If you’ve seen The LEGO Batman Movie, you know that it’s a film packed to the brim with all sorts of references to Batman lore and beyond. Of course, like any Easter Eggs, some are easier to spot than others. While there are dozens of Easter Eggs in the film, we’re not going to bother listing them all off because odds are you noticed quite a few of them. However, there are quite a few nods and callbacks that rate pretty high on the obscurity scale, so we’ve decided to list 25 of the best ones that you may or may not have caught during your first viewing. Enjoy!
25. “The House That Batman Built”
The LEGO Batman Movie‘s delightful opening credits sequence is anchored by Will Arnett’s Batman offering commentary on every single studio logo that comes up on screen. When the DC Comics logo comes up, Batman refers to it as “The House that Batman Built,” which is a pretty accurate commentary on Batman’s importance to the brand’s success over the years (the company name literally comes from Detective Comics, which introduced the world to the Dark Knight). However, the phrase also recalls an obscure issue of Detective Comics from 1967 called “The House The Joker Built,” which details Joker’s jealousy of Batman’s merchandise sales.
Yeah, the 60s were weird.
24. “MacGuffin Airline”
Similarly to The Dark Knight Rises, LEGO Batman opens with a plane hijacking, only this time it’s the Joker performing the heist rather than Tom Hardy’s Bane (although he’s still present in the film, in a sense). What you may not have noticed is that the plane is being chartered by “MacGuffin Airlines,” a reference to Alfred Hitchcock’s famous term for a meaningless plot driver. As we soon find out, this is precisely what the plane sequence is, but at least this particular MacGuffin features a whole bunch of unsafe explosives and two best friends!
23. Joker’s Schemes Are Awfully Familiar …
During the Joker’s attempted hijacking of the MacGuffin plane, the pilot is humorously non-plussed by the whole situation. After all, Batman will show up to stop the Joker as he always does. During their exchange, the pilot brings up a couple of the Joker’s past failed schemes, which are actually the villain’s plots from two of his previous live-action film appearances:
Pilot: Batman will stop you. He always stops you. Joker: No, he doesn’t. Pilot: What about that time with the two boats? Joker: This is better than the two boats… Trust me, Batman will never see this coming. Pilot: Like the time with the parade and the Prince music?
The two boats is a reference to the Joker’s rigging of two boats full of hostages in The Dark Knight (2008), while the parade and Prince music is an obvious reference to the famous Joker sequence set to Prince’s “Trust” from Tim Burton’s Batman (1989).
22. Batman’s ‘Let’s Get Nuts!” Playlist
When Batman finally shows up to foil the Joker’s plans at the beginning of the movie, he prepares to beat up the many villains in attendance by setting it all to music. Specifically, he starts playing his “Let’s Get Nuts Mix,” a clever homage to Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne and his famous “You wanna get nuts?!” line from Batman ’89. See for yourself:
21. Suicide Squad Shade
The LEGO Batman Movie makes several references to two of the DC Extended Universe’s most recent entries, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (more on that one later) and Suicide Squad. While all the winks and nods are done in good fun, it’s not hard to read them as throwing shade at those two poorly-received films. The first Suicide Squad callback comes during the Joker’s attempt to destroy Gotham City with a mega-bomb. We see Killer Croc swim under the city to arm the bomb, hilariously saying “Hooray I did something!” as he does so, referencing that character’s only noteworthy action in David Ayer’s film.
The second noteworthy nod to Suicide Squad comes much later in the movie when Joker and the Phantom Zone villains descend on Gotham. Barbara Gordon suggests that it would take a team of villains to take them down, and Batman responds by dismissing the whole idea as stupid. If only someone had told Amanda Waller that …
20. Red Hood
The Red Hood only has a brief appearance in The LEGO Batman Movie, but boy do they ever make it count. The Red Hood is a Batman villain with quite a storied history and that history is referenced just in the character’s costuming alone. LEGO Red Hood can be seen wearing both the domed red helmet of the Joker’s version and Jason Todd’s mast underneath. How he sees anything is anyone’s guess, but this is still a clever nod to an important figure in Batman’s history that is so subtle, most viewers probably never even noticed it.
