All the Easter Eggs We Found in ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’
The LEGO Batman Movie, now playing in theaters (and Palace Cinema LEGO sets) everywhere, works perfectly well for any audience, regardless of their familiarity with Batman, LEGO or otherwise. For viewers who do know the nearly 80-year history of its title character, however, the film is a treasure trove of references. Following his debut in the pages of 1939’s Detective Comics #27, Batman quickly became one of the most famous heroes in all of comics, and eventually spawned television shows, movies, toys, video games, and countless pieces of merchandise, almost all of which get referenced in Chris McKay’s LEGO Batman Movie in some way, shape, or form.
As of this writing I’ve only seen The LEGO Batman Movie once. But even on that first viewing, I immediately recognized tons of references to days of Batmen past. I kept a running tally of the Easter eggs I spotted during the film and after just that one sitting I found 43 different ones. No doubt there are lots more, which you can share in the comments below. We’ll try to update this post as we find more Easter eggs (or get some pictures to back them up) but in the meantime, here’s all the Bat-references, in-jokes, and homages I found so far (SPOILERS to follow, obviously):
Every LEGO Batman Movie Easter Egg (We Found [So Far])
- The plane hijacked in the film’s cold open belongs to “MacGuffin Airlines,” a reference to the famous film term, popularized by Alfred Hitchcock, that refers to a plot device that is crucial to the development of the story but ultimately meaningless.
- A “Ferris Air” plane, a reference to the company that employs Green Lantern Hal Jordan, is seen in the background. (Later, there’s also an ad for Ferris Air.)
- Commissioner Gordon’s partner is named O’Hara, a reference to Commissioner Gordon’s gregarious sidekick Chief O’Hara (played by Stafford Repp).
- Both Egghead and Condiment King are real Batman villains, although they were created outside of comics; Egghead was invented by the 1960s series (where he was portrayed by Vincent Price) and Condiment King first appeared on Batman: The Animated Series in 1994.
- Killer Croc’s line “I did something!” could be a reference to 2016’s Suicide Squad, where Croc, played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was a member who did almost nothing in service of the story.
- Doug Benson voices Bane. Benson frequently impersonates Bane on his podcast, Doug Loves Movies.
- The Joker’s “Wanna get nuts?” line is a reference to Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne saying the same thing to the Joker in 1989’s Batman.
- When Joker asks Batman who is #1 bad guy is, he replies Superman, a joke aimed at the buddies’ recent battle in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
- A “Batman Forever” sign refers to the 1995 film of the same name.
- The buildings in downtown Gotham City include Shreck’s Department Store from Batman Returns.
- LEGO Batman’s Batcave includes many comic-book references, most notably the giant T. Rex that has appeared in almost every iteration of the cave for half a century. (It originates from a 1946 Batman comic set on “Dinosaur Island.”)
- The photo of Batman’s parents Thomas and Martha taken just before their death shows them outside the Monarch Theater, the site of the comic-book Waynes’ murders as well.
- The reference to “phases” of Batman’s life (and subsequent flashbacks) each refer to a specific artistic period in the Dark Knight’s history, either on the page or screen, including the animated Super Friends TV series and the original Batman film serial from 1943.
- Superman’s Fortress of Solitude in the film is modeled after the one in the Richard Donner Superman movies.
- As part of her introduction, Rosario Dawson’s Barbara Gordon is credited with cleaning up the streets of Blüdhaven. When former Robin Dick Grayson got his own comic book in the mid-’90s, he spent much of it patrolling the streets of Blüdhaven, which is depicted as a sister city to Gotham City.
- The ad on the back of a magazine for “Barris Automotive” is a tip of the hat to George Barris, the man who designed the Batmobile from the 1960s TV series.
- The “Operated by Quinzel” on the laundry truck used to sneak into Arkham Asylum refers to Harley Quinn’s alter ego, Harleen Quinzel.
- LEGO Dick Grayson’s red sweater with a white-collared shirt was one of Burt Ward’s most common outfits as Dick Grayson on the 1960s Batman show. It’s also the outfit Dick Grayson wears in the 1960s Batcave LEGO set released last year.
- The scene where LEGO Alfred lets LEGO Dick into the (LEGO) Batcave is reminiscent of the scene from 1989’s Batman, where (non-LEGO) Alfred admits Vicki Vale to the Batcave, effectively ruining his secret identity.
- The Batcave contains a bottle of Bat-Shark Repellent, a nod to one of the most infamous gags in the 1966 Batman film spun off from the TV series.
- Batman’s automated closet of costumes includes many Easter eggs, including the suit worn by Terry McGinnis as the future Batman of the cartoon series Batman Beyond.
- When dressed as Robin, Dick Grayson’s hair and glasses make him strongly resemble Carrie Kelly, the future Robin from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.
- When Batman and Robin climb into the Batmobile, the Batcomputer says “Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed,” which Robin said every time the Dynamic Duo fired up their Batmobile on the ’60s Batman show.
- The Fortress of Solitude doorbell plays the John Williams Superman theme.
