FOR A TRUE Bat-fan, one of the best aspects of “The Lego Batman Movie” is that it packs frame after frame with nods to the Caped Crusader’s rich lore across nearly eight decades of pop-culture iterations.
Of those scores of lovingly placed Easter eggs, here are our favorites:
1. From Crowe to Bat.
In “The Dark Knight,” Heath Ledger’s Joker memorably says to Christian Bale’s Batman: “What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? … You complete me!” “Lego Batman” hilariously sends up Joker’s neediness for a Batman relationship by having plastic Bruce Wayne, in front of his Batcave big screen, laugh at Tom Cruise’s “You complete me” line from Cameron Crowe’s “Jerry Maguire.”
Beyond even the Batusi — Batman’s campy spoof of the ’60s dance craze the Watusi — our favorite nod to the ’60s “Batman” TV show is the appearance of the “world’s smartest criminal,” Edgar Head, a.k.a. Egghead — a role originated by Vincent Price for the series.
3. Gonna need a bigger bottle.
“Lego Batman” has no use for the shark repellent bat spray — until, that is, Robin later finds it awfully handy. The bottle to ward off Jaws is a swell nod to when the TV series just may have jumped the (rubber) shark.
4. Passing muster.
“Lego Batman” gets physical-comedy mileage out of the Condiment King — one of a slew of lesser-known villains shown in quick succession. The shock-inducing Condiment King, squirting his potentially lethal ketchup, became awesome sauce as created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm for “Batman: The Animated Series.”
5. Door-to-score delivery.
“Lego Batman’s” many nods to Richard Donner’s 1970s and ’80s Superman films include the icy Fortress of Solitude, at which, when the Dynamic Duo hit the doorbell, the “Superman” theme — from John Williams’s Oscar-nominated score — peals forth like nostalgic glory.
6. There will be Blüdhaven.
“Lego Batman” name-checks Blüdhaven, the neighboring town — introduced in “Nightwing” Vol. 2 (1996) — even more vile than Gotham, according to Dick Grayson. In “Lego Batman,” we learn that new commish Barbara Gordon has come from Blüdhaven. (We also see Robin try a costume that foreshadows his future Nightwing status.)
7. That “Suicide Squad” jab.
How can Gotham be saved? Lego Batman says that using criminals to take down other criminals is a dumb idea — a direct dig at “Suicide Squad” that, regardless of the snarky tone, seems delivered out of true fanboy love.
8. Bill Finger gets credit — at last!
For decades, Bill Finger could not score long-due credit as co-creator of the Batman characters. DC Comics long refused to officially acknowledge just how much the late cartoonist contributed, after creator Bob Kane long claimed more than his share of the credit. With “Lego Batman,” Finger gets proper screen credit, and we even see some of his great side characters like Calendar Man. Congratulations, Mr. Finger.