19. Batman’s License Plates
It’s hardly surprising that LEGO Batman would stick vanity plates on his vehicles and while we’d love to see what all of them are, only a few are explicitly shown in the movie. The first one is on Batman’s Speed Wagon (itself a possible nod to the band REO Speed Wagon) and reads BT1TUDE because, of course, while the second one appears on Bruce Wayne’s car and reads “Wayne Car.” While this plate rather humorously references Batman’s clear disdain (or at least ambivalence) toward his alter-ego, it can also be read as the English slur “w*nker,” which is just delightful.
18. Batman Visits Orphans = The Dark Knight Rises
Batman’s visit to the Gotham City orphanage is the movie’s way of introducing us to Michael Cera’s Dick Grayson/Robin, who worships the Dark Knight as any orphan probably would (although more so than most, as we’ll see later on in the movie). What you may not have noticed is that this is pretty much identical to John Robin Blake’s (Joseph Gordon Levitt) character arc in The Dark Knight Rises, as Blake is inspired to fight crime as a police officer after Bruce Wayne visits his orphanage during his formative years.
Of course, Batman’s influence on Robin and the rest of the orphans doesn’t really register as he showboats around and showers them with merch, with one of the T-shirts reading “Batman Begins … Brushing His Teeth.” Hey, at least he’s teaching the disenfranchised children of Gotham the importance of good hygiene!
17. Batman’s Suits
It’s hard to miss the many costumes on display in the Batcave, but the sheer volume of outfits is pretty staggering. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of every item shown, some of the more recognizable ones include the New 52 Batsuit, ones from Batman Beyond and Gotham By Gaslight, the Knightmare suit seen in Batman’s weird dream sequence from Batman v Superman, as well as a caveman version of the Batsuit.
There are also some much more obscure references to pop culture that go way beyond the Batman franchise, such as the Bat Pack sparkly suit, a nod to the Rat Pack, as well as a suit that’s called Eggs, The Winged Avenger. This is actually the title of an episode of the 1960s British Spy series The Avengers, starring Diana Rigg and the late Patrick Macnee.
16. “You Complete Me”
This one’s probably not all that obscure, but it’s such a perfect Easter Egg that it needs to be pointed out. In an early sequence, we see that Batman spends his off time preparing lobster thermidor in the microwave and watching romantic-comedies alone in his private home theater. One of his favorites is Jerry Maguire and we see him watching the now-iconic “you complete me” scene, which was of course borrowed and twisted by Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. The best part is that this all comes right after Batman upsets the Joker by denying that they have a special connection (as Batman notes, he doesn’t ‘ship) and the significance of this is completely lost on Batman as he laughs derisively at the scene.
Oh and we also learn that Batman loves to watch Marley & Me and Serendipity. Hey, at least he has good taste in rom-coms!
15. Batcave Museum
After Batman foils the Joker’s initial plans, he confiscates the villains mega-bomb and puts it in his Bat-Museum to join his massive collection of doomsday devices and other memorabilia from his adventures over the years. While his collection is dominated by other bombs of various shapes and sizes, we also see a few other familiar items from his collection seen in various comics over the years, such as a giant coin and the iconic T-Rex.
During Barbara Gordon’s announcement as the new police commissioner at her father’s retirement party, we see that her qualifications include having graduated from Harvard for Police and cleaning up Bludhaven, a reference that was likely not lost on avid comic fans. Bludhaven is of course a neighboring city of Gotham and also happens to be home of Nightwing. However, the city also holds significance for Barbara, as she at one point sets up her own Batcave there.
At various points in the movie, we briefly see Commissioner Gordon’s partner O’Hara fighting crime. Although she’s been gender-swapped, her character is a clever reference to the character of the same name from the comics and Batman ’66. In that version, Chief O’Hara is male and played by Stafford Repp.
12. All The Batmobiles
During the scene where young master Dick first discovers the Batcave, Batman’s many vehicles are shown off on various platforms. Some of these vehicles are actually the various Batmobiles from the movies, with the 1989 version, Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever car, and the Tumbler from Batman Begins all present and accounted for.
The Batsub is also there as well and come to think of it, that’s one Bat vehicle that’s do for a comeback!
11. Happy Birthday Justice League
In case you didn’t know, 2017 marks the 57th anniversary of the Justice League of America, having made their first appearance in The Brave And The Bold #28 back in 1960. This explains why there’s a banner in the background of the JLA’s Fortress of Solitude party that reads ‘The 57th Anniversary of the JLA.”
