘At Swim’

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I spent a lot of the year falling more in love with Hozier and Mumford and Sons, but my favorite album released this year was Lisa Hannigan’s At Swim. Hannigan got her start singing with Damien Rice, another of my favorites, but her solo work has been absolutely beautiful. Her newest album has possibly surpassed my love for her debut album Sea Sew, and I have spent a lot of time since its release listening to its eerie and captivating melodies.

Video Game New – Lego Dimensions

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Although technically released before 2016, we received Lego Dimensions as a present earlier this year and have quickly fallen in love with it. We struggle finding games we can actually play side by side, and the Lego games are always great choices for us. This one combines building Legos and playing video games, and honestly how can you go wrong with that? The ability to continue adding on character and level packs is fun if not dangerous; we foresee a future of buying lots of them to continue playing together.

Lego: Dimensions First Impressions and Hilarity

Captain America and I are overwhelmingly, completely done with politics and this election season. I mentioned needing a break in last week’s post and this week has been no different. Of course, that’s hard to tell from my Twitter (shameless plug) and Facebook feeds, but I find I’m too opinionated to keep quiet on certain issues, et alors c’est la vie. But on debate night, we found ourselves in dire need of something more fun to do. Whereas the first debate we played a drinking game in which we had to take a sip every time we talked back to the TV (it did not go well…) we decided that was too dangerous for a Wednesday and the last debate, and wanted to avoid it entirely.

His birthday was recently, and a friend gave us Lego Dimensions and an additional game pack (Doctor Who for the win!) as a present. If you’re not familiar with the idea of Lego Dimensions, let me tell you, we weren’t either when we received it. After a lot of “oh I guess you do this and…oh you build the Legos and then play hooked up to them?” discussions that made us sound really old and confused, we decided building the main portal piece, the characters that come with the main game (Batman, Wyldstyle, and Gandalf), and then playing some video games sounded like a perfect way to pass the evening instead of torturing ourselves with the debate.

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Oh so shiny (and Capt. America’s hand in the way, gah!)

So we sat over dinner, building Legos together because WE’RE TOTALLY ADULTS and how hard could it be after building an entire (not an exaggeration) house full of IKEA furniture together? If our marriage can survive IKEA instructions over the course of two whole weeks, it’s essentially immune to everything else life throws our way. So we spent dinner cracking jokes about building things together and drinking wine, and after dinner we were ready to hook up the cool portal pad to our PS3 and start playing. We were super excited to see how this thing works, and what the levels would be like. That’s when we discovered that apparently the game has been out long enough that there’s already a patch that took 45+ minutes to download and install before we could play it.

And that’s the story of how I ended up watching the debate anyway.

 

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Since then, I think it’s safe to say that we have maybe played 15-30 minutes of the game itself. After the debate we began to, but Dimensions involves building other pieces as you go. For example, the starter box comes with the pieces for the Batmobile piece, but not the printed instructions. You get those at a certain point after playing the game, and it’s a literal part of the story/game to build it before continuing. After starting up the game finally once the download of the patch completed, we dove into the game only to almost immediately come upon the need to build the Batmobile. Captain America was already falling asleep and needed to get up early, so we had to take a break. We tried playing again last night, and almost immediately after building the Batmobile the game froze and we had to restart our PS3. We booted it back up and started playing, and then Captain America started yawning and we called it a night after maybe only twenty minutes. I’m looking forward to trying again this weekend, because it’s definitely a cool concept and I think it will be an incredibly fun game. So far my takeaways are this:

-Download the game/patch while building the portal! You can wait until you start up the game to build the portal, but it comes with printed instructions and we preferred building it first. If only we’d known about the patch, we could have avoided the debate. Sigh…

-The portal and its pad are actually important as you play through the video game; so far we’ve already come across a boss fight that included having to move character pieces upon the portal pad as a component of the fight to avoid bad stuff thrown by the boss. Sit near the pad while playing so you’re not going “oh crap!” like we were.

-The ability to add on different universes, excuse me, dimensions, is actually really fun because it allows customization and also a possibly never-ending game. Think of the expansions! Also, interestingly enough, if a character in a game add-on you do not have is needed for special abilities, say destroying silver Lego pieces to get at special items, the game gives you the option of “renting a hero” for 30 seconds, and it only costs in-game money. A fantastic solution to a game that involves adding on levels and characters through real world money so that those who cannot do so can work to solve problems in game instead. Brilliant!

Weekend Coffee Share – Double Decker Couch Edition

If we were having coffee, well, it would depend. If we were having coffee together, in person, there are thing I might tell you. The sort of stuff you tell in person, or on the phone. Because that’s the sort of stuff that’s been going on this week – serious stuff. Not to us, either, so it’s not really ours to share.

So in an effort to stay cheerful, well, I spent a little time wandering the store yesterday with the Geek Baby asleep…

So everyone could drink coffee together and be buddies!

So everyone could drink coffee together and be buddies!

So that happened.

We had been eyeing Legos for a bit. We’ve not really shared images of ourselves related to Comparative Geeks, and the idea was we could use Legos to do so. This would be ripping off the exact same idea from our blogging friend Sheena, at her blog Not A Punk Rocker. She uses Wyldstyle as her Avatar, and Deadpool as, well, Deadpool.

But that also meant no Wyldstyle for Holly… so then… wow, there are a lot of minifigs. Also, not nearly so many of them female. And so while we may not have hit on some final selections, we do at least have some we can play around with now. And better yet, new minifigs have multiple faces if you just spin them around! That will come into play for sure.

And so, here’s what we got!  Continue reading