LEGO movies, small and/or large budget, typically end up entertaining times one way or another. With such an extensive LEGO family to choose from, there’s generally something for everyone. For example, the LEGO folks have done the Scooby-Doo route, most recently the very entertaining LEGO Scooby-Doo!: Blowout Beach Bash movie. They’ve also done The LEGO Batman Movie, which is beautiful from beginning to end and riddled with well-placed humor. This time around they take a chance with DC Super Hero Girls in a movie called LEGO DC Super Hero Girls: Brain Drain. Does it follow the entertaining trend set forth by other LEGO movies? Let’s find out.
When Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Bumblebee and Katana suddenly realize they cannot remember a single moment from their Monday at Super Hero High, the young DC Super Heroes spring into sleuthing action! Suspecting foul-play, they band together to retrace their steps and uncover the mystery of who exactly stole their memories – and what nefarious plan might be afoot?
Director Todd Grimes, whose notoriety was born from a somewhat successful Back at the Barnyard animated series, puts together a solid, yet sometimes long in the tooth adventure led by young and upcoming superheroes, namely Batgirl, Supergirl and Wonder Woman. Along with writer Jeremy Adams, known for a lot of DC universe pieces and a Scooby-Doo series, Grimes brings a lot of adventure and humor to the table for a younger audience who might just be getting into the DC universe. The movie brings a good mixture of elements that will certainly hook and engage viewers, as well as some flaws in its three-act structure. Regardless, it does a good job of entertaining.
Without further delay, let’s get right into it.
The first act starts with the trio of superheroes, Supergirl, Wonder Woman and Batgirl chasing down a bevy of bad guys, mostly familiar faces. The introduction to the trio helps to point out their powers, as well as their flaws through fighting sequences, which are done brilliantly. Once briefly introduced, and after making their way through some baddies, the trio end up uncovering the real villain of the story, specifically Eclipso, and then are promptly attacked and things go black. The trio wakes up in their superhero dorms in a bit of a daze. Returning to school, they soon find out that they’ve been causing quite a bit of destruction on campus, including stealing a giant crystal for some unknown reason (and putting the principal’s car on top of a pointy flag pole). The first act ends with the trio backtracking and trying to uncover what exactly has happened during their absent time.
The first act is simple. It focuses on the superheroes and developing them for those who aren’t familiar with the characters. It then shifts, as it should, to a proper introduction of the main plot point. The first act, while playing it safe by relying on familiar faces from the DC universe (Green Lantern, Flash, Beast Boy, etc.) to help guide new DC viewers into a comfortable place with the movie, does its job pretty easily when introducing everything that needs to set up acts two and three. While that might seem like a simple concept, just know that many movies, especially films geared towards a younger audience, tend to skip over establishing the proper structure of set up in act one, as well as character development. Most probably figure that kids won’t care enough to pick up on the details, but if you have kids, then you understand that is not the case. Not even close. Kids love details and they love connecting with characters. In this category, LEGO DC Super Hero Girls: Brain Drain does it beautifully.
As act two begins the story sort of gets too much beef added to the main plot. There is an overwhelming large amount of humor that circumvents story progression. The trio goes on an investigation of sorts with their backtracking until they uncover that they were being controlled by Eclipso, whom made them do their evil deeds, which in fact they did. They also uncover that Lena Luthor is helping out Eclipso and planning to transport the stolen crystal from the school to help Eclipso open up a nearly infinite amount of mind-controlling crystals from a different dimension. That sounds like a quick uncover, but the second act spreads out the reveal by filling the blanks in with chase scenes and resets of sort from the trio.
The second act works on paper, but ends up stretching the act way too long with humor and sidetracking. Why is this a bad thing? Well, it disconnects the viewers with the story and makes it feel like the story is lost, even though it’s just being padded with extra material for time purposes. The second does get back on its rails eventually towards the end, but it honestly spends too much time off of them to make it a solid act. Again, that’s not meaning that it’s a total disaster or anything of the sorts, but it does mean that the second act is just a bit longer than it should be. Maybe that is just too much writing in one area rather than focusing more on the main plot point, but it goes on a bit further in an imbalanced way.
Thankfully, the third act takes what the second gave it and keeps itself on the straight and narrow. It wraps up with some suspense and some triumphant themes, which makes it redeeming in comparison to act two. It does a great job of finishing the developing plot point and running parallel with consistent humor from the first and second act. The third act is good, though we won’t tell you how it ends (sorry, folks, that’s the Digitalchumps way). It is safe to say that kids will be on the edge of their seats, as mine were when watching it, and the movie wraps on a fun note that gives hope that we’ll see more of the trio in future LEGO films (I hope so).
Overall, LEGO DC Super Hero Girls: Brain Drain is a delightful adventure, yet lighthearted in structure that puts the female DC superhero characters in the forefront of the story (it is about time). It’s powerful entertainment that brings some great themes with it, as well as some solid messages to future female DC fans, and fits nicely within the LEGO/DC family. Is it perfect? Not at all, but it does enough to introduce the DC and LEGO world to new viewers looking for a fun experience.