Another fun Easter Egg comes just prior to this scene when Batman rings the doorbell for the Fortress of Solitude, only to be greeted with John Williams’ famous Superman theme music.
10. Robin = Carrie Kelley
Alright, so this one isn’t exactly hard to spot, but it’s worth pointing out anyway. Although the version of Robin we get in The LEGO Batman Movie is Dick Grayson, his character design is clearly modeled after Carrie Kelley’s look from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, with the read hair and green-lensed glasses being pretty obvious indicators.
9. Gleaming The Cube
No Easter Egg is too obscure for The LEGO Batman Movie it would seem, as there’s even nods to 80s movies you’ve probably never seen. During the scene where Robin skateboards through the Fortress of Solitude’s security system, the phrase “gleaming the cube” comes up, a reference to the 1989 skateboarding movie of the same name starring Christian Slater. In case you were wondering the phrase means to test one’s limits, which Robin certainly does as he so competently follows Batman’s expert directions.
8. Director Cameo(s)
LEGO Batman Movie director Chris McKay actually makes a couple of cameos in the film, with the most prominent being the voice of the MacGuffin Airlines pilot from the beginning. He also performs Batman’s crazy laugh. Apparently, his laugh was supposed to be a placeholder for Will Arnett’s, which hadn’t been recorded yet, but they ended up keeping McKay’s version.
Additionally, McKay also gave a cameo to his friend David Burrows (who worked as an editor on the film), playing Anchorman Phil.
7. Pulp Fiction Reference
During the aforementioned scene where Barbara Gordon suggests that they should assemble a team of villains to take on the Joker, Voldemort, and the rest of the Phantom Zone baddies, Batman brings up Fox Force Five, which is a direct reference to the team of killer ladies in Mia Wallace’s pilot from Quentin Tarantino’s film Pulp Fiction.
While we don’t see Dick Grayson actually assume the mantle of Nightwing in the movie, the vigilante’s presence is nonetheless felt in the film … though not in the way you might expect. After Batman travels to the Phantom Zone, Robin takes a “Nightwing” costume from the Batcave to try and “do what Batman would do.” The only problem is that the outfit he picks up looks nothing like the one Nightwing wears. This is because Dick Grayson isn’t technically the first Nightwing. Believe it or not, Superman was the first, with the hero using the codename and a similar-looking suit in the 60s.
Comics are weird.
At one point in the movie, Robin mentions that he’s a master of gymkata, a fighting style that combines gymnasics and martial arts. It turns out that this is a fighting style stolen from the 1985 film of the same name, which stars former Olympian Kurt Thomas. In a hilarious and completely intentional twist, Thomas’ character wears the same red jumper and blue pants combo that Dick Grayson wears in the film (and in the 1960s TV show of course).
4. Joker Tattoos
The Joker’s character design adheres pretty closely to the classic purple suit and hairstyle popularized by Batman: The Animated Series, but later in the movie, we see that inspiration was also drawn from the most recent incarnation of the character. At one point, the Joker goes short-sleeved and we see that his forearms are covered in tattoos, a nod to Jared Leto’s tatted-up version of the character from Suicide Squad.
At least they resisted the urge to stamp “Damaged” across his forehead.
3. Batman v Superman
While Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gets lumped in with the rest of the live-action Batflicks during the scene where Alfred references all of Batman’s “phases” over the years (we briefly see a shot of Batman and Superman facing off on a rooftop), it also gets a nod during the scene where the Joker claims to be Batman’s greatest nemesis. However, according to Batman, Superman is his greatest foe, to which the Joker replies that it’s impossible for superheroes to fight. If only that were true …
2. Gotham Landmarks
Given that the entire film is set predominately in Gotham City, it makes sense that there would be various references to city landmarks. A few of the famous buildings we see include the Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge, Shreck’s Department Store from Batman Returns (no Christopher Walken cameo unfortunatley), and even a LexCorps building.
1. Batman Beyond Nods
In addition to Terry McGinis’ suit turning up in Batman’s closet, there are a couple other references made to Batman Beyond. The villain Blight, who happens to be McGinnis’ arch-nemesis, is present as one of the Joker’s Rogues, while the whole plot of Barbara Gordon becoming Commissioner originated in that animated series.