For someone who did not play much with Legos growing up (I’m an Earthling, I swear) I am surprisingly fond of the Lego games. There’s not much Lego nostalgia in it for me; they’re just… cute. And satisfying; they somehow manage to scratch that “break all the things” itch without being particularly violent. Also, since most of the console games I enjoy tend to be primarily one-player affairs, I like that Lego, to me, is much better in co-op mode. And, of course, I enjoy the movies that are being parodied and the parodies themselves.
Thus, Lego Marvel Super Heroes is slightly different for me; the only Lego games I’ve played thus far have been direct parodies of something else (though I know a young Ninjago fan who tells me I’m missing out). I haven’t tried DC Heroes, because, well, I’ve never been big into DC Comics (I’m not even a big fan of Superman – I know, Lego and Superman?).
On the other hand, I’m fairly familiar with many of the Marvel properties, and before I sat down to try out the game I wondered: how well will all these properties mesh? I know the comics have crossovers from time to time, but in general the various properties have their own stories to tell, even if the universe in general is something of an “anything goes” sandbox. This Lego game would mostly be running with the aesthetics of the respective movie franchises of the last fifteen years; how will they mesh together?
I haven’t completed the game yet, and I wouldn’t want to spoil such a new release regardless, but so far, the answer is: surprisingly well.
I guess wasn’t thinking enough like a kid. A large part of the reason these stories work well together is the same reason why Aladdin can go visit Barbie in her Dream House with Princess Leia; everyone works together when they’re all the same size and plastic, despite the wildly different origins of the characters.
Here, we’re not really melding all these different worlds; we’re distilling them into their concepts and giving them all the same, new, Lego aesthetic. And yet, just like a kid and their imagination, your brain fills in everything it needs to. If you like the delivery of Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, it’s there. If you’ve always had a certain “Wolverine” voice in your head from the time you were eight and reading the comics, you can slip into that seamlessly. Spiderman doesn’t necessarily fit any one actor’s interpretation, in my opinion, but he’s still, without a doubt, Spiderman.
At the same time, if you did enjoy the films that the game draws heavily from, there are still those little nods and winks to enjoy. My personal favorite is the partnership between Iron Man and the Hulk; it was one of the most unexpectedly enjoyable aspects of the movie The Avengers, and the game gives fans more of what they want.
And, of course, the game itself is more of what Lego does best, tweaking storylines here and there so it’s not overly complicated, weaving all these storylines together in a way that feels like all these disparate franchises were meant to lock together like a Duplo provides a Lego base (I did have Duplo blocks, weirdly enough).
So here’s what I’ve gotten from the game so far: a desire to see more crossovers on the big screen. I totally want to see the X-Men joining forces with the Avengers, for instance. I want to see Charles Xavier’s intelligence meet up with Tony Stark’s. I’ve been literally cheering when some of my favorite characters appear in the video game; I want to do so in theaters as well.
Unfortunately, then we’d run into all those world-building and aesthetic issues that I wondered about previously. Not to mention the fact that the budget for all these high-caliber actors’ salaries would probably make most studios weep, and the fact that the actors themselves would probably never get as much screen time as they’d like.
On the other hand, at least in terms of ample screen time and plot arc, there’s always TV…