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Batman has had a notable presence in brickfilming since the release of official Batman LEGO sets starting in 2006, which also coincided with the rise of YouTube. Many people have been introduced to brickfilming via Batman brickfilms, in large part due to the Lego Batman parody series by Forrest "forrestfire101" Whaley, which is one of the longest-running and most widely popular series' in brickfilming.

History[]

2000s[]

Early years[]

Batman did not have a major presence in brickfilming in the pre-YouTube era. The lack of official Batman LEGO in these years would have made it less of an obvious idea and more of an involved undertaking to create Batman brickfilms. There were also no Batman films released theatrically from the late 90s to the mid-2000s, leading to less prevalent hype for the IP than the likes of Star Wars, The Matrix, and Spider-Man, which were all more popular in brickfilming in these years. The earliest known Batman brickfilm is The Batman trailer, by an unknown creator. This trailer was found among files previously downloaded from the internet by early brickfilm community member Tim "WhiteDragon" DeWitt, and the download was dated December 20, 2002.

BatmanRevengeFrame

A custom Batman suit in Batman: Revenge (2003) by Jonathan Markiewitz

In 2003, Jonathan Markiewitz created Batman: Revenge, which ran for over ten minutes and took inspiration from the Tim Burton Batman films, particularly in its cinematography. This film was first shared online in 2004, and it was featured by various fan film and Batman fan websites, as well as in print media such as Total Film Magazine and Fan Films Quarterly.[1] The film was first uploaded to YouTube in 2006 in a new 6-minute edit, but this upload was later removed.[2] In 2023, for the twentieth anniversary of the film, Jonathan Markiewitz uploaded remastered versions of the 12-minute edit and the 6-minute edit, which used various techniques to carefully reduce the heavy grain that had resulted from shooting the film with the LEGO Studios camera.

The 2004 official brickfilm Spider-Man: The Peril of Doc Ock by Spite Your Face Productions served as the inspiration for Batman: New Times released in early 2005, created by The Digital Animation & Visual Effects (DAVE) School graduating class of December 2004. This is a CG animation and features character models based on Minimates, in addition to LEGO brick-based scenery. Notably, this film includes original voice acting from Adam West and Mark Hamill, reprising their iconic roles as Batman and The Joker, respectively. It also features Courtney Thorne-Smith as Catwoman and Dick Van Dyke as Commissioner Gordon.[3]

Release of official Batman LEGO[]

Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy began to be released theatrically in 2005. Official Batman LEGO sets were first released from 2006 to 2008, the same years in which YouTube was experiencing exponential growth. Batman brickfilms began to be created more frequently, and, as with other IP-based brickfilms, were more popular with people who started on YouTube than with the pre-existing brickfilm community, and were often at a lower general standard of quality for a number of years. Batman brickfilms released in 2006 include:[4]

BatmanBD

A frame from Batman (2006) by Brandon Deepwell

Additionally, The LEGO Group released the CG brickfilm LEGO Batman: Bricks, Bats & Bad Guys to help promote the official Batman LEGO sets. This film was created by Treehouse Animation, and premiered on Cartoon Network on April 29, 2006.[6] It was also available to download from the LEGO website, in three different variations each demonstrating a different set in the second half.[7]

A greater number of Batman brickfilms were released in 2007,[8] some of which include:

Batman-TwoFace

A frame from Batman: Faces of Evil (2007) by Patrick Kelly

forrestfire101[]

Legobatmanspidermanteamup

A frame from Lego Batman - The Spider-Man Team-Up! (2007) by Forrest "forrestfire101" Whaley