- A banner in the Fortress of Solitude reads “57th Annual Justice League Anniversary Party.” The Justice League first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #28 from 1960. If the team aged in real time (or LEGO time), they would celebrate their 57th anniversary in 2017.
- The Justice League members at the party includes several obscure characters from the short-lived Challenge of the Super Friends show, including Apache Chief and Black Vulcan.
- When Batman activates the Fortress of Solitude’s Kryptonian crystals, he sees a message from Superman’s father, Jor-El, who is clearly modeled after Marlon Brando’s version of the character from the 1978 Superman movie.
- When Robin is skateboarding his way through the Fortress of Solitude’s security, there’s a reference to him “gleaming the cube,” which is the title of a 1989 skateboarding movie starring Christian Slater.
- The X-ray security machine at Arkham Asylum strongly resembles the X-ray security machine in the movie Total Recall. It also looks like the X-ray puzzles in LEGO Batman video games, which Batman solves by putting on his “Sensor Suit.”
- The villains Joker recruits from the Phantom Zone include many famous bad guys from movie history, including King Kong, Sauron from Lord of the Rings, and Voldemort from Harry Potter. In LEGO Batman, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is voiced by Eddie Izzard, but in the Harry Potter films he was played Ralph Fiennes — who voices Alfred in The LEGO Batman Movie.
- Another Gotham City sign reference: The “Iceberg Lounge” is traditionally the hideout of the Penguin.
- Also visible in Gotham City is the Gotham Gazette Building. This newspaper is best known as Vicki Vale’s place of employment.
- The same scene also includes a sign for “Soder Cola,” which is a famous fictional beverage in the DC Comics universe.
- In the same scene, one of Lex Luthor’s LexCorp buildings is also seen in the Gotham City skyline.
- When Alfred dons a Batman costume to help his master fight crime, his uniform is clearly supposed to be the Adam West 1960s Batsuit.
- While in Arkham Asylum, Batman dismisses the idea of using criminals to fight criminals, a none-too-subtle dig at Suicide Squad, which is about a team of criminals the government assembles to fight crime.
- Batman repeatedly refers to his “Master Builder” powers, a nod to the first LEGO Movie, where characters with the ability to create anything out of LEGO blocks were given that prestigious title.
- The Joker makes mention of “all of your wonderful toys,” an allusion to the famous line from the 1989 Batman where Jack Nicholson’s Joker wonders “Where does he get those wonderful toys?”
- The Gremlins on the wing of the airplane is a clever homage to the famous Twilight Zone episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” where an airline passenger (William Shatner) becomes convinced there’s a “gremlin” (though not the Gremlins from Gremlins, which didn’t exist at the time) on the wing of his plane.
- Robin boasts that he knows gymkata, which he calls a “gymnastics-based martial art.” There is a real and wonderful movie called Gymkata, where an actual Olympic gymnast (Kurt Thomas) plays a man who practices gymnastics-based martial arts on behalf of the U.S. government.
- There are several references to “the Batman Family,” including the scene where Batman, Robin, Alfred, and Barbara Gordon take a photograph that mirrors the one of Bruce Wayne’s parents shortly before their murder. Though the phrase might sound silly, Batman Family has been the name of several actual DC Comics, the first of which premiered in 1975.
- The LEGO Batman Movie is far from the first film to feature a fight scene in a hall of mirrors. Similar sequences appear in Orson Welles’ The Lady of Shanghai and the Bruce Lee classic Enter the Dragon (a film directed by Robert Clouse, who also directed Gymkata). But this is probably a direct reference to a similar fight in Frank Miller’s famous graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns.
- When Robin puts on a “Nightwing” costume from Batman’s automated closet of costumes in the Batcave, it’s technically a double Easter egg. When original Robin Dick Grayson graduated from teen sidekicking in the 1980s, he adopted the codename Nightwing. This Nightwing costume, though, looks less like the one Dick Grayson has worn for the last several decades, and more like the original Nightwing, which was a code name Superman adopted in the 1960s during some adventures he and Jimmy Olsen had in the Kryptonian city of Kandor.
- In the film’s climactic fight, The LEGO Batman Movie goes full ’60s Batman, when visible punching and kicking sound effects appear onscreen. (The Bat-Shark Repellant also makes a second appearance.)
- LEGO Two-Face in this movie very strongly resembles (and is voiced by) Billy Dee Williams, who played Two-Face’s alter ego, Harvey Dent, in a small supporting role in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman. When the character was brought back for Batman Forever, the role was recast and played by Tommy Lee Jones. Almost 30 years later, Williams finally gets his chance to play Two-Face.
And just to keep the conversation going, here’s one potential Easter egg that I didn’t quite figure out: There are several shot of a “Luigi’s” sign in Gotham City. I don’t know of any specific Luigi in Batman or DC Comics lore, although a Google search did turn up a notorious Mafia assassination attempt from 1989 that took place at a Philadelphia restaurant named Dante and Luigi’s. What’s the connection? Well, the gunman in the incident wore a Batman mask. That could be a grisly Easter egg, or one heck of a coincidence. Or did I miss the obvious joke? You tell me.
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