Not only is Lego and DC Entertainment’s The Lego Batman Movie a laugh a minute, it’s also a referential romp down memory lane for long-standing fans of the caped crusader. The oddly charming story of Bruce Wayne accidentally adopting Dick Grayson’s Robin and then taking on a fantastical cast of baddies, Lego-style, is chock full of easter eggs and hints to Batman’s past adventures and mishaps.
This post contains spoilers for The Lego Batman Movie.
A scene toward the beginning of Lego Batman has Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s long-suffering butler and pseudo-father figure, explaining to Bruce that he’s fallen into a vicious cycle. For some reason, Batman keeps living the same mistakes over and over again: He doesn’t trust the people in his life because he’s been hurt in the past and that, ultimately, leads him down a dark path filled with heartbreak and betrayal.
Alfred lists off a set of nine “phases” Bruce has been through in the past 50 years, aka, the plethora of Batman movies and reboots. These “phases” are identified by Alfred as Batman v. Superman (2016), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), The Dark Knight (2008), Batman Begins (2005), Batman & Robin (1997), Batman Forever (1995), Batman Returns (1992), Batman (1989), and a “weird one” in 1966, which forgoes the Lego style for Adam West’s horrendously cheesy spandex in Batman: The Movie. But that short speech isn’t the only reference hanging around.
Here are all the Batman movie references in The Lego Batman Movie:
Batman v Superman (2016)
Zack Snyder’s 2016 mishap introduced the world to Batfleck and his overtly masculine beef with Henry Cavill’s Superman. Batman’s “2016 phase,” as described by Alfred, is the first in his long list of Bruce’s phases for the past 50 years, and it’s probably the one Alfred is angriest about.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Rounding out Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy was The Dark Knight Rises with Bane (Tom Hardy) playing the film’s main antagonist. Lego Batman casts Doug Benson as the voice of Bane, and he does a fabulous job matching Hardy’s cadence and weird, unidentifiable accent.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The pilots aboard the MacGuffin Airlines flight full of explosives that Joker overtakes in the first scene of Lego Batman ask Joker: “Is this the same as the two boats?” Batman always stops Joker, including that time with “the two boats” in The Dark Knight when civilians were aboard one and criminals were on the other.
Batman Begins (2005)
Batman Begins kicks off Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and Lego Batman’s title card borrows the style of Batman Begins’s insignia. Nolan’s first Batman film was the beginning of a new Batman era, something that Lego Batman’s director might be looking to do.
Batman Beyond (1999-2001)
The red-and-black suit from the animated Batman Beyond is one of the many, many suits and callbacks to be found in Batman’s closet.
Batman & Robin (1997)
George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell’s dynamic as Batman and Robin (respectively) matches the overall plot of Lego Batman in that it focuses heavily on Batman’s relationship with his ward and sidekick. But while Batman and Robin were fighting over Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy in in their titular 1997 movie, Bats tries really hard to be a downer over Robin’s undyingly upbeat outlook on life in Lego Batman.
Batman Forever (1995)
After Batman arrives just in the knick of time — disguised as the mayor — to save the day, he’s greeted by swaths of adoring fans and groups at the orphanage he visits for the sake of publicity. One of the crowds’ members is holding a “Batman Forever” sign, referencing the 1995 film of the same name.
Joker asks Batman in Lego Batman if he wants to “get nuts”? The line is a direct callback to 1989’s Batman when Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne smashes a vase with his cane and screams at the Joker: “Now, you wanna get nuts? C’mon. Let’s get nuts.”
Batman: The Movie (1966)
Dubbed by Alfred as the “weird one” in 1966, Batman: The Movie starred Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. This is where that shark repellent that Robin uses against Jaws in Lego Batman comes from, decades after it was first used on a rubber shark holding onto Batman’s leg.
Batman, TV series (1966-1968)
The iconic bam-pow-apalooza that started it all, the Batman TV series, is the main source for some big things in Lego Batman. First of all, ‘Puter (Batman’s computer) says, “Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed,” a quote from the ‘60s show. Batman and Robin have a full-on onomatopoeia butt-kicking session in Lego Batman. One of Alfred’s Bat-costumes is Adam West’s costume from back in the day, and so is Robin’s. Rrrrip.
The Lego Batman Movie is now in theaters.