On September 1, 2007, Forrest "forrestfire101" Whaley uploaded The Batman and Spider-Man Movie, also known as Lego Batman - The Spider-Man Team-Up!; the first installment in his Lego Batman parody series. He would upload five further installments in 2007, and many more in the following years. This series featured a distinct comedy style that leaned into the sense of it being made by a foul-mouthed kid essentially playing with LEGO. This style proved far more widely appealing on YouTube than the average brickfilm, and the LEGO Batman series became one of the most popular brickfilm series' ever, with multiple millions of views per installment, and with the style allowing for new installments to be made rapidly. This style was very approachable and easy for people to copy, and many subsequent Batman brickfilms were obvious clones of forrestfire's early style, featuring the same sort of humor, personalities of the characters, and rudimentary digital mouth animation, and often also prominently featuring the 2006 LEGO set 7783 The Batcave: The Penguin and Mr. Freeze's Invasion. Some examples of forrestfire-inspired Batman brickfilms include:

Further similar films continued to be made by various people in subsequent years.

Keshen8[]

Darkknighttrailer

A frame from The Dark Knight Trailer. IN LEGO!!! (2008) by Keshen8

One of the first brickfilms by Keshen8 to receive widespread attention was the trailer recreation brickfilm The Dark Knight Trailer. IN LEGO!!!, released in January 2008. Keshen would follow this with The Dark Knight Trailer 2. IN LEGO!!! (Trailer 3) in May. forrestfire101 would also release a Dark Knight trailer recreation in May 2008 (plus a scene remake in August). Keshen and Forrest would become longtime collaborators, with Keshen regularly providing voice acting for Forrest's LEGO Batman series in the roles of Alfred (starting from Lego Batman - The Villains in October 2008) and the Joker (starting from The Lego Batman & Spider-Man Movie in February 2009). In 2009, Keshen released the Batman parody brickfilms Butter Menthol Batman and Batman's Gay Roommate, and his films Meeting Of The Villains and Meeting Of The Heroes each featured multiple Batman characters. In 2010, he released Good Cop, Batman.

Other major Batman brickfilms from 2008[]

BatmanRebuilt

A frame from Batman Rebuilt (2008) by Caleb Christofer

Batman Rebuilt (2008) by Caleb Christofer featured more of a comic book and Batman film-inspired tone and visual style than other Batman brickfilms from 2008. This film was followed by the 12-minute sequel Batman Reassembled in 2011. Christofer has spoken in the comments section about having worked on a 90-minute Justice League vs Avengers series over many years, and still desiring to make a third and final Batman film, potentially titled Batman Reconstructed.

In September 2008, Dave Thomas released the 47-minute Batman Metamorphosis; the first feature length Batman brickfilm. This was the sequel to the 27-minute Batman Deception from July 2006.[9]

2010s[]

Early 2010s[]

The LEGO Batman, Spider-Man, & Superman Movie (2010) by forrestfire101 became one of the most viewed brickfilms on YouTube for a period of time in the first half of the 2010s.[10] It remains the most viewed installment in Forrest's Lego Batman series.

ALEGOBatmanFilm

The thumbnail of A LEGO BATMAN FILM (2010) by James Morr

A LEGO BATMAN FILM (2010) by longtime brickfilm community member James Morr was highly praised for its quality of fight scene animation,[11][12] which was within a film with a comedic tone. Morr also made the brief comedy brickfilms Batman Has Parent Issues (2009), Batman's New Ride (2011), and FATBATMAN (2012).

LEGOSuperHeroesChallenge

A promotional image for the 2011 LEGO Super Heroes Challenge

There were no official Batman LEGO sets released after 2008, until the theme was relaunched at the start of 2012 as a subtheme of the LEGO DC Universe Super Heroes theme. Batman LEGO sets have been in production ever since. In 2011, while the LEGO DC Universe Super Heroes theme was still upcoming, The LEGO Group launched the LEGO Super Heroes Challenge to help promote it. The goal of this contest was for entrants to create a scene featuring a DC Universe character, and it accepted not only brickfilm entries but also live-action videos, photographs of MOCs or scenarios, and drawings. The promotion for this contest included the commissioned brickfilm LEGO Batman Jumps Into Action (2011) by Garrett Barati. This contest ran for four months and announced a new lineup of winners monthly, resulting in 29 different entries placing, 19 of which were brickfilms. The grand prize winner was the Batman brickfilm It's Just My Imagination (2011) by Jordan, Matthew, and Dan Glasure. Other Batman brickfilms that placed in this contest were:

ItsJustMyImagination

A frame from It's Just My Imagination (2011), the grand prize winner in the LEGO Super Heroes Challenge

BlackFriday

A frame from Black Friday (2012) by Richard and Eve Colvin, the first place winner in the LEGO DC Super Heroes Video Contest on Tongal

In 2012, The LEGO Group would begin hosting contests and sourcing promotional videos on the platform Tongal. This has included the LEGO DC Super Heroes Video Contest in 2012 and LEGO DC Universe Super Heroes Video Project in 2013. Winning films in the LEGO DC Super Heroes Video Contest were included as extras on the DVD and Blu-ray of LEGO Batman: The Movie - DC Super Heroes Unite (2013),[13] which is a CG brickfilm made up of cutscenes from the 2012 video game LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, plus new footage. Batman brickfilms that have been awarded on Tongal include:

Paganomation created the brickfilm LEGO DC Universe Super Heroes - Batman for LEGO.com in late 2012.

TheDarkKnightRisesTrailer3INLEGO

A frame from The Dark Knight Rises Trailer 3: IN LEGO (2012) by Nicolas "ParanickFilmz" Parada, "jedimastersoda", and "Adviceversas"

The release of the Christopher Nolan Batman film The Dark Knight Rises (2012) would lead to trailer recreation, scene recreation, and parody brickfilms including:

Mid 2010s[]

LEGOJusticeLeague

A frame from Lego Justice League (2013), animated by Forrest Whaley and Sean Willets

Throughout the 2010s, the production values of forrestfire101's brickfilms would increase, and new releases in the Lego Batman series would become less frequent. Forrest would begin a real-life collaboration with fellow brickfilmer Sean Willets, who would contribute animation to many of Forrest's brickfilms starting from The Lego Batman & Santa Team-Up! (2012). In 2013, Forrest and Sean would release Lego Justice League and Santa Clause Joins the Lego Justice League. Sean Willets animated the 2014 release Lego Arkham Asylum Showdown, also known as Lego Batman - Arkham Fan Film.[14] In 2014, Willets also animated Batman and Friends: The Clock Tower Caper for Sean Warton.

The 2013 announcement of the DCEU film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) led to parody brickfilms such as Lego Batman's Reaction to Ben Affleck's Casting (2013) by Forrest Whaley, Lego Batman vs Lego Superman (2013) by Keshen8, and Batman vs Superman (2014) plus its sequel Batman vs Superman 2: Dawn of Just Desserts (2015) by Tommy Williamson and James Morr.

LegoBatmanLameVillains

The thumbnail of Lego Batman- Lame Villains (2017) by "AubreyStudios82"

The mid-2010s saw the rise of a new generation of superhero brickfilmers who often made Batman and Justice League brickfilms, with people such as Jeremy "Joebor1777" Borchers, Sam "JustDKFilms" Lee, Austin "thebrickranger" Williams, Akash "AkashLegoProductions" Jones, Alex "Loneclone" Buysse, and "FlapJack Films". "AubreyStudios82" became popular for his Lego Batman parody series (2013 - 2017) which was inspired by forrestfire's. In 2016, AubreyStudios82 released the 50-minute film Lego Justice League vs The Avengers, which was co-written with Loneclone.

From the mid-2010s, there was also a rise in brickfilm adaptations of existing Batman stories, such as:

LBM-BrickFilm Contest

The banner image of the LEGO Batman Movie Brick Films Rebrick contest

Batman was a major side character in the Warner Bros. and LEGO animated film The LEGO Movie (2014). This was followed by a spin-off film, The LEGO Batman Movie, in 2017. To tie in with The LEGO Batman Movie, LEGO hosted the Rebrick contest LEGO Batman Movie Brick Films, starting in 2016. This was a contest for brickfilms between 15 and 30 seconds in length featuring Batman defeating a villain. It received around 600 entries, and the grand prize winners had their brickfilms included on the LEGO Batman Movie DVD and Blu-ray. The three grand prize winners and three runner-up prize winners were:

In 2014, Brotherhood Workshop animated How The Lego Movie Should Have Ended for the large YouTube channel How It Should Have Ended, which starred Batman. Later that year, he animated the LEGO Movie parody brickfilm Lego Batman Is Jelly for HISHE. In 2017, Beaton Films animated How The LEGO Batman Movie Should Have Ended for How It Should Have Ended. The 2017 Target and LEGO Batman Movie promotional video Build Your Batitude was a stop-motion brickfilm animated by Stoopid Buddy Studios, on which Forrest Whaley worked as an animator.

Late 2010s[]

Batman characters frequently featured in YouTube Kids brickfilms, such as those by "FK Films", "Danny's Brickfilms", and "If You Build It". The most viewed brickfilm on YouTube is LEGO Batman Shark Attack (2017) by "Stop Motion King", with over 400 million views. This is a shot-for-shot remake of Lego Shark Attack (2017) by FK Films, with LEGO Batman Movie minifigures in place of the generic minifigures.

Jack "Linkinpop13" Kearns had been releasing Batman brickfilms since 2011. In 2016, he released the 33-minute film Lego Batman - Under the Red Hood. In 2018, he released the first episode in his Justice League series, which became known for being made at a large scale, and features installments of 15 to 25 minutes each.

CrocThumbnail

The thumbnail of The Case of the Killer Croc (2018) by "BrickTavernFilms"

In 2015, "BrickTavernFilms" began releasing a Lego Batman series that was reminiscent of forrestfire's. Their 2016 film LEGO BATMAN: Black Mask demonstrated rising ambition in their series. In 2018, they released their most major installment, Batman: The Case of the Killer Croc, which was 22 minutes long and demonstrated more influence from Batman: The Animated Series[15] and more comic book style. Subsequently, they were working on Batman: Poison Ivy for a number of years, eventually releasing it in 2024.

LegoBatmanRisesThumbnail

The thumbnail of Lego Batman Rises (2019) by Forrest Whaley

After 2013, forrestfire101 did not release any films in his Lego Batman series until Lego Batman Retires in January 2017. This was the first part in a four-film arc, and all four were compiled into the 16-minute release Lego Batman Rises in 2019. These films demonstrated a further rise in the technical qualities of the series, and also featured animation, VFX, or set design work from Mason Howerton, Sean Willets, Zach Macias, Brian Heins, Christopher Gearhart, Alex Pearson, Keshen8, and Alyssa Whaley.

2020s[]

In 2020, Adam "Ant Bandit" Nies produced LEGO Batman: Escape from Arkham for LEGO and DC/Warner Brothers. This film also featured VFX by Galen Johnson, Kevin Ulrich, and Christopher Gearhart. In 2021, Nies produced LEGO Batman Holiday Short 2021 for DC and Walmart.

BatmanIdentityCrisisThumbnail

The thumbnail of Batman: Identity Crisis (2022) by Nathaniel Henley

The 2020s have seen a number of lengthy Batman brickfilms released. In December 2020, Logan "GrassoGuy" Grasso released the 64-minute film LEGO Batman: Knightfall. In September 2022, Nathaniel Henley released the 33-minute Batman: Identity Crisis, which was in the making for two years. This film won Best Picture in the 2022 Brickfilmer Choice Awards. Henley followed this with the 8-minute Batman: Face-Off in 2023. In December 2022, "Aurélien Films" released the 4-hour LEGO Justice League Redemption, which is the second-longest known brickfilm. In December 2023, Parker E. Ryan released the 78-minute Batman: Apotheosis, which won Best Picture in the 2023 Brickfilmer Choice Awards.

References[